Telework Resource Center
Teleworking allows people to work from home by using telephones and modem-equipped home computers or laptops. Teleworkers usually work at home one to three days a week.
This arrangement can result in higher quality work at a lower cost. According to the Oregon Office of Energy, employers have noticed reduced absenteeism among their employees who telecommute. Telecommuters gain greater control of their work schedules and their lives. In addition, both businesses and individuals can earn tax credits by investing in equipment needed to telecommute.
While it may not be appropriate for everyone or every job, those who can telecommute eliminate both the personal and environmental costs of their commute. It is quickly becoming the “new way of working.” Interested in learning more about Teleworking? Contact RVTD about our free Commute Services we offer employers in Southern Oregon.
Teleworking Resource Center: See below for a list of online resources and examples for employers looking to implement a teleworking policy. Also check out the Get There Telework Reference Guide.
Many Oregonians are teleworking in response to COVID-19.
We recognize that teleworking can present some challenges, so we have collected advice from some long-time teleworkers:
- Keep your routine and dress as if you were going into work.
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish each day.
- Be clear about your working hours.
- Move around, stretch, or have an impromptu dance party to get some steps and reduce your stress!
Still getting into the teleworking routine? Consider setting strict physical boundaries: Designate a working space that is considered off limits to others in the household, stick to a regular schedule, and keep your work space at arm’s length after hours.
Since many employees may be new to telework, please find some guidance below on implementing this practice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teleworking is one of the most effective ways employers can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Teleworking may be new to many employers and employees, but many organizations have teleworked for years. According to Gallup’s 2017 The State of the American Workplace Report, 43% of employees work remotely in some capacity. Teleworking presents an opportunity to learn new technology, concentrate on projects placed on hold due to daily activities, and build employer/employee trust.
The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) prepared a list of teleworking best practices that includes:
Team Meetings: Schedule team meetings several times a week. Ask each team member to describe complete activities and any challenges faced.
Encourage Groups Chats: Technology platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Skype allow team members to participate in conversations virtually via chats.
Manage by Results: Communicate expectations in terms of completed work and deadlines. For larger projects, develop milestones and performance indicators.
Keep Evolving: Teleworking is a work in progress and some employees may struggle for a few days.
Resources for Managing Teleworkers
According to the US General Services Administration, these are the “Basics” of managing teleworkers:
Facilitate a teleworking protocol meeting with your team: Host a conversation to identify your team norms and protocols to reach a consensus on what “teleworking as a team” means for you.
Build a trusting environment: Use telework as an opportunity to foster trust between employees and management. Established and agreed upon metrics for productivity help ensure teleworking success and reduces the need for rigid monitoring or micromanagement.
Monitor performance: Hold employees accountable for their work fairly and promptly. Telework does not create inefficiencies, but potentially exposes them. Offer multiple check-in opportunities for your team together and individually.
Stay connected: Ensure all team members know the best and expected vehicles for communication. Commit with each other to the expected response period as outlined in the employee’s telework agreement. Be just as responsive to your direct reports and colleagues as you expect them to be.
Be transparent: Use shared calendars, instant messenger, Teams meetings as tools to ensure team members are apprised of each other’s work status.
Digital Experts agree that in a telework environment, you must overcommunicate. Two of the necessary actions to ensure that your team stays informed and connected are:
- Use shared documents including Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, etc. to share notes in one place- it is important to document everything.
- Add timeframes and deadlines to tasks- this helps provide clear expectations and accountability. It also helps structure check-ins around deliverables.
Overall, remember that some team members may have a hard transition to the telework environment. Being patient, flexible, and supportive are essential to assisting your team in making a smooth transition.
The Business Case for Teleworking:
The most common objectives that organizations mention for introducing a teleworking program include:
- Attract new employees
- Retain key and quality employees
- Provide better service to customers, business partners and suppliers
- Increase productivity and efficiency
- Provide a solution for peak periods and inconvenient working hours
- Ensure continuity of operations in emergency situations and major disasters
- Reduce office space
- Reduce operating costs
- Establish a flexible, virtual networked organization
- Fulfill environmental responsibilities by decreasing the number of employees who may be commuting alone by car
Other Resources and Links:
- Best Workplaces for Commuters: Teleworking Certificate for Managers and Employees.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019.
- State of Oregon: Flexible Workplace Reference Guide
- Online Virtual Meeting: 3 Tips and Tricks for a Great Virtual Meeting
- Draft Telework Policy Example: Download the Telework Policy Template to get started with your policy.
- Teleworking Safety and Liability Considerations: Issues to consider in your teleworking agreement.
- Evaluating your Telework Program: Download the Telework Evaluation Checklist.
- Consideration for Developing Your Telework Agreement: Download the Teleworking Agreement Checklist.
Other Teleworking Resource Pages:
- American Library Association: Resources and Tips for Teleworking
- Best Workplaces for Commuters: Teleworking Resource Page
- CT Rides: Teleworking Resources
- Telework Virginia: List of Telework Resources
- Telework.GOV: Website of the Federal Government’s telework program
- Ride Solutions: Resources for Teleworking
- US General Services Administration: Resources for Managing Teleworkers