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For Managers

The Reasons for Telework

Tips for Telework Managers

Evaluating a Request

Denying a Request

Evaluating Teleworkers

Terminating an Agreement


If you turn down an employee's request to telework it should be for sound business reasons and those reasons should be well documented. Even an employee who meets all qualifications and would make an excellent teleworker may be denied if there are sound reasons for doing so. One reason organizations like to use an application for telework is that it provides a place to record the decision and the reason for the decision.

Employees who apply for telework need to understand that telework is neither an employee benefit nor a right. Telework approval is granted when the employee is right for the job and telework won't be detrimental to the organization. Here are some typical reasons why a telework requests are denied:

  • The employee has not been with the organization long enough to know the procedures or the people. You are concerned that if they telework they will have to frequently call you or others back at the office because they don't have the experience to make the right decisions on their own. In this case, give the employee an estimated time line for when they will be eligible.
  • You have determined through your experience with this employee, through their self-assessment, and/or from your discussions with them, that they lack the personal traits suited for telework. Share with them your concerns and reach an understanding about what they need to improve. Tell them to apply again when they feel improvement has been made.
  • If the employee is a mediocre performer, has had poor evaluations in the past, or misses a lot of work, chances are the behavior would continue or get worse as a teleworker. It is also possible that their poor performance is linked to a situation at home that would be resolved if they could telework. You should be able to make this determination from the reason they give for applying.
  • The employee's work requires constant face-to-face interaction or the use or maintenance of equipment, and that available technology will not enable them to do some of that work remotely. If the employee deals with secure information or materials on a daily basis it may be impossible for them to work remotely.
  • The employee doesn't have a suitable environment at home for teleworking. Inform the employee of what needs to change in order for you to approve their application.
  • Due to current staffing, the employee is needed for on-site coverage. In this case you should tell the employee when the option to telework might be available.

Make sure the reasons you give for denial are real and documented. Provide the employee with a copy of your reason for denial. Keep a record yourself, as the employee may reapply in the future when they feel the situation has changed. Your HR Department or telework coordinator may also require a copy. Many organizations track applications, approvals, denials, and reasons for denial. Your organization, or the employee's union, may also have a grievance procedure the employee can resort to if they feel the denial was unjustified.

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This page was last updated on May 9, 2009