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Telecommuting


Giving employees the opportunity to sometimes work at home is now offered to 12.7% of workers in Southern California. While not suitable for all employees, when telecommuting is offered, those who telecommute do so 4.8 days per month. For every day that an employee telecommutes it takes two trips off the road and produces greater employee satisfaction and productivity. Your company benefits from employee retention, reduced recruitment, and training costs.

For a sample Telecommuting Program Policy, click here.
For a sample Telecommuting Agreement, click here.
For a sample Telecommuter’s Assignment, click here.

Defining Telecommuting

  • Extends the workplace beyond the traditional office
  • Is a voluntary arrangement and not an entitlement
  • Replaces business-related trips
  • Maintains productivity in face of disasters
  • Requires planning and consensus building
  • Depends on technology
  • Depends on management commitment

Telecommuting is not...

  • Always a full-time arrangement
  • An entitlement or a benefit
  • A replacement for child care or dependent care
  • Sending people home and never seeing or hearing from them again
  • A substitute for time managing personal or other activities
  • Always expensive

Fact and Not Fiction*

  • Productivity increases by 10-20%
  • Overhead savings of 25-90%
  • Absenteeism decreases by 2-4 days per telecommuter per year
  • Recruitment and retention improves (50% of employees cite telecommuting as important to their jobs)
  • Telecommuters save about 29-32 miles and 1.1 trips per Telecommute occasion

*Sources for information derived from 50 national case studies

Institutional Concerns

  • Productivity — Typically increases due to the lack of interruptions
  • Trust and loss of control — Managers have full control in determining who telecommutes, when they telecommute, and if they continue telecommuting
  • Trade secrets — Sensitive information and data should not leave the office
  • Loss of corporate loyalty — Employees are more likely to stay with job if allowed to telecommute

Community and Environmental Issues

  • Reduces Vehicle Miles Traveled
  • Conforms to South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 2202 (serves as compliance strategy)
  • Reduces trips by eliminating the commute
  • Creates safer neighborhoods because more people are home during the day

Implementation Steps

  1. Gain Management Commitment
  2. Select Telecommuting Coordinator(s)
  3. Form Steering Committee of Human Resources, IT, Facilities, Departments that will be piloting program
  4. Develop pilot program
  5. Conduct a Job Assessment
  6. Assess Costs and Savings
  7. Develop Technology Component
  8. Develop Policies
  9. Select Telecommuters and Supervisors
  10. Train supervisors for managing remote workers and train employees to be successful at working from home
  11. Implement and Evaluate
  12. Expand

Not all Jobs are Appropriate for Telecommuting. Look for jobs that...

  • Are project oriented and measurable
  • Have minimal impact on others
  • Have minimal need for face to face meeting on a daily basis
  • Don’t need daily interaction with others

Assess the Individual for the Following Factors

  • Organizational skills
  • Flexibility
  • Self-discipline
  • Experience
  • Working relations
  • Supervisor
  • Customer impact

Assess the Technology Component

  • Equipment needs — Does the employee have access to a laptop or a home computer?
  • Frequency — How often can the employee telecommute?
  • Connectivity issues — Does the employee have remote access?
  • Pre-testing — Has the employee’s equipment and remote access been pre-tested?
  • Tech support — Does the employee have access to tech support when telecommuting?

Eligibility Factors- Consider the Following

  • Performance rating
  • Tenure
  • Grade level
  • Position description
  • Organizational structure

Employee Characteristics for Telecommuting

  • Self-motivated, self-managing
  • Results-oriented
  • Conscientious, organized
  • Independent worker
  • Flexible
  • Understands job requirements
  • Understands organizational policies and procedures
  • Communicates well with colleagues and clients
  • Handles change well

Element of Success for Telecommuting

  • Start with initial pilot
  • Secure top and middle management support and commitment
  • Take the time to plan and select right employees
  • Best programs are seamless and flexible
  • Best programs fit the existing corporate culture
  • Plan for access and communication
  • Plan for expansion