Dear Matt: I’m a manager at a company with staff who work in the office full-time and some who work from home on occasion and full-time. How can I stop any resentment from those who are stuck in the office?
Matt says: It’s important for companies to have a telework policy that describes telework as a workplace strategy that may not be available for all jobs and individuals, says Melissa Madison, Executive Director of Commuter Services, an outreach arm of the I-494 Corridor Commission (494corridor.org), whose mission is to mitigate traffic congestion and air pollution along the I-494 corridor.
Typical eligibility criteria that need to be discussed, says Madison, include: The suitability of the job; the level of prior performance of the employee (meet or exceed expectations and not have issues with deadlines or abusing sick time); employee’s work habits, such as being organized and able to work independently; equipment needs and availability of a secure company-established network; manager’s ability to supervise remotely.
“Telework should not be discussed as a benefit, perk or privilege, rather a way of conducting the work when the above criteria can be met,” says Madison.
Kristin Thomas, Director of Employer Outreach for FlexJobs.com and Remote.co, agrees that a formal policy is a must. To lessen employee resentment, a company can offer options beyond a regular 9-to-5 schedule, such as flexible hours or compressed work weeks.
Employers and individuals who want to learn more about how to create a successful telework program in their organization can do so as part of Twin Cities Telework Week Nov. 16-20 (twincities.telework.com). During this campaign employers can receive free individualized consulting from top industry professionals who have consulted some of the largest employers in the Twin Cities and across the United States. Other resources include the downloadable “How to Get Your Boss to Say Yes to Telework” guide. The showcase event is the Employer Telework Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at the Mall of America 4th floor event center, suite 402. This free event provides a wealth of resources to employers interested in exploring a telework business strategy.
Meanwhile, managers leading a disconnected staff should hold regular meetings with all staff members to communicate and close the gap.
“One of the misconceptions your in-office staff may have is that the at-home people aren’t working as hard, which is a common, but incorrect, assumption about remote workers,” says Thomas. “Make it really easy for everyone to showcase their contributions to the team by focusing on results and having regular meetings where people talk about their progress and contributions.”
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