Clearly the verdict is still out with regard to the validity of work-from-home arrangements.
Despite the fact that mobile devices and the current wireless networking technology have enabled people to work from most anywhere, and have freed people from the restriction to be in “the” office to do business, the idea of telecommuting still raises skepticism from many executives.
A furor erupted over Marissa Mayer’s decision to ban telecommuting for Yahoo! employees. Even though she acknowledged that “people are more productive when they’re alone,” her rationale was that face-to-face collaboration brings forth greater ideas and faster resolution to complex problems. According to Mayer, people are “more collaborative and innovative when they’re together.”
On one side of the argument, managers believe that team members can only do their best work when on-site. Some have told me that this builds the kind of camaraderie and team work necessary for their operations to succeed. Impromptu discussions arise when people are in physical proximity to one another. Others fear a loss of employee productivity if employees are permitted to work from home or other remote locations.
Every organization has a unique balance of concerns when it comes to telecommuting and telework arrangements. But If you want to consider allowing employees to work remotely, here are a few important considerations:
Who will be eligible?
- Will only full-time employees be allowed to telework or will the option be open to full and part-time employees?
- Will certain employees be eligible for temporary telework arrangements under certain circumstances (e.g., during convalescence from an illness or injury, or while a family member is recovering from an illness or injury, during pregnancy, or to complete a project that requires minimal interruptions)?
- Which certain jobs lend themselves to teleworking?
- What level of overall job performance will be required?
- What length of employment will be required as a pre-condition?
- How frequently will the arrangement be reviewed?
- During what core hours must the employee be available (e.g., for telephone or conference calls)?
- How will time sheets reflect time worked?
- Will you require that a designated space in the home be designated for the organization’s work?
- How will you ensure that the work space provides the safety and security of the organization’s information, equipment and supplies?
- Will the workspace be available for inspection by the employer and/or OSHA?
Confidentiality and Security
- How will proprietary and member information be secured?
Equipment and Software
- What types of equipment will be provided by the organization?
- What types of equipment and supplies will be provided by the individual?
- If individual-owned equipment or software is to be used, what will the organization reimburse?
- Who will be responsible for maintenance and repair of personally-owned equipment that is used for the organization’s purposes?
- How will personally-owned equipment be configured to meet the organization’s security requirements?
- Who will be responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur in the secondary work space during scheduled work hours while the employee is performing work tasks?
- What coverage is provided by your current insurance policy?
- What will be the process for terminating the telework agreement?
For a sample Telework Policy, complete with a Telework Agreement form, click here.