Thursday, September 4, 2008

Telecommuting Questions

From the website ITBusiness Canada, this article raises a number of key management questions that any employer should consider as they plan their telecommuting program. The good news? Almost all of these questions can be resolved with good planning and good tools in place. The big issues they raise: collaboration, performance, and access. All of these are big problems in hastily slapped together telecommuting programs, but can be readily dealt with if you take a little time.

Take access problems, for instance: Real Office workers may feel as though they can't bother people who are working at home because they're not sure if the telecommuter is actually working at the same time as everyone else in the office is. And how easy is this to solve? Super easy. Just put this sentence in your telecommuting policy (you have one, right?): "All employees are expected to keep routine office hours that meet the staffing needs of their department, unit, or work group."

See how easy that is? Even if you're working at a ROWE "no rules-just right" environment, as a manager you can say, "Gee, guys, I really need to have someone here to provide service to our customers between 10 and 6, because that's when people want the thing we do."

You still have to manage. Sorry.

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