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   The Flexible Workplace   |  Telework   |   Teams, Meetings, & Retreats  |   Executive Coaching  |   Performance Management

What is a flexible workplace—really?

What is telework—really?

How do we ensure our company culture advances with, and benefits from, our work/life programs?

How do we improve our recruiting and retention—and our bottom line?

 

 

 

 

Q:  What is “teleworking” -- really?

A:  Generally, it means using some form of technology to communicate with a distant bricks-and-mortar office to accomplish one’s job.  Phones and telegrams were the original teleworking equipment, used primarily by traveling salespeople.  Today, widely available access to high-speed computers and the Internet has made teleworking a powerful, efficient, affordable, and mainstream means of excellence on the job without physically commuting to the office every day.

  • Location:  The typical telework setup involves working from home, with a computer, high-speed internet access, an extra phone line or cell phone, maybe a fax machine and a shredder comprising the home-office equipment.  Alternatively, an employee might take advantage of a nearby commercial telework site or “smart office,” where space, equipment and sometimes administrative office support are available for lease. 
  • Time frames:  Most teleworkers work from their remote site just once or twice a week, following their usual commute to the office on the other days for meetings, access to internal systems and services, and healthy “face time” with managers and co-workers.   An employee with unique skills and/or business knowledge who would be difficult and expensive to replace, but who has a personal need or desire to do the job from a more remote site, might only travel to the office once or twice a month -- or less, depending on the nature of the work they are to accomplish.
  • Jobs:  While some jobs clearly require more office time than others, there are very few jobs that don’t allow at least some teleworking opportunities; even an airline pilot spends time working from home every month, studying the latest equipment and safety requirements.  Doctors and nurses accumulate business study and paperwork for focused concentration away from the hospital.  Admin Assistants can share “on-call” responsibilities and take turns working from home once a pay period, focusing on detailed and complex assignments without the constant interruptions they experience in the office.

What’s critical for success in a teleworking organization?  Two things:  detailed, fair, consistent policies; and rock-solid performance management practices. 

What are the leading causes of derailment?  One, poor management practices:  the perception that if you can’t see the employee working, the employee probably isn’t working.  And two, a company culture that is punitive to alternative work styles, assuming those who don’t put in 100% in-office “face time” have less personal drive, less commitment, and less interest in career advancement.


 
 

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Frequently asked questions

What is a flexible workplace—really?
What is telework—really?
How do we ensure our company culture advances with, and benefits from, our work/life programs?
How do we improve our recruiting and retention—and our bottom line?