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Telework Policies

Telework Policies

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Workshifing by Citrix Online

GreenTech LogoLet's say that you're convinced that it's worth saving something over $10,000 per employee per year, according to a recent study from Citrix, by having them work from home at least half-time.

You're willing to believe you'll get increased productivity, reduced facility costs, lowered absenteeism, and reduced turnover by allowing more teleworking.

You're even persuaded that it's worth investing some time and money on getting some VoIP telecom and online communication tools in place to make that happen.

There's one more hurdle to overcome: how do you manage those teleworkers to be assured that they're truly doing their work? TechSoup has a forum discussion that started in 2008 on telecommuting policies.

Telework Policy Discussion Highlights

Sasha Daucus from FundRaiserSoftware.com has some great tips listed in the forum and volunteerism expert, Jayne Cravens recommends:

Additional Telework Policy Resources

Here are some other good resources that I found in combing through the avalanche of online information available.

  • Salem Kimble, from our partner BetterWorld Telecom, penned this recent post about how their office makes virtual work a real-world success.
  • One of TechSoup's donor partners, Citrix Online, has a site called Workshifting.com that has a variety of good resources, tips, and blog posts on how to develop sustainable workplace policies for remote and telecommuting staff.
  • A good place to begin is Chris McMahon's telecommuting policy, which is collaboratively written piece by experienced telecommuters, many of whom have had bad experiences when telecommuting for organizations that lack a "sane and rational telecommuting policy." It's simple and short, but may be all the you need.
  • Tina Nacrelli's Telecommuting Policy Development - Top Ten Tips is also a good starting place. It's not a sample document but lists all the things a good policy should include including quality metrics to insure teleworkers are doing their work.
  • Inc.com has posted a good basic employee telecommuting policy agreement.
  • Womans-work.com has a great no-nonsense sample telework policy template as well as a telework application and screening questionnaire for employees, and also a telework employee agreement.
  • For those of who want to see what a full blown institutional policy looks like, the University of California has kindly posted their telecommuting policy and procedures, which includes:
    • Telecommuting policy statement
    • Guidelines for developing telecommuting agreements
    • Model telecommuting agreement
    • Developing a Proposal for a Telecommuting Agreement
    • Telecommuting safety checklist
    • Work from Home Guide: technology options, services, and resources
  • The University of Wisconsin also has some useful language in their telecommuting policy and guidelines (PDF). This document has some strong and clear language on work performance.
  • The nonprofit, Teleworker.org has posted a comprehensive guideline called Telecommuting: Security Policies and Procedures for the Work-From-Home Workforce that can function as a final checklist after drafting a policy.

Managing Remote Workers

Finally, some of the most concrete advice I found on maintaining adequate management of teleworkers is Jacob Griscom's article How Telecommunications Is Changing Work for Nonprofits, in particular his section on systems for measuring results and accountability

When employees don't work in one central location, most meetings can be scheduled and conducted via web conferencing, phone, or even IM. Yet even in the most optimal open work environments, certain tasks, meetings, trainings, and creative processes are either impossible or severely limited if employees can't meet face-to-face. To address this, an open work organization might consider a regular schedule for use of office space that you own and lease out for additional revenue, or utilizing on-demand conference space that's rented as needed.

The systems shift can be called a move toward a 'results-only' work environment, a transformation prioritizing and rewarding productivity and job requirements, not time at work or scheduling, a solution that can be customized at the work-group level or across the organization.

Turns out that perhaps the key to managing telework employees are effective and reasonably frequent face-to-face supervision check-ins. It's a bit ironic, that.

We'd very much welcome your experiences in devising a management strategy for teleworkers. Feel free to share your dos and don'ts in the comments below.

Photo: Workshifting by Citrix Online

  • for teleworkers to be productive good tools are needed.  http://www.binfire.com is a great site for team work and collaboration for remote teams.

  • Thanks for the tool suggestion. Are you affiliated with binfire.com in some way? I'm not personally familiar with it, but would be interested to learn more.