This is the first of out Top Ten Tips for managing home workers. We will be covering one per week for the next 10 weeks.

When you are working together with your employees it’s easy to watch what they are doing to check they are working. Now you can’t see them, you have to trust that they are getting on with the job. This means measuring results instead of monitoring their efforts and counting the hours they put in.

Suddenly you are asking yourself “How do I know they are working?”. Maybe they are just sitting watching TV all day! The answer has to be based on output. It’s even more important than usual that people are clear what is wanted. Agree with them the way you will both know that the work has been done. Set deadlines for tasks and then check they have been done by looking for the results.

Managing by output means you do not have to monitor exactly when people are working. Look at the detailed tasks and you will find many that can be done at any time. You don’t need to insist that people are ‘at work’ at specific times unless it’s really necessary to get the job done. Let people choose when they work. This is particularly important right now for people who are fitting their work around other home pressures such a child care.

In these difficult times you still need to get the job done and you have to drop some conventional views of management to adapt. It’s time to trust people and be prepared to let go of some control. This may seem like a risk, but the risk of trying to micro-manage someone at a distance is greater.