Teleworking: Is it right for your company?
Article revised on 13 November 2018
With the work world in a state of constant flux, teleworking is gaining ground with a growing number of workers and employers. While it can eliminate a host of irritants and boost your organization’s attractiveness, teleworking can also create a number of inconveniences. In what situations would it be beneficial? In what situations would it not? Here are some ideas on how to set such a project in motion.
Advantages of teleworking
It’s true that teleworking offers a number of benefits for all parties involved. For companies, it constitutes a competitive advantage that appeals to qualified employees and contributes to employee retention. Actually, a number of studies confirm that, between higher salaries and more flexible working conditions, the latter comes out ahead when candidates are choosing an employer!
For an organization that’s looking to limit its rental expenses, it’s a good way to reduce the number of square feet necessary for the performance of its business activities. As well, the time that employees had spent driving to and from work is generally spent working, so that represents a gain for the employer while not involving additional effort on the part of the employee.
Inconveniences associated with teleworking
Employees have to have a temperament that’s suited to the teleworking formula. Some might have a sense of isolation, which could prove to be a demotivating factor. For those who attribute importance to their relations with co-workers, the limited interactions can quickly result in problems.
As well, many employees are unable to be productive at home because of the distraction of household chores, the temptation to talk on the phone with friends and numerous other things!
Some employers may also fear that there will be reduced learning in connection with collaboration and erosion of team spirit, as well as the potential IT security challenges.
Introducing telework in the workplace: guideposts for success
The Workflex and Telework Guide: Everyone’s Guide to Working Anywhere indicates the key steps that an organization should take when introducing teleworking.
1. Find out about teleworking
It is in the interest of any organization that would like to offer its employees a teleworking formula to get all the information about the legal framework governing the rights, responsibilities and obligations of the workers and the employers. You need to know as much as possible about expenses, visits to the employee’s home, monitoring of work, compliance with the various labour standards, etc. in order to prevent any dispute or conflict down the road.
2. Assign a multidisciplinary team the responsibility of evaluating the situation for the organization
Doing so will enable you to determine whether teleworking would meet a need, define the jobs eligible for the formula, evaluate employees’ ability to telework and check the project’s feasibility in terms of material resources.
3. Develop a policy and procedures
This step is important, in order to prevent inconsistencies, standardize the practice and ensure fair treatment for all employees. The clearer the policy and the more detailed the thoughts and procedures for covering all the situations related to teleworking, the more equipped you will be to handle situations that might arise.
4. Introducing telework
Start off with a pilot project with a small group of participants for a defined period, accompanied by a solid communication plan.
5. Evaluate and review the teleworking policy and procedures
Doing so will give you an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments, about a month after the start of the pilot project, and again at the end. You could subsequently plan an evaluation to take place every year or two afterwards.
As with many things, in addition to planning, the success of your initiative is reliant on commitment from senior management and on a solid communication between all the parties. These success factors will enable you to proceed with your project and take full advantage of the benefits associated with teleworking while limiting the inconveniences.
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