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Right now some of you are thinking "Whose bright idea was it to offer telework to employees?" You may have doubts about how well this will work. You are probably thinking your job just got a lot tougher. Well, before you jump out a window, take the time to read why the world of work as you know it just changed and why that might not be such a bad thing.

Why your organization is offering telework: Telework offers a number of potential benefits for an organization. Better employee retention, enhanced recruitment, compliance with commute trip reduction goals and reduced carbon emissions, to name a few. Some organizations want a cadre of employees who can work from home in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Some organizations realize that the world of work has changed and want to ensure employees know current technologies and the organization is able to capitalize on these advantages.

For your organization, the important reasons are embodied in their telework goals. If no one has communicated these goals to you, you should ask. It is important for you to know how important telework is to the organization and what they hope to achieve through this commitment.

Why some employees want to telework: There are lots of reasons why employees may want to telework; like saving money, saving time, reducing stress, and being able to work on projects that require concentration without the usual office distractions. The toolkit lists more Benefits for Employees.

The most significant benefit for most employees is the improved "work/life balance". Doing a good job of managing both home life and work can be difficult. Both tasks can be demanding, particularly for those with children. Longer hours and longer commutes in recent years have only made the situation worse. In the past, the only option, if one wanted to keep working, was to just deal with it. But today, telework and flexwork arrangements can ease some of the stress. Employees place high value on have greater flexibility and having a little more time at home each week. Many of those that telework are extremely motivated to preserve this benefit, and extremely loyal to employers that provide it and managers that allow it. You know better than anyone the value of motivated employees.

Why managers should welcome telework: Technology changes how we work. It always has. There was a time, not too many years ago, when office workers wrote in long hand or dictated, and secretaries typed everything. Large organizations had rooms full of typists. Desktop computers changed that. Those that didn't know how to type had to learn. Email has changed how we correspond. Cell phones have eliminated the need to be in a specific place to make or receive a call. These changes, and others, have made "workplace" mean something totally different. Today, the workplace can be anywhere. It can even follow you wherever you go.

Just like the workers that had to learn to type, you can learn to use new tools and techniques to manage workers. Many managers have discovered that the techniques they adopt for teleworkers are so effective that they use them for all workers, even those that never telework. And, with your new management skills and new technology skills, you will increase your value to the organization and in the job market. "Accomplished Telework Manager" looks good on the resume. Those are good reasons to welcome the move to telework.

Peter Drucker, the famous management guru said that "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Your organization's leaders have decided that telework is right for the organization. As a manager, you have the chance to see that it is done right.

In the Toolkit

Benefits for Organizations

Q&A for Organizations

Benefits for Employees


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This page was last updated on May 9, 2009