What is Telework?
Telework is an arrangement in which employees work from remote locations during a certain percentage of the week to. Such a program involves utilizing current communication technologies so that the employee remains interactive with coworkers and supervisors. Although formally used as a luxury for select employees, an active and successful teleworking program has potential to positively affect a company’s financial accounts, employee satisfaction, and overall CO2 output.
The benefits of teleworking extend beyond financial gain. As more employees opt to work from home rather than a centralized location, businesses will see a positive effect on employee satisfaction and retention rate. Two-thirds of employees would choose to work from home if given the option and 36% would opt for teleworking privileges over a pay raise. It has been found that teleworkers are able to stay more relaxed and less distracted in an environment of their choosing.
Due to high employee retention rate and a decrease in demand for office space, the positive financial impact telework programs can have for a company expands to areas such as real estate, overhead costs, transportation, and new employee training. As of August, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has saved $19.8 million in real-estate costs alone since instituting the telework program.
The community as a whole can benefit from the implementation of teleworking programs. Highway conditions would improve and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions would decrease as fewer people depend on motor vehicles to get to the office.
Although the financial and social benefits outweigh the costs, it is important to take into consideration obstacles since teleworking is not for everybody. Technical issues that arise pertain to data security, providing IT support, state taxation policies, employer liability and zoning laws. Additionally, socially charged problems may result in collaboration issues and the fear of being ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ For a full list of cost and benefits, visit the Telework Research Network.
So now you are interested, but how do you start to implement a telework program in your company? Begin by assessing how much your company will benefit with the Telework Savings Calculator. With any business venture, the benefits must outweigh the costs. If they do, begin to investigate other programs. Research the types of software technologies and employee training you will need to invest in to make your program a success. To get you started, here are some sources for implementing a teleworking program:
Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 for government agencies
Implementing Telework: Lessons Learned from Four Federal Agencies by Scott P. Overmyer