Work anytime, anywhere. That’s the promise technology has brought to workers who want to trade in office cubicles for home offices.
But how do you ensure that employees receive valuable office time with coworkers when everyone telecommutes on different days? That’s the question management sciences professor Ada Barlatt is attempting to answer.
Barlatt, who has a background in manufacturing scheduling, is developing mathematical models to create schedules aimed at keeping workers and managers content. Managers want to feel that their workers are getting enough face time in the office to be productive while employees want to feel they have the flexibility and control over when and where they work. Once the model is up and running, Barlatt plans to share it with select employers and log the results.
“Many people are happier when they get to pick how and when they work,” she says. “What has surprised me most is that no one has looked at this problem in this way before.”