Dresser & Associates

Strategies for Implementing a Work-From-Home Program

telecommutingWouldn’t we all like to work from home? However, we know not every person nor every job is ideally suited for telecommuting. Employers considering a remote work program must strategize closely with employees, carefully researching and developing a dynamic arrangement for identifying best-fit employees and jobs for telework arrangements.

How to Get Started

First and foremost, a team of employees from across the company should be brought together to help review job descriptions, work requirements, establish criteria and qualifications for the work from home program. HR may choose a program advocate to work with the team to promote, control and evaluate the program.

Who Makes a Good Remote Employee?

The team should begin by identifying the necessary exhibited qualities to be considered. Brittany Maling wrote in HR WORLD that employees who telecommute should1:

  • Be self-disciplined and efficient workers
  • Have good, substantiated performance records
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Not require face-to-face interaction with customers or co-workers
  • Be able to remotely access any information necessary to the performance of their job

Creating New Policies

Once the critical attributes have been identified, the keys to success will be in effectively written, communicated, and implemented policies and procedures. Prior to writing policies, the team should evaluate internal metrics, determining how best to customize the program to fit the business. Reviewing attendance, performance, productivity and management satisfaction measurements will help set the program on a track to success.

In HR, responsibilities will include ensuring new policies are non-discriminatory, meet FLSA, payroll and tax requirements and, if necessary, are in compliance with collective bargaining agreements. Safety inspections and ensuring an ergonomically correct workstation may also be necessary. Notifying accounting of the proposed program will help ensure they properly evaluate the likely impact on business taxes. This will be especially important if employees are telecommuting from outside the state of the home office.

IT has a critical policy role, establishing connectivity criteria and determining access, ensuring confidentiality for company records at all times.

Start Small and Work Up

Once policies are drafted and employee/positions are identified, the next agenda item is developing and implementing a training program for managers and employees. Successful implementation depends on effective communication. Managers and employees will need plenty of time to digest the content. A pilot program should be employed as part of the implementation process. By expecting problems, providing support and encouraging managers and employees to work through solutions, the team can evaluate and implement resolutions before widespread implementation.

Once comfortable with pilot study results, the good news should be shared throughout the company. Non-telecommuters and employees in identified positions will want to know the benefits of the telecommuting program. An effective communications campaign will help seal the success of the program.

Work-at-home, Telework, Telecommuting, whatever an organization chooses to call it, is here to stay. Get prepared and step into the new workplace.

1. Brittany Mailing, “Telecommuting Guidelines,” HR World, May 2008. http://www.hrworld.com/features/telecommuting-guidelines/

Contributed by:

Osborne Communications

Posted in Human Resources | Comments Off on Strategies for Implementing a Work-From-Home Program

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