According to Commuter Connections 2019 State of the Commute Survey Report, more than one million employees now telework at least occasionally in the Washington, DC region, 39% of whom work in Arlington, Alexandria, or DC. Nationwide, companies have continued to embrace telework. According to the Society for Human Resource Managemen’st (SHRM) Employee Benefits 2019 Report, the number of companies providing telework arrangements is up across the board:
- 69% of employers offer telework on an ad-hoc basis, a 13% increase from 2015
- 42% of employers allow telework on a part-time basis, a 6% increase from 2015
- 27% of employers permit telework on a full-time basis, a 5% increase from 2015
If you’re thinking about implementing or enhancing a telework or telecommute program at your office in 2020, here are some companies offering excellent examples.
Provide an Option for Everyone
Conservation International had embraced flexibility and work-life balance for many years, but decided to incorporate telework in a more formal manner in 2018 when they went through an office renovation that consolidated their space from two floors to one.
With this move, they rolled out a policy that allowed employees to select a flexible work option that worked best for them. Eligible employees were permitted to choose between telecommuting two days per week or working a compressed schedule. This allowed people to choose which type of benefit best fit their lifestyle, family obligations, and needs, as well as supported their reduction in office space.
Encourage Weekly Collaboration
One common objection to telework is that it doesn’t create opportunities for face-to-face collaboration that happens in an office setting. However, many organizations are finding ways to still ensure that their office remains collaborative and fosters an interactive culture.
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is one such example. Their organization boasts approximately 90% participation in their telework program, with employees teleworking multiple days per week. The only day of the week employees are not permitted to telework is Wednesday. This allows team meetings, project updates, and other collaboration opportunities to take place with everyone in the same location.
Create Effective Management Practices
Even with a formal policy, many managers may carry out the rules it provides differently or may need guidance on how to handle situations that arise out of telework. Additionally, some managers may encourage telework opportunities more than others, creating inconsistency and tension across teams.
Looking for ways to encourage more telework within the bounds of their formal program which provided both ad-hoc and regular, recurring telecommute situations, the Smithsonian Institution, Office of Contracting and Personal Property Management partnered with Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) to hold a custom training for managers on their existing telework program. This training led to the development of a Telework Working Group, charged with improving the telework experience at their office and a pilot to expand the number of days eligible employees were permitted to telework.
Put These Practices to the Test
Inspired by these examples? Let’s work together to make your company’s telework program help you reach your organizational goals. Whether you’re looking to reduce operational costs, recruit from a larger pool of talent, increase productivity, or improve employee experience in 2020, a great telework policy can be part of your plan.
Photo Credit: Reema Desai/ReemaDesai.com for Arlington Transportation Partners