Seeing Work Done


In an article in Inc Magazine, Jason Fried (co-founder of 37 Signals), talks about working with a remote team. He describes mostly the upsides, but there was one part which particularly caught my eye. He says he's often asked 'how do you know work is getting done if you can't see people doing it?' His response is: 'Observing work take place is not the same as seeing work get done'.

I noticed it because we're often asked a similar question about feedback. Where employees are remote, people ask, how do I give feedback? A simple answer is: you can still see their work. You know what they're supposed to be doing and to what standard and it's easy to give feedback on that.

There's a multitude of other things you can give feedback on, even if you're not in the same office. Take phone calls. Are they on time to conference calls? Are they prepared? Do they contribute to the discussion? Do they support others? Do they sound like they're listening? Are they available when you call outside of scheduled calls? What's their voicemail like? Do they return your calls? Do they return other people's calls? How do they sound on phone calls? One subject, ten reasons to give feedback.

I'm probably just restating

I'm probably just restating the point but its almost "easier" when its remote because you have no choice to but to rely more on verifiable output vs. face time.

 Wasn't it somewhere else

 Wasn't it somewhere else on the forum though, that Mark warned, like it or lump it, that managers care more about bodily presence. You can output all the good work you like, but if you're not physically present, he's more likely to overlook you when it comes to promotions and just positively mentioning you to other people?