Six Tips on Introducing a Telework Program
Important tips to ensure your telecommuting program is a success.
When I tweeted my post about how some federal agencies are introducing a shared workspace environment, a move some hope will appeal to employees also interested in telework, I got a comment from @twailgum. Mentioning a statistic from the post about the 23 percent of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission employees who are eligible to telework but take a pass, he simply said: "Wow."
As a longtime teleworker, I had experienced a similar reaction. Why would anyone eligible to telework not want to do so? And yet, not everyone does. And those who do, don't always like it.
According to a GovernmentExecutive.com article, several years' worth of Federal Employee Viewpoint Surveys reveal a pretty dismal employee satisfaction rate of about 37 percent for telework arrangements at their agencies. I suspect this is because agencies haven't devoted the necessary effort to helping employees transition to work-at-home environments, a situation the article hopes may change under the provisions of the Telework Enhancement Act.
The article also mentions the possible negative impact of telework programs on employees whose work makes it difficult or impossible for them to telework. It encourages teleworkers to discuss their schedules with their coworkers and ensure they remain flexible enough to meet the needs of those in the office. That echoes the advice from a human resources professional I included in my post about a study that found a lack of camaraderie was a problem not just for teleworkers but also for their office-bound colleagues. She also suggested requiring teleworkers to come to the office at least some of the time and giving office-based workers more job autonomy.
Occasional trips to the office are a good idea for many reasons, several of which I mention in a post on how to introduce a telework program. I also like the tips gleaned from telework case studies from several federal agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Most of these tips apply best to workers with jobs like mine that involve clear tasks, individual effort and easily measurable output. While team projects are more difficult to handle remotely, it can be done and IT Business Edge contributor Rob Enderle offered some good advice for doing so in his post on what he called the live-anywhere option. A oneforty post offers additional tips and suggestions for technical tools that can help remote teams get their work done.