Telework Proposal1

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Telework Proposal1

  1. 1. - Proposal for Telework Education Inclusion on the Texas Workforce Commission Website Jamie Spence ENGL 2311, Sec 70 Professor Shirley Roberts April 2, 2009
  2. 2. Spence 2 Table of Contents SOLUTION.......................................................................................................................3 OBJECTIVE......................................................................................................................3 BENEFITS........................................................................................................................4 Benefits to Employer....................................................................................................................................................4 Benefits to Environment...............................................................................................................................................5 Benefits to Employee....................................................................................................................................................6 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN...............................................................................................6 Methodology..................................................................................................................................................................6 Schedule.........................................................................................................................................................................7 Logistical Challenges....................................................................................................................................................7 RESOURCES...................................................................................................................8 CONCLUSION..................................................................................................................9
  3. 3. Spence 3 Current Situation Employers need employees who are productive and loyal. Many companies also place a high value on policies that are beneficial to the environment. Both objectives can be achieved to a large extent by offering telework options to employees. The trend toward providing this kind of employment has been growing steadily since the dawn of the Technological Age, but some employers are still hesitant to utilize this efficient and environmentally-responsible alternative. Solution Offering telework education on the Texas Workforce Commission website within the “Businesses and Employers” section would provide valuable information on this option to employers and encourage more companies to make telework positions available to staff. Objective The objective of this proposal is to define the advantages of telework for Texas employers and provide an implementation plan for inclusion on the Texas Workforce Commission website.
  4. 4. Spence 4 Benefits Benefits to Employer The advantages of telework to employers are many. In a poll of 10,000, teleworkers reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction than their non-teleworking counterparts (Coombes 4). This results in higher employee retention and lower turnover costs. In another study examining twenty years of telework research and over 12,000 subjects, teleworkers were given higher performance evaluations by their supervisors (Gajendran and Harrison 1528). There are fewer distractions in a home or remote office. Additional time for work is gained through the subtraction of time usually spent commuting to a place of employment, resulting in improved productivity. Telework also has the advantage of resulting in reduced absenteeism, as ill employees can often still work at home, and avoid transmitting illnesses to co-workers. Real estate and operating costs can be reduced when housing fewer employees. The potential US employer annual savings through telework from reduced absenteeism, recruiting costs, and from increased productivity could be as high as $441 billion. International Telework Association, 1999 WorldatWork Survey Industry Canada reports productivity gains of up to 50% by teleworkers. The Canadian Telework Association
  5. 5. Spence 5 Survey: Multiple Benefits of Telework 70% 60% 50% 40% Series1 30% 20% 10% 0% Qualified Staff Environmental Safety Due to Employee Employee Materials and Improved Retention Highway Use Savings on Resources Health Reduced Benefits Office More [Table 1. Computer Technology Industry Association Survey: Two-thirds of companies surveyed indicated that telecommuting produced greater productivity, lower costs, and higher employee retention. Benefits to Environment Telework benefits the environment in multiple ways as well (Robbins 63). Fewer commuters on the road result in better air quality, less gas used, and less dependence on foreign oil. In Undressed4Success: The Naked Truth about Making Money at Home, authors Kate Lister and Tom Harnish calculate that “if telework increased to its full potential, Gulf oil imports could be reduced by as much as 80%.” The authors further assert that $43 billion dollars could be saved in gas and carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 107 million tons. Another community benefit to telework would
  6. 6. Spence 6 be fewer highways and office buildings being built, thus preserving our community green space and supporting air quality as well. Benefits to Employee In addition to profiting employers and helping protect the environment, telework benefits employees. Less money spent on gas for a commute translates into savings for the employee, as well as lower stress from avoiding wasting time in traffic. More time spent working often means greater productivity and better quality work, thus allowing the employee to advance in his or her career. An additional morale boost is the implied respect given to teleworking staff; management trusts the employee to be working even if they are not visible to them at that moment (Coombes 4). There is also a quality of life benefit in that telework supports greater work-life balance. Employees with a sick child or aging parent are able to address those responsibilities while still being dependable employees. Telework allows employees to focus on and produce results in a more flexible way that also allows them more time with their families. Implementation Plan Methodology Many managers are resistant to the idea of telework because they fear that without supervision, their staff will not perform. Data from numerous studies exposes this perception as false; teleworkers are actually more productive than their office counterparts (Gomes 1). Education for upper and middle management is essential for encouraging a positive response to adopting telework as a type of employment. A positive attitude toward telework requires that a manager
  7. 7. Spence 7 focus on performance and results rather than presence in an office. Supervisors can manage effectively at a distance using good communication skills, establishing clear goals, and adopting procedures that apply directly to a teleworking team. Schedule For many companies, making the move to telework may involve overcoming management unease It is a good idea to begin with a blend of telework and office time; one or two days working at home with three or four days in the office would be a wise start. It allows for needed “face time” with management, meetings, and encourages good social and working relationships between staff members. After relationships have become established, the next step in a telework process is a pilot program with a group of employees who begin to telework the majority or entirety of the week. A pilot program is an ideal method for determining any weaknesses in policy and procedure that need to be corrected. After corrections have been made, the program is ready to be launched full-scale for as many employees as the company deems beneficial. The company then begins to save money on real estate and operating costs, reduces its carbon footprint on the environment, and productivity increases substantially. Logistical Challenges Teleworking staff do not require more investment than office staff. The basic equipment needed in an office is the same equipment needed in a home office. In many cases, some of the employee’s own personal equipment (such as a telephone, printer, etc.) may be utilized without investment by the company, and the employer simply pays for toner, paper, or other such supplies. Investing only in the technology needed for the position requirements will maximize savings in office real estate and operating costs. Security measures can be taken to protect sensitive
  8. 8. Spence 8 information. A guide regarding security is provided by the Telework.gov website listed in the Resource section below. Resources There are many websites devoted to the support of telework as the employment type of choice for today. The Telework Coalition (TelCoa) promotes the concept, “Work is something you do, not someplace you go.” TelCoa provides a wealth of information regarding telework, technology, company information, and much more on their website, www.telcoa.org. The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has a webpage devoted to teleworking, http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/telework.html, which encourages the adoption of telework for any position deemed reasonable, but with particular emphasis on persons with disabilities, who may be able to work quite well within the home environment but due to various challenges, might have a difficult time commuting to a place of employment and working there. Telework.gov is the federal interagency website maintained by the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration to support its telework force. Many of its features, including a telework guide, security guide, emergency procedures guide, and policies, are accessible to the public and are very helpful in launching a telework initiative.
  9. 9. Spence 9 Conclusion Texas employers need to understand the benefits of offering telework to their employees. In today’s troubled economy and damaged environment, companies need to profit and the environment needs protection. Individuals need greater work-life balance to navigate the challenges of modern-day life. Telework is a responsible solution to address these needs.
  10. 10. Spence 10 Works Cited Coombes, Andrea. “Seeking Loyal, Devoted Workers? Let Them Stay Home.” Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y.] 11 Sept. 2007, Eastern Edition: B.4. Proquest. Collin County Community College Library, Frisco, TX. 23 Mar. 2009. Gajendran, Ravi S. and David A. Harrison. “The Good, the Bad, and the Unknown About Telecommuting: Meta-Analysis of Psychological Mediators and Individual Consequences.” Pennsylvania State University; Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 92, No. 6. Gomes, Lee. “Business Technology -- Talking Tech: Paradoxes Abound In Telecommuting.” Wall Street Journal [New York, N.Y.] 23 Jan. 2007, Eastern Edition: B.3. Wall Street Journal. Proquest. Collin County Community College Library, Frisco, TX. 23 Mar. 2009. quot;New Survey: Multiple Benefits From Telework.quot; Work-Life Newsbrief & Trend Report (Nov. 2008): 2-2. Business Source Complete. Ebsco. Collin County Community College Library, Frisco, TX. . 21 Mar. 2009. Robbins, Mclean. quot;Environmental Benefits.quot; Employee Benefit News 22.8 (15 June 2008): 62-64. Business Source Complete. Ebsco. Collin County Community College Library, Frisco, TX. . 21 Mar. 2009. quot;Worldatwork Survey: 33.7 Million Telework.quot; Work-Life Newsbrief & Trend Report (Mar. 2009): 4-4. Business Source Complete. Ebsco. Collin County Community College Library, Frisco, TX. 19 Mar. 2009.

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