Teleworking

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Teleworking means using information technology and telecommunications to replace work-related travel. Simply put, it means working at home or closer to home. With teleworking, employees work at home, or an employer’s satellite office one or more days per week. Communication is accomplished by phone, email, and teleconferencing. Regionally, more than 877,000 workers are going to work simply by turning on their home computers. This workplace alternative pays real dividends for area businesses and their employees, while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, increasing the area’s economic vitality, and bolstering the overall quality of life.

Promote teleworking at your workplace! CLICK HERE to download a PDF version of the above poster.

Commuter Connections can help your organization implement a successful telework program for your employees. Consider the benefits of implementing a telework program at your organization:

 

Why Telework?

Employer Benefits

Teleworking is an effective tool for organizations looking for a competitive edge in today’s labor market. Teleworking can help an organization prosper by enhancing an employer’s ability to recruit and retain skilled workers, improving employee satisfaction and productivity, and cutting overhead costs. Employer benefits include:

• Strengthened employee recruitment and retention

• Reduced absenteeism, sick leave, and late arrivals

• Increased employee productivity

• Increased employee satisfaction

• Reduced costs for office space and parking

• Expanded geographic access to skilled workers

• Enhanced public recognition as an innovative business and as a good corporate citizen

• Provides for business continuity of operations during a regional crisis

Employee Benefits

Whether an organization succeeds and grows depends on the people that make up the organization. Working with employees to structure a flexible work environment that makes sense helps a company improve its long-term business prospects and keeps good people. Employee benefits include:

• Reduced long, congested commutes making late arrivals a thing of the past

• Improved productivity resulting from fewer interruptions and distractions

• Enhanced time management and opportunity for flexible work schedules

• Improved balance between work and family life, boosting employee satisfaction

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Communicate seamlessly with your office, colleagues, customers, and potential customers. These locations provide entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and established corporate teleworkers with a variety of settings. Features include workstations, high-speed internet, and other amenities which may consist of photocopiers, VoIP/telephony, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.

In general, shared workspaces and Telework Centers are better suited for more established professionals. These types of locations work on a twelve-month lease arrangement and are known for providing more traditional amenities such as conference rooms, professional office furniture, photocopiers, audio-visual equipment etc. Some also offer receptionists, pantries, and separate private offices. Coworking spaces are more ideal for start-up businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneur-types looking for an affordable creative atmosphere to pursue their passions. Usually, coworking spaces can be leased for a shorter period, between three and six months.

There are countless facilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, each offering a unique, productive, and flourishing environment. Regardless of location, each offers a surrounding of like-minded people and allow for independence while at the same time a collaborative, supportive community not available when working from home.

Below are just some of the many work centers within the region:

1776

AdvantEdge

Alley

Bureau

Carr Workplaces*

Cowork Frederick

Creative Colony District (formerly DC Workspaces)

Inclusive Innovative Incubator

Industrious

Locale

Make Offices*

Mindspace

Regus*

Spaces

TechSpace

The Cove

The Hive

The Hub

The Wing

The Yard

Wework*

* Multiple Locations

Telework Resources

Whether you’re looking to create a new telework program or modify an existing program, Commuter Connections has resources to assist your efforts no matter how small or large your company may be.

 

Sample Program Guidelines

These short policies provide basic information on recommended program descriptions, employee eligibility and availability, considerations, hardships, legalese, parameters, technology (if needed), and other issues that safeguard employer and employee arrangements. The guidelines also contain language for piloting, expanding, or terminating programs. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Sample Teleworker Agreement

Formalizing telework arrangements with a Teleworker Agreement helps set measurable expectations for the teleworker and management. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Manager Do's for Teleworking

COMMUNICATION

  • Develop good communication and access procedures for your employees so they are clear about meeting times and availability when teleworking, for example, suggest that teleworker email their team when starting and ending their telework day
  • Integrate teleworkers in innovation exchange such as brainstorming with the use of technology
  • Communicate with the teleworker like you would in the office
  • Plan meetings when your teleworkers can participate
  • Consider short team huddles or online meetings
  • Encourage good communication skills, such as responding to emails and voicemails in a timely manner

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Manage by measuring results
  • Build trust through troubleshooting with the teleworkers
  • Encourage goal setting - use the Telework Task Schedule or Daily Log
  • Delegate assignments equitably among your teleworkers and non-teleworkers. Think creatively of how work can be re-organized for the purposes of teleworking
  • Provide feedback in a timely manner
  • Ensure that you have a performance evaluation process in place for both teleworkers and non-teleworkers.

MANAGING

  • Be prepared if telework doesn’t work well and allow the employee to terminate participation
  • Do consider expanding the telework program after the emergency period
  • Use telework as an opportunity to strengthen your management skills
  • Make sure teleworker has IT contact information
  • Ask for feedback on the teleworking program
  • Trust your teleworkers

 

Manager Don'ts for Teleworking

COMMUNICATION

  • Don’t call teleworker every hour to check on progress

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t set unattainable goals
  • Don’t expect perfection; there will be adjustments needed
  • Don’t set unrealistic deadlines for projects
  • Don't select employees that are not productive in the office to telework

MANAGING

  • Don’t neglect problems
  • Don’t expect everyone to be a successful teleworker
  • Don't begin new projects during the telework period
  • Don't require face to face or team meetings during an emergency period unless necessary - some technology alternatives are Skype or conference call
  • Don't feel obligated to continue the arrangement if it's not working

 

Disclaimer

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is not engaged in rendering legal advice and provides these forms free of charge solely to assist businesses exploring teleworking arrangements with their employees.  By using these materials, the recipient (1) acknowledges and agrees that the MWCOG makes no representations regarding the sufficiency (legal or otherwise) of these materials in any particular jurisdiction or for any particular business purpose, and (2) voluntarily and knowingly assumes all risks associated with their use.

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Communicate seamlessly with your office, colleagues, customers, and potential customers. These locations provide entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and established corporate teleworkers with a variety of settings. Features include workstations, high-speed internet, and other amenities which may consist of photocopiers, VoIP/telephony, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.

In general, shared workspaces and Telework Centers are better suited for more established professionals. These types of locations work on a twelve-month lease arrangement and are known for providing more traditional amenities such as conference rooms, professional office furniture, photocopiers, audio-visual equipment etc. Some also offer receptionists, pantries, and separate private offices. Coworking spaces are more ideal for start-up businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneur-types looking for an affordable creative atmosphere to pursue their passions. Usually, coworking spaces can be leased for a shorter period, between three and six months.

There are countless facilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, each offering a unique, productive, and flourishing environment. Regardless of location, each offers a surrounding of like-minded people and allow for independence while at the same time a collaborative, supportive community not available when working from home.

Below are just some of the many work centers within the region:

1776

AdvantEdge

Alley

Bureau

Carr Workplaces*

Cowork Frederick

Creative Colony District (formerly DC Workspaces)

Inclusive Innovative Incubator

Industrious

Locale

Make Offices*

Mindspace

Regus*

Spaces

TechSpace

The Cove

The Hive

The Hub

The Wing

The Yard

Wework*

* Multiple Locations

Telework Case Studies

Telework Case Studies

Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service(APHIS) Beltsville, MD

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a multifaceted agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal.  Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of the USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues Read Case Study

Calvert Investments, Inc. (formerly Calvert Group, Ltd.) Bethesda, MD

Calvert, headquartered outside Washington, DC in Bethesda, MD, has been setting industry standards for investment management excellence since its founding in 1976. As a leader in sustainable and responsible investing, (SRI), Calvert offers a range of SRI strategies that meet sustainability goals for its clients and communities. Calvert serves individual and institutional investors as well as professional financial advisors nationwide. Today, more than 400,000 investors entrust over $14.5 billion in assets to Calvert. Read Case Study

Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. Silver Spring, MD

Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., an employee-owned company, has supported public and private sector programs since 1978. We contribute significantly to improving public health around the world. Whether we are supporting HIV/AIDS clinical trials around the world, providing program monitoring and evaluation services in Africa, collecting epidemiologic data in Europe, coordinating AIDS conferences in the Caribbean and Africa, or analyzing Medicare data in the United States, we consistently provide the highest quality support available. We are committed to conducting ourselves ethically, honoring our commitments, acting proactively and responsively, and delivering excellent services—on time and at a good value. Read Case Study

United States Department of Agriculture Washington, DC

The USDA has a workforce of approximately 120,000 employees and provides the nation with leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. The Department is a vastly dynamic organization whose vision is to enhance agricultural trade, improve farm economies and quality of life in rural America, protect the Nation’s food supply, improve the Nation’s nutrition, and protect and enhance the Nation’s natural resource base and environment. Read Case Study 

Clean Currents Rockville, MD

Clean Currents is a green energy company that was founded in 2005. Clean Currents provides affordable green energy options to residential customers including windpower options through the grid as well as solar panel installations for on-site energy generation. Clean Currents also provides energy efficiency and environmental consulting services. As a green energy company, Clean Currents works to ensure that its operations are environmentally responsible. The option for employees to telework is one of these efforts. Read Case Study

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Rockville, MD

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency to regulate the commercial nuclear industry to protect public health and safety against radiation hazards from industries that use radioactive material. The NRC has over 4,000 employees located at headquarters in Rockville, Md., four regional offices and 65 nuclear plant sites.
Nuclear safety is at the core of all the agency’s work in licensing, oversight, inspection, enforcement, research, and emergency response. Read Case Study

United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) Rockville, MD

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets Federally recognized standards for prescription and over–the– counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States. USP also sets widely recognized standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements. USP sets standards for the identity, as well as the quality, purity, and strength of these products–critical to the public health. These and other USP standards are used in more than 130 countries around the globe. These standards have helped to ensure public health for close to 200 years. Read Case Study

U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) Arlington, VA

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent agency within the Postal Service, employs more than 1,100 auditors, investigators, and professional support staff located in more than 90 offices nationwide. The OIG plays a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of America’s postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees. With $73 billion in revenue, the Postal Service is at the core of a $900 billion mailing industry that employs more than nine million people. The more than 700,000 employees of the Postal Service comprise the largest civilian federal workforce in the country. Read Case Study

Marriott International Bethesda, MD

Marriott International, Inc., is a leading lodging company. Its heritage can be traced to a root beer stand opened in Washington, D.C., in 1927 by J. Willard and Alice S.Marriott. Today, Marriott International has more than 3,200 lodging properties located in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. People first—the foundation of Marriott's corporate culture and success for over 80 years! Marriott's belief is that our associates are our greatest assets. Marriott Culture is the experience we create for our customers, which is demonstrated by the behavior of our associates. It is people serving people. "Green Marriott" is our company's commitment to sustainable environmental practices. Read Case Study

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

As a result of the 2005 DISA Employee Satisfaction survey, a recommendation was made to expand DISA's telework program.  During the same time period, DISA was selected under the Base Realignment and Closure Committee recommendations for the relocation of its Headquarters function in Northern Virginia to Fort Meade, Maryland. With 75% of the DISA workforce living in the Northern Virginia area, a solid strategy was needed for retention of this experienced, highly qualified workforce as well as one for recruitment of exceptionally qualified employees for the Fort Meade location. It was determined that the expansion of the telework program would serve as an excellent tool for both retention and recruitment. Read Case Study 

Noblis Falls Church, VA

Noblis is a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization that helps clients solve complex systems, process and infrastructure problems in ways that benefit the public. Our unique impartial, independent stance—free of any ties to commercial or sponsor interests—assures clients that our counsel and implementation support is offered purely in their best interest. At the forefront of those expectations were the program’s stated goals (to attract and retain staff and be cost-neutral), but the team also expected environmental benefits, such as reduced gasoline consumption and increased productivity from telecommuters. Read Case Study  

Booz Allen Hamilton Mclean, VA

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for more than 90 years. Every day, government agencies, institutions, and infrastructure organizations rely on the firm’s expertise and objectivity, and on the combined capabilities and dedication of our exceptional people to find solutions and seize opportunities. We combine a consultant’s unique problem-solving orientation with deep technical knowledge and strong execution to help clients achieve success in their most critical missions. Read Case Study

 

 

Telework FAQ

What is teleworking?
Teleworking, also known as telecommuting, replaces travel to, from and for work with telecommunications technologies. It refers to working at home or another location on a full or part time basis. Many employees telework only once or twice per week, on the other hand, some employees telework full time and only go to the office on an occasional basis.

What type of equipment is needed for teleworking?

Teleworking often involves remote access, computer hardware and software, phone, email and other collaborative technologies.

What type of jobs are appropriate for teleworking?
Most “information-based” jobs are appropriate for teleworking. Teleworking is ideal for jobs that require reading, writing, research, working with data and talking on the phone. Many jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified so that the employees can telework, at least on a part-time basis. One of the secrets to designing a good teleworking program lies in the ability to organize specific jobs so they can be done without constant interaction or need for feedback.

Which employees are ideal for teleworking?
The ideal teleworker is well-organized, able to work independently and requires minimal supervision. Successful teleworkers have a high degree of job skill and knowledge and strong time management skills. Teleworkers don't mind working alone. Teleworking is not ideal or desirable for every employee.

What are some of the issues that managers confront with teleworkers?
Some managers of teleworkers have a problem with the concept of employees working from home. They fear that their employees may be distracted with household duties and/or dependent care and unable to accomplish their work, when, in fact, it seems to be the exact opposite. Managers can expect more productivity and a higher quality of work from teleworkers who are less stressed and distracted in their flexible work environment.

How do I know if the teleworkers are really working?
The employee’s completed work product is the indicator. Telemanagers must focus on quantity, quality and timeliness. They must manage by objectives or results, rather than by direct observation.

Who is the ideal manager for supervising teleworkers?
The ideal manager of teleworkers (telemanager) has a positive attitude towards teleworking and is willing to allow employees to telework. A telemanager manages by results and not by monitoring work hours. Telemanagers delegate work easily, are well organized and trust their employees. Not every manager is comfortable with a style of management that is conducive to successful teleworking.

How will managers know how to supervise teleworkers?
Teleworking presents an opportunity for telemanagers to become better supervisors. By focusing on the employee’s work product, telemanagers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.

Will employees work less if they are at home working unsupervised?
No, survey results showed marked improvements in productivity. Productivity increases because employees have fewer distractions and interruptions, work at their peak times and experience less stress due to the absence of the commute to work.

Will loyalty to the company be diminished?
No, loyalty is likely to improve as employees are happier with their working conditions. Employee morale also improves as a result of teleworking.

How can social interaction be maintained to keep teleworkers from feeling isolated from their colleagues?
Many techniques are available to overcome the feeling of isolation. These include part-time teleworking, core days in the office and frequent communication via telephone and voice-mail. Teleworkers should be included in all scheduled meetings and events.

Is teleworking a substitute for child- or elder-care?
No, a teleworker must focus on his or her job, not handle demanding child- or elder-care situations. However, due to their flexibility, teleworkers are better able to manage their work/family schedules.

Can teleworking result in reduced use of sick leave?
Yes. An employee working in a regular office usually has to use half a day to get to the doctor or dentist appointment. A teleworker can take one or two hours and then return to work at home. In addition, often an employee that does not feel well enough to drive or whose child is sick may work some hours at home.

Will the need for overtime decrease as a result of teleworking?
For non-exempt employees, the rules for overtime are the same as they are in the office. Please refer to your HR handbook for guidance.

What are some of the issues that teleworkers should be aware of?
Teleworkers should designate a work area for teleworking in their homes. A separate room provides greater privacy but is not necessarily required. Teleworkers must gain the trust and support of their families, coworkers, clients and managers. Teleworkers need to be aware of the tendency to work long hours and the need to take breaks.

If I want to start a teleworking program or to improve an existing one, what is the first step I should take?

Contact Commuter Connections at 800-745-RIDE or email us at ridematching@mwcog.org

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