Teleworking, also known as e-commuting, e-work, or telecommuting refers to a work arrangement that allows employees to perform their daily work responsibilities at an approved alternative worksite, eliminating the need to commute to a central work location.
In today's society and the advancements in technology, telework programs can be an important tool for recruiting and retaining talent, increasing productivity, and saving on overhead expenses. The best telework arrangements are based on formalized programs. Developing a proper structure with guidelines, rules, and regulations ensures your program meets the needs and expectations of your business.
Keys to a Successful Program
- Determine which positions can successfully telework. Not all positions are candidates for teleworking. What roles and responsibilities does the position have? Can their duties realistically be performed outside the office?
- Identify your technology requirements. What are your companies connectivity requirements? How will management, co-workers, and clients access the employee? How will the employee be connected to the office and important files? Are there any security issues to consider?
- Develop a workplan and reporting process. It is important to identify and clearly define expectations while teleworking and a process to evaluate performance. What projects will be completed? How can we monitor activities?
- Create a schedule. Evaluate the responsibilities of the position to determine when it is most convenient or appropriate for the employee to be physically out of the office. Consistency can be key. Identifying the day(s) and hours that the employee is out will help everyone manage.
- Be flexible. This applies to both the employer and employee. Employees need to understand they may need to change or all together eliminate a telework day based on the needs of the business. Employers should look at alternative ways to hold meetings or connect with the employee on telework days.
- Establish ground rules. Experts agree that telework should not be used to substitute for any type of dependent care. Discuss your dependent care plans in advance to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Alternative work schedules
Alternative work schedules (AWS) is a term used to describe work schedules that are generally fixed in nature but outside the standard or typical work shifts and/or days. Both compressed work schedules and flexible work schedules fall within this category.
- Compressed Work Schedules - Are fixed work schedules where employees work more hours than typical but work fewer days per week in a given pay period. Example: 4 to 10 hour days a week.
- Flexible Work Schedules - Are fixed work schedules that allow employees the flexibility on arriving and leaving work outside the businesses' core hours. Example: 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. shift.
A successful AWS program not only considers the benefits to the employee but ensures the needs of the business can be met. As with teleworking, experts recommend identifying the goals and objectives of your program to help you establish guidelines and expectations.
Questions about starting a telework or AWS program at your worksite? Email a PARTnership Representative to receive information on case studies, best practices, and general guidance.