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What Will Make Telework a Success?

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By Allan Holmes August 25, 2010

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Government Executive posted on Tuesday the second of a four-part series on telework. The brief article, written by Bill Bransford, general counsel for the Senior Executives Association, is how to convince bosses to give up control and allow eligible employees telework.

Bransford makes an important point about telework, but it's unfortunate that it comes near the end of the article. One of the primary factors in the success of a telework program, just as it is for any significant change in a business process, is training. He wrote:

Training for supervisors should include communicating performance expectations to employees and implementing flexible work arrangements through collective bargaining agreements. Agencies should outline clear expectations for teleworking employees, such as the need to be available by phone and e-mail during work hours, make occasional unexpected trips to the office to attend meetings, work on a task force if required, or be present at a specific location if it's essential to the agency's mission.

Bransford also points out training extends to employees. They should be taught how to use equipment needed for telework, including computers, printers and BlackBerrys, so "they know how to use and service those tools from a remote location."

Training may seem trivial, but it can set expectations, such as performance goals and being accessible. Besides, one of the key reason education experts give for the failure of the massive effort over the past decade to place computers in the classroom in an effort to raise students' performance is that schools never trained teachers on how to incorporate them into their curriculum.

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