7 Steps for a Successful Telework Program

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Use these tools and tips to build a successful telework program that will help your work from home employees thrive. 

Why start a work from home program at your company? The reasons are limitless. Work from home programs can mean improved quality of life for employees, greater employee productivity, lower real-estate and operating expenses, a lighter environmental footprint, and so much more. Yet the million dollar question isn’t why, but how? As a manager, what steps can you take to create a work from home program that thrives? Try these proven methods for a successful telework program.

1. Make it official.

Show managers and employees you are serious about supporting mobile work by establishing a formal work from home policy and building it into your corporate culture. You’ll show everyone on your team is supported, regardless of where they work. Formalizing the program will also help you evaluate its success over time and simplify the process of making changes if any are needed down the line.

2. Ask, is it a good fit?

Working from home isn’t for everybody. Before you send an employee home, be sure to ask questions to help you determine whether it’s a good fit. Evaluate whether the job itself is compatible with working from home. Considering the employee’s work style and past performance is equally important. Studies have shown that employees who do well in the office typically will do well at home.

3. Set clear expectations , procedures, and goals.

Many challenges associated with mobile work can be avoided with a little advanced planning. Sit down with the employee and identify any potential problems that could arise and the things you can both do to help prevent the issues from happening. Before the employee starts teleworking,establish an agreement about how they will keep in contact with you, the team, and external customers. Ensure connectivity no matter where the employee works, and make sure you always identify clear deliverables.

4. Give feedback. Have face time.

You can help your work from home employees stay connected with the team by scheduling regularly occurring onsite individual and team meetings. Whether positive or negative feedback, don’t wait for major problems to arise before you bring it up. Personal interactions boost morale, collaboration, and respect between colleagues working at home and those in the office.

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5. Leverage technology.

Advanced technologies make working from home easier and more affordable than ever. Video calls, instant messaging, desktop sharing, online meeting applications, file sharing sites, and social media allow workers to collaborate easily, regardless of their location. Encourage your teleworking employees to stay connected with their teammates by offering training on applications, devices, and online tools that can help them communicate remotely.

6. Be flexible.

Moving from a corporate office to a home office is a big change for both the manager and employee, so you can expect a period of adjustment. Allow 60 to 90 days for the two of you to acclimate to the new arrangement and work through any challenges. But once you’ve gotten the ball rolling, don’t feel chained to the structure of a mobile work arrangement. Every organization puts their own unique twist on their program to ensure success and has clear criteria to revoke the privilege if it does not work out.

7. Provide ongoing support.

Once an employee starts working from home, make sure they do not fall ‘off the radar’. Keep workers informed and provide resources that will enable them to do well in their jobs at home. Support could come from a dedicated program manager or mobile work consultant, through regular training sessions, annual meetings, routine check-in points and/or monthly newsletters. Stay abreast of new tools and issues too. Subscribe to news from the twitter account @mobilityworker.

We have extensive tools and templates to help you start and grow a telework program on the Mobility Toolkit site! Find downloads of Telework trainings for managers and employees, enrollment forms, worker assessments and more.

Are you ready to take the next step? 

Click here to join the mobility challenge and get free consulting support paid for by the City of Austin and Capital Metro to build your mobility program.

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