Resources for Managing Teleworkers
Both the public and private sector workforces are on the brink of a powerful shift towards advanced and highly efficient mobile working. It is becoming common practice for group projects to involve staff members working in disparate locations. The way work is being conducted has changed, and GSA is at the beginning of understanding this shift as well. To have a better understanding of the changing workforce, the changes at GSA, and best telework practices, please review the documents below.
Managing Teleworkers: The Basics
Implementing telework in an efficient manner in your organization means following a judicious evaluation of the needs and constraints of the organization, as well as a clear delineation of roles. There are several basic components to effectively managing telework.
- Facilitate a teleworking protocols meeting with your team: Host a conversation to identify your organizational norms and protocols for teleworking to reach consensus on what “teleworking as a team” looks like for your work environment.
- Build a trusting environment: Use telework as an opportunity to foster trust between employees and management.Rigid monitoring of employees’ daily activities hinders productivity and creates and environment of distrust, while established and agreed upon metrics for productivity ensure long-term team success while teleworking.
- Monitor performance: Hold employees accountable for their work fairly and promptly. Telework does not create inefficiencies, but rather exposes them. Host check-in opportunities for mobile and in-office team members.
- Stay connected: Ensure all team members know the best and expected vehicles for communication. Commit with each other to an acceptable response period. Be just as responsive to direct reports and colleagues as you expect them to be.
- Be transparent: Use shared calendars, instant messenger, email out-of-office messages, desk signage, and other transparent communication vehicles to inform your team members of your work status.
- Manage by results, not by physical presence: Do not confuse worker activity with the results those activities produce. Establish a clear definition of objectives and performance indicators, and ensure close monitoring of those indicators along with ongoing training for teleworking employees.
- For even more information on the key steps for maximizing your teleworking employees’ efficiency, visit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Basics for Managers page.
- Telework 101 for Managers: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has developed a five-lesson course, Telework 101 for Managers, to guide managers in developing a telework program and effectively manage employees and their output in a mobile work environment.
Technology for Telework
Every government agency or private company will likely maintain its own suite of technological tools. Regardless of the specific tools available to your team, ensure that your mobile workplace has the following capabilities:
- Access to shared digital drives, databases, and regularly used computer programs from multiple locations or computers
- An instant messaging tool for quick, efficient online dialogue between colleagues
- Email capable of being accessed remotely, perhaps hosted “in the cloud”, on an external digital server
- Mobile phones, along with the ability to tether that device to a mobile laptop and connect to the Internet anywhere the phone has cellular service
- Creation and use of digital signatures in writing and PDF applications