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The Goals of Telework

Budget Savings

Telework is a positively contributing factor to the economic indicator of an increasingly sustainable organization. In reducing the demand on both natural resources as well as economic resources, telework allows organizations and their employees to save money.

Organizations can also expect to save money on the following standard workspace expenses by increasing the number of teleworking employees:

  • Purchasing new toner and print cartridges;
  • Purchasing new printer paper;
  • Paying lighting, heat, air conditioning, and other energy utilities expenses; and
  • Subsidizing employees’ transit.

While organizational budget savings don't typically include personal savings to employees, teleworkers will likely save money on the following as a result of working in a mobile environment, particularly from home or localized teleworking centers:

  • Lunch and other food or drinks while at work
  • Gas for commuting by car to and from work

Real Estate

The most significant cost savings are in real estate. Once employees are out of the office three days or more per week on average, the possibility for desk-sharing emerges, and your agency or company can reduce the number of desks and meeting spaces needed, thereby reducing rent or other space payments.

Expectations of Teleworkers

An employee’s effectiveness and productivity are measured the same way in and out of the office. That is, as a teleworking employee, you're held to the same high standard while teleworking and out of sight of your manager. Telework doesn’t create inefficiencies, but rather exposes them.

During telework, make sure to …

  • Check in with your supervisor and co-workers. Email, instant messenger, phone – whatever tool works best for the team.
  • Use collaborative tools. Try using new software. Attend an online meeting, and use tools such as Google Documents for online and real-time document sharing.
  • Have a seamless transition. During telework, customers, vendors, and co-workers shouldn’t be able to tell you’re working from a remote location. Forward your office phone. Answer emails, instant messages online, and phone calls promptly.

After telework …

  • Socialize: Meet up with peers. Stay connected. Hold meeting in or out of the office for regular teleworkers.
  • Vocalize: Say what worked and what didn’t to the telework champion or supervisor.

Things to avoid while teleworking …

  • Staying silent: Out of sight, out of mind. Don’t just answer the phone and email. Move ahead on projects.
  • Being complacent: Don’t be complacent with your current toolkit. The more tools you learn, the better at telework you can be.
  • Giving up: Don’t give up when something goes wrong. Call the help desk number or contact a peer.

Comfort and Ergonomics: Taking Ownership of Your Space

Via The Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program, here are 10 ergonomic tips to help keep you healthy and productive at work.

  • Adjust your chair height and then adjust your work surface to accommodate you.
  • Sit directly in front of your monitor. Twisting your neck to view the monitor will result in neck pain.
  • Reduce stress to your body. Position work so that your elbows are down by your sides and your arms are bent at right angles.
  • Prevent extended reaches of your arm.  Items that you use more frequently should be placed close to you.
  • Don't extend your arm to use your mouse. The mouse should be next to your keyboard within forearm reach.
  • A footrest will not only support your feet; it also helps support your back.
  • Use a headset; avoid telephone cradles since they still force the neck to bend to the side and the shoulder to be raised.
  • Take mini breaks. Pause for 30 to 60 seconds to stretch; this will help relieve stress until you can take a longer break.
  • Avoid long periods of working in one position and repeating the same motions. Vary tasks to change body position.
  • Be cautious; the definition of the word "ergonomics" is not regulated by the government. Just because something is labeled "ergonomically designed" does not necessarily make it so.

References


Telework, mobile work, work from home, alternative officing, remote work