How to Identify Employees Who Will Work Best From Home

Denise LeaserBlog, Career Fit Assessments, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Hiring, Remote Work, Work From HomeLeave a Comment


Working from home is becoming more and more common, but it hasn’t quite expanded to the point where most employees can just decide they’re going to do their job on a remote basis whenever they want. Employers are still making the call. And it’s not necessarily an easy one. How do you know if a given employee is ready to work remotely, or if they’ll be capable of maintaining their level of productivity?

There are some indicating factors that will tell you if an employee is a good fit to work from home. Their ability to hold themselves to task and get work delivered on time. How well they use their work hours without supervision. As you consider which employees might fare well in a remote environment, I have some qualities I’ve found in excellent remote employees that it would benefit you to look for.

The attributes of good remote employees

Self-motivation—There are a lot of distractions that present themselves in a home environment. Theoretically, employees could be doing anything while they claim to be working. When hiring for a remote position or considering an employee for work-from-home privileges, think about whether they’re honest, reliable, a self-starter, and capable of good time management.

Accountability—Employees who agree to work from home take on a lot of extra responsibility. As a trade-off to your supervision, they have to be accountable to get work done on time of their own accord; you can only hold somebody to task over Zoom and Skype but so much. The ideal remote employee won’t need reminders or constant emails asking them where they are on a project.

Resilience—Working remotely can come with a whole host of potential problems that don’t occur in the office, like technology failures or the kids bursting in while you’re on a Zoom call. You’ll want to look for an employee who will look for quick solutions and has the resilience to keep working, even when a unique challenge is dropped in their lap.

What makes a home setting better for some candidates?

A lot of employers think that giving their workers the option of working remotely will cause their productivity to flatline as the employee gets distracted by television or, perhaps, takes advantage of the privilege. These employers are underselling their employees.

People are much more dedicated and productive than employers gave them credit for. The majority of employees want to excel at their job—they just need the right environment to do so. Here are just a few examples of why remote workers tend to be more productive:

  1. Employees have the ability to better manage their time, so they don’t burn out. Working from home gives employees the freedom to take care of family matters and potentially work hours that are more convenient for them.
  2. Watercooler culture causes distractions that employees don’t experience at home. Ever notice how much chit-chat goes on around the office? Naturally, this decreases when employees aren’t around their coworkers all day, talking about football or the hottest new TV show.
  3. Commute time is now being used more productively. A lot of remote employees will take the time they used to spend commuting to log on early. They’re actually working slightly more than they used to, they just don’t feel so burdened.

What if an employee doesn’t want to work remotely?

What if you have an employee who doesn’t excel at working remotely? Sure, studies have shown that working from home generally improves employee performance and satisfaction, but obviously, not all data applies to all employees. So, say you have an employee who needs the structure of the office. How do you handle it?

Not being able to be as productive while working remotely isn’t a drawback to an employee. People’s work styles flourish in different environments. If possible, allow the employee to work in the office if they want to. Most companies have shifted to work from home on an elective or privileged basis—it’s rare that any business is going 100% remote just yet. If you are one of these rare companies, touch base with the employees of concern and see what you can do to help keep them productive.

The benefits of working from home are not all or nothing. You’ll still increase productivity from the employees who do opt to work remotely and your rate of turnover will decrease. This is not a zero-sum game—make working from home a part of your company culture however it works best for you and your team.

If you plan to start hiring with remote candidates in mind, a good idea is to include an aptitude assessment in the pre-hire process, to determine which candidates can truly handle the responsibility. A career fit assessment from MyInnerGenius can put all your hiring worries to bed. Our assessments yield proven positive results (just ask IBM and Starbucks). Ready to try one—for free? For more info on our career fitness assessments and to enjoy a free demo, visit us at

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