The Redback Team
5th January 2016
Teleworking – the hype, the benefits and how you can lead the change!
Be a part of the future
Today marks the final day of National Telework Week – a week where employees were encouraged to skip the dreaded trains and traffic and work from home.
We saw our very own Ms Gillard enlighten us all on the educational benefits of the program and the media played their part in showcasing the do’s and don’ts. With our ever changing and innovative environment learning towards a savvy combustion of online technology, it’s little wonder that workplaces are now encouraging the shift from the office to the couch.
With 4% of our nation currently holding the title of a teleworker*, bringing a national focus on teleworking encourages employers, employees and the community as a whole to take advantage of its benefits.
So what is all the hype about and how can you as an employer embrace the change and assist the bottom line?
The National Broadband Network promises that teleworking will achieve the following…
• Cut business costs
• Eliminate the daily commute
• Boost productivity
• Provide job satisfaction
• Create a better work-life balance
• Improve retention rates
Gillard’s plan is to have 12% of the Australia Public Service regularly working from home using high-speed broadband by 2020***. The NBN states that if 10% or more of Australians teleworked for up to 50% of the time, the economic benefit would reach up to between 1.4 – 1.9 billion dollars a year!**
The benefits are palpable… mums and dads can now save on the cost of day-care, those with disabilities don’t need to travel and no matter who you are, you can work at your own pace.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy claim that Teleworking also benefits those living in rural and remote areas. “With the roll out of the NBN ramping up, its affordable and reliable broadband means that telework will become an increasingly viable option for people living in regional Australia,” a spokesperson said.****
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
The other side of this shiny coin…
Employers will be given the hard task of monitoring the productiveness of those teleworking – isolation concerns and losing touch with the outside world is up there on the list, digital security is a problem and the perception of ‘slacking off’ is usually one shared by all.
While company executives believe that telework is a great idea, middle managers are found to be opposed to the thought of “managing people they can’t see” – Bevis England says, Director at Telework Australia. Technology, Media and Design industries are thought to favour the transition and adapt more easily.
Here are some tips on how you can lead the change…
Make the decision and get started – is your business ready to change and have you weighed up the pros and cons? To ensure a smooth implementation we recommend the following:
• Communicate the decision to all staff and highlight the benefits of the program
• Talk to those who will be taking part in the program and get their preferences on how they would like it to run
• Be open to recommendations and ideas on how the program will best work
• Choose wisely – not everyone is suitable…
Set clear expectations…
We all understand the concerns with leaving an employee out of sight. Setting guidelines from the beginning and implementing clear and concise agreements will prevent any dramas from occurring in the long run.
Identify specific deliverables and ensure you include time lines and details on how your employees will report their progress.
Support and Trust your employees
It’s important to give your employees the benefit of the doubt. Instead of worrying about what they could or might be doing, focus on the successes and communicate them to your entire organisation.
This will convey your trust and in turn result in excellent results.
Keep the face to face component alive and well!
Teleworking can sometimes get lonely – it’s ultimately up to you ensure that the culture of the organisation doesn’t suffer through a period of change.
Organise regular catch ups and quarterly meetings where you can bring your entire team to together.
Provide the adequate resources/technology
While connecting remote teams isn’t rocket science, it’s important to ensure you provide adequate resources for your teleworkers and the right tools for the right job.
Will instant messenger suffice or will you need to look into more sophisticated technologies such as web conferencing or videoconferencing? Research the desired equipment well and ensure thorough testing is completed.
Click here to read more on the benefits that teleworking can have on your business
Click here to see telework in action!
Why not check out this blog about the life of a teleworker! How I Telework – Angus Kidman
Until next time…