Many of us in the DC metro area experience the stress of dealing with the daily traffic congestion and long commutes in order to get to work on time, and I don’t even need to describe what happens during a snowfall. Due to these stresses we face as well as the increasing number of millennials in the workforce, many employers are looking more seriously at telework options. This is an area gaining in popularity for various businesses and industries, and its usage is expected to grow. With the new technologies available to us, working from home is becoming a more viable alternative without the risk of employees losing touch with their employer and customers. Some employers do not realize there are also cost effective reasons for initiating a telework program. Listed below are four cost effective reasons for considering a telework program in your organization.
4 Cost-Effective Reasons to Implement Telework
- Increased retention of valued employees. One advantage that organizations are seeing is a decrease in turnover of their highly skilled and valued employees. By providing this flexibility, companies are spending less on recruitment, which is becoming so costly due to the difficulty in finding the highly skilled workers.
- Less use of personal leave. While telework should not be used as a replacement for dependent care, telework is a tool that allows workers to minimize their use of “personal days” in instances where they have to stay home and care for a sick child, or wait for the maintenance guy, etc.
- Increased employee productivity. Studies suggest that employees are often much more productive at home, where interruptions and drop-in meetings are not a constant distraction. Instead, the teleworker can focus more on the actual tasks. Productivity is naturally related to the employee’s ability to be self-disciplined
- Cost savings. Organizations can often gain significant savings in facility costs like office space and parking space requirements when employees telework.
Key Elements in Creating a Successful Telework Program
I recently had a client who implemented a 6-month pilot telework program for managers to determine if it would be effective at their organization. After 6 months, they implemented another 6-month pilot program across the entire organization and are finding it is very successful. Here are the top four steps that I would suggest you take in creating a successful telework program for your business:
- Confirm whether such a program will actually benefit the company. This can be done by having an outside assessment of your current positions to determine which positions can actually work outside of the office. Some positions require an extensive on-site presence. You are urged to consider telework proposals on a position-by-position basis.
- Assess your technology. Information technology personnel should assess the right technology needed to implement such a program to ensure its success.
- Consider the impact on departments and morale. You should consider the impact of teleworking on other departments in terms of efficiency of operations and overall morale.
- Institute guidelines and policies. Guidelines and policies must be developed to include the following:
- Reporting guidelines;
- Delivery schedules for completing and submitting deliverables;
- Hours the employee must guarantee availability;
- Employee performance evaluation criteria;
- Contract for days/hours teleworking;
- Schedule for regular check-ins;
- Develop process for monitoring program;
- Set up a criteria for allowing employees to telework; and
- Ensure a home environment will enable the employee to maintain or exceed productivity as if they were working on-site.
Remember, once you implement your telework program, consistency is the key to a successful plan. By having a third-party evaluate each job to determine if it is feasible for that position to telework, you are taking out any question of favoritism or discriminatory issues.