We agree that the best commute is no commute, even if it's not every day. We want to help you make the case for creating a telework policy in your workplace.
Employees can telework part time, full time, just occasionally or only during emergency conditions. Whether you’re an employer considering a telework option or an employee hoping to have the option, we’ve got resources to get you started.
What is telework?
Telework is a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform work, during any part of regular, paid hours, at an approved alternative worksite (e.g., home, telework center). It is an important tool for achieving a resilient and results-oriented workforce. At its core, telework is people doing their work at locations different from where they would normally be doing it. (Source)
Alternative Work Schedules
Alternative work schedules (also known as variable work hours) include flextime or compressed work weeks. Flextime is when employees work specified hours each week, but are given flexibility on when they arrive to work, take lunch and leave work. Compressed work weeks are when employees work more hours than typical but work fewer days per week or pay period.
By driving during off-peak times, you can avoid sitting in traffic, and emitting vehicle pollution from idling and get to work a whole lot faster. Some example schedules include:
- Work 40 hours over four days instead of the usual five, or work 80 hours in two weeks but only work nine out of 10 days.
- Set a new schedule to avoid the 7-9 morning rush and the 5-7 evening rush. Maybe try a 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. schedule a couple days a week.
Is telework right for me?
Teleworking might be a great fit if you have the right type of work-style and work in the right type of position. To see if you are a good candidate for teleworking, start by evaluating yourself and your current job description to see if your personality and position are a good match for teleworking.
Employees that are most successful in telework programs are usually:
- Social: Employees that tend to talk with co-workers in the office can get more work done when in a less distracting, uninterrupted environment.
- Well trained: Employees need to be confident in the ability to complete assigned duties and projects.
- Work independently: Employees that manage their time and work plan well in an office setting can usually do the same in a home or remote office.
When evaluating your work style, consider the characteristics of positions that do well teleworking. and again, be honest about your own strengths.
These positions typically:
- Require little face-to-face interaction and spur-of-the-moment decisions with co-worker or supervisor input.
- Can access needed information with technology (shared electronic files, phone, fax) and do not need extended access to hard copies of documents.
- Do not require daily use of office supplies and equipment.
- Have measurable work products.
Want some reassurance about telework's suitability for your situation? Click here to use the Telework Eligibility Gizmo.
I know it will work. Help me make the case to my employer.
Offering a telework option can help your employer by attracting top talent, saving money, improving productivity, and more, but remember-- if your company doesn't already offer this benefit, it means creating more work for your supervisor as they develop the policy. Treat your plan as you would any other business proposal and make sure you've done your homework.
When drafting your plan, keep these things in mind: (Source)
- A schedule: Determine which day/s of the week you would like to telework. Take a few weeks to track your appointments out of the office, days you tend to have work that could be done from home, etc. Determine the most convenient day for your company for you to be physically “out of the office” while you are teleworking. In your initial proposal, a trial period is a good strategy so your bosses won’t feel inextricably committed to something they aren’t sure about.
- An equipment and workspace agreement: Will you provide your own equipment at home? Will you commit to dedicating a room or space apart from the rest of your home as an official workspace? Who will pay for your internet connection and software? Do you have an ergonomic chair and proper desk for teleworking? How will you ensure the work you do won’t fall into unauthorized hands?
- Accessibility: How do you propose to be accessible to your boss and co-workers during work hours when you aren’t physically present? Can you be reached by cell phone? Will you use an instant messaging service to communicate with co-workers? Is email an effective tool for your situation?
- Connectivity: How will you be connected to the office while teleworking? Will you share files between your home computer and your office? Do you have access to your company’s LAN (local area network) at home? If not, can you get it? Will you transfer files via email or on disk?
- Work Description: Tell your boss what kinds of work you expect to be able to do while teleworking at home. Will you save your writing projects for telework days? Do you have projects that require concentration for long periods? How will you keep yourself busy and productive while you are teleworking? Results-oriented work is the clearest way to establish accountability and to make your results measurable.
- Dependent Care: If you have children or seniors you care for, most telework experts advise against using telework as a substitute for any type of dependent care. Let your employer know what care arrangements you will have on your teleworking days.
- Reporting: Tell your boss how you propose to be accountable for the work you do on your teleworking days. Offer to create a weekly log outlining tasks you expect to complete on your day or days away from the office. At the end of your telework day, record on the log what you were able to complete and other tasks you did during the day.
- Legal Issues: Employers have been burned by teleworking idiots who, for example, claimed that a trip on the way to the kitchen was a work-related injury. How will you ensure your employer won’t be subject to such abuse by you?