Telework For Federal Government WorkersTrust, respect, and effective communication are three traits that are essential in a successful work relationship. Without them, confusion and mistrust are bound to arise. This is especially true when employers and employees enter into a telework situation. In order to be successful in such a venture, all parties must be on the same page.

With the emergence of digital technologies and the subsequent widespread use of and dependence on mobile devices, telecommuting is a realistic option for workers in a wide range of occupations. It is an attractive possibility for organizations seeking to reduce costs and for employees who are seeking to avoid daily commutes to work and have more flexibility in their work and personal lives.

With winter fast approaching, telework is a viable option to ensure continuity in times of unexpected storms and other outages. Lack of a robust continuity plan, however, can result in financial loss that may have a negative impact. Even a two-day disruption could be very costly to an organization.

Recent press regarding federal employee telework has not been very positive. The problems experienced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is every organization’s nightmare—allegedly misreporting time and attendance. Such allegations lead other organizations to second-guess their telework programs. However, accountability lies on the part of both employers and employees in order to make teleworking a success.

What can your organization do to ensure a successful telework program? Lisa Brown Morton, President and CEO of Nonprofit HR, gave the following advice in a recent Associations Now article:

What happened at USPTO was “more a function of management—there clearly were some cracks in the system that allowed for that to happen,” said Lisa. “At the end of the day, telework is a function of trust and results. We really emphasize with our clients the importance of being able to trust that employees are getting the work done. That trust is verified and evidenced by the work that an individual produces.”

Building trust starts at the top, she said. “The CEO or the executive director has to clearly articulate that he or she believes telecommuting can work. Once that green light is given, then it’s up to the human resources or operational staff to put policies and procedures in place to allow for it to happen.”

From there, the human resources or operations department must clearly define the expectations for an employee who teleworks.

“There has to be clear definitions and boundaries for who will telework and who will not and clear rules and understandings about provisions of supplies and equipment,” Morton said. “Organizations need to mitigate their risk by making sure that the workplace or the work environment that the teleworking employee has is safe and consistent with their tolerance for risk, just to make sure that they have a dedicated workspace, and that they’re not working from their bed.”

Beyond that, she said, it’s making sure that the employee is producing the desired results.

For more information regarding successful telework programs, read the full article:

Trust And Results: Key Functions Of A Good Telework Environment.

FOR IT MANAGERS: Keys to Federal Telework Success

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