Telework is an off-site work arrangement business strategy that permits employees to work away from the office for part or all of the work week. Companies that implement effective telework strategies report an increase in their competitive edge, efficiency and performance.
Telework can be an effective strategy to reduce costs associated with real estate, employee retention and overall improve employee productivity and morale.
Does telework affect employee productivity?
Most companies report an increase in performance through the initiation of telework from 20% to 25%. Best Buy has quantified an increase in employee productivity at 35%.
Before implementing telework, it is important for an employer to clearly determine the methods by which it will measure performance. The most common characteristics associated with productivity, whether an employee teleworks or not, include:
1) work quality; 2) customer satisfaction; 3) meeting deadlines; and, very often, 4) work quantity.
Telework will often bring attention to inefficiencies in systems or processes. You will want to consider the following when evaluating telecommuting:
- Communications. What types of co-worker, supervisor and team communications, both written and verbal, are needed to maximize performance results? What types of face-to-face meetings are needed?
- Document Security. What documents can the teleworker take out of the office? How will legal/confidentiality guidelines or company policies affect or impede data sharing, document transfer or telecommunications when the teleworkr is off-site?
- Database. Will current database requirements (availability, speed, accuracy) need to change to support teleworkers?
- Equipment/Technology. What types of technology are absolutely essential? What types are secondary? What are the financial limits on purchase or leasing of needed technology?
- Teleworker Work Schedule and Attendance. How will the teleworker's flexible work hours affect results? What types of back-up or emergency support is expected from teleworker?
All of the factors listed above are crucial to the performance of an employee, and each must be addressed before an employee begins to telework, especially if the employee is out of the office much of the time. If there is a deficiency in the role these factors play in the office, it will be magnified when employees work remotely.
Commuter Services is able to offer companies many resources including business case studies, sample telework policies, implementation guidance and manager and teleworker training.
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