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For Organizations

Intent of Telework

Management Concerns

Building a Telework Program

Define Management Support

Assemble a Program Team

Determine Program Goals

Employee & Work Suitability

Workplace & Legal Issues

Policies & Forms

Equipment Decisions


Manager Participation

Telework Coordinator

Program Communication

Program Promotion

Manager Evaluations


One of the most critical elements in the success of a telework program is the participation of managers. The organization needs to do everything it can to ensure that managers are committed to the program and feel they have a stake in the programs success:

  • Don't present telework to managers as fait accompli. Get them involved early in making decisions about the telework policy.
  • Be sure managers understand the organization's reasons for initiating telework and the program's goals.
  • Schedule a roundtable discussion or luncheon where managers can discuss their concerns about telework. It could be beneficial to repeat this periodically so managers have the opportunity to share their experiences, the problems they've encountered, and solutions they've discovered.
  • Put a support system in place for managers. Managers should receive some type of training, or at least should participate in the same training that teleworkers receive. If new technology is going to be used by teleworkers, make sure managers are trained to use it.
  • There is a very real temptation to micro-manage the program and the personnel. This can produce a lot of unnecessary work for everyone, and worse, cause unnecessary resentment from employees and managers alike. Employees and managers should be treated like responsible professionals, not truant teenagers. Don't institute rules when guidelines will suffice and allow managers some flexibility to make the program function best in their department and for their employees.
  • Managers need to understand that there are alternatives to "management by sight". Many managers worry that they won't be able to manager employees that they can't see. Provide managers with alternative ways to communicate with employees, such as Instant Messaging, or webcams. Explore these alternatives with managers and employees and provide the equipment and training to make sure everyone can use the new tools.
  • Managers and employees both need to understand that working at home is still 'working', and the home office is still 'the office'. Some managers feel they are intruding when calling employees at home.
  • Upper management may suffer from the same misconceptions as line managers; specifically, that what they can't see isn't happening. When they see a room half empty, they may feel that the manager doesn't have enough to do. Executives need to realize that managing remote workers is as much work, if not more, than managing in-office workers.
  • Trust is important. Managers need to trust their employees to do their jobs. Managers will know soon enough which employees deserve that trust. Established teleworkers report that being trusted by their manager and their employer is one of the benefits of telework and one of the reasons they don't consider looking for work elsewhere. If Management provides it's managers with the appropriate training, guidelines, and environment for telework, then it needs to trust managers to administer the program within their departments.

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This page was last updated on May 23, 2009