This week, September 12, 2011, is Georgia’s Telework Week. Even though telework has been traditionally associated with internet companies like eBay, Yahoo, and Google or with federal agencies, telework may also be a good fit for some positions within your organization.
WHY TELEWORK There are many potential benefits of offering telework to your employess. According to Office of Personnel Management, telework helps to recruit the best workforce, opens up opportunities for individuals with disabilities, reduces environmental impact of commuting, and decreases real estate costs. There are also many emotional benefits that teleworkers say they experience such as renewed creativity, decreased stress, and increase focus. National Telework Week was held February 14-18, 2011 garnered the support of 39,694 new teleworkers which collectively saved $2.7 million in commuting costs, and gained back more than 148,000 hours of productivity.
WHO SHOULD TELEWORK Although the benefits of telework are extensive, not every position or person is a good fit for telework. Some positions which lend themselves to telework are: programmer/developers; consultants; customer service representatives; sales personnel; writers/editors; researchers; and artists/designers.
This list isn’t dispositive. Managers should consider whether all equipment and information needed to do the job can be easily and securely located in the home. For instance, a designer who designs banks or other secure buildings may not be a good candidate for fulltime telework because storage of his designs in his home would have security implications. However, a designer of residential homes would be a good candidate. Another consideration is the need for the individual to interact face to face with customers or other co-workers. However, this consideration is more likely to indicate that full time telework is inappropriate and less likely to indicate that telework is not an alternative at all. Employers should also consider the individual. If the employee isn’t self-motivate or directed in the workplace, they are unlikely to be successful teleworking.
On September 15, 2011, the Clean Air Campaign will hold a telework summit where Geri P. Thomas, Market President, of Bank of America, Georgia as well as panelists from Coca-Cola Refreshments, UPS, Vocalocity, U.S. Department of Labor and other organizations. This event will have more specific information on telework pros, cons, and tips.