There are many ways out there to make your work commute easier, less stressful, and less of a financial burden; however, what if you could eliminate your commute all together? How many times have you felt sick, but had to go into work to meet a deadline? Or sat in traffic thinking of how much more productive you could use your time? Telework is a great solution for dealing with issues such as these and can have a positive impact on employee morale, work efficiency, and the company’s bottom line.
On Tuesday, our friends at goDCgo hosted a telework seminar for D.C. employers, which I attended along with a few other ATP coworkers. They did a great job of providing useful information, such as the numerous advantages of telework (increased productivity, employee retention, reduced long-term costs, less congestion and emissions, etc.) and the different technology options you can implement to have a successful telework program. The second part of the seminar discussed an issue that’s a little more complex: despite the benefits, what are the challenges to actually starting a telework program, and are there solutions that can address them?
While over 20% of DC area workers have the option to telework, many companies are hesitant to allow employees to work outside of the main workplace. Reasons such as the fear of reduced collaboration and productivity, employee positions that are unsuited for telework, and potential up-front costs are often why company leaders and management may choose not to offer the option of teleworking.
These reasons might discourage companies from allowing teleworking, or they may be why employees don’t propose a telework program to their supervisors. However, there are strategies and solutions to address these concerns. One way to see if a telework program could be successful at your company is to start a trial period – for two to four months, employees who are able to work outside the office are given the option of teleworking one or two days a week. At the end of the trial period, the company could conduct a review of participating employees and determine if the program should move forward long-term. Providing adequate communications technology is another strategy that can address the lack of face- to-face meetings and in-office collaboration. Setting up a video conferencing application such as Skype, using an internet-based phone system, as well as other intra-office chat programs can offer more seamless, free-flowing communication for employees working outside of the office. Finally, while each company has different needs and resources, presenting case studies and research about the benefits and best practices of other employers’ telework programs can help justify the rationale for implementing a telework program.
Telework is a great option and work strategy that companies can use to attract quality employees, reduce costs on things like energy, parking, and office space, and ultimately improve their bottom line. Here at ATP, we can assist your company in establishing and administering a telework program in a variety of ways such as explaining different program options, hosting a workshop or seminar on teleworking, and connect you with other telework resources. Contact us today for more information!