Getting Started

Consider the potential telecommuter - Telecommuting does not suit everyone. Employees with the following characteristics generally make effective telecommuters:

  • Self-motivated
  • Satisfactory performance
  • History of dependability
  • Functions effectively independent of direct supervision
  • Can deal with isolation
  • Organized with good time management skills
  • Has an adequate level of job skills and knowledge
  • Proven good work habits
  • Is enthusiastic about the potential telecommuting arrangement

Consider the supervisor – Telecommuting does not work with every management style.  Supervisors with the following characteristics may feel more comfortable supervising in a telecommuting situation:

  • Open to alternative and creative ways of getting work done
  • A strong communicator, able to coach and lead from a distance when necessary
  • Sensitive to the needs of the telecommuter and their co-workers
  • Willing to learn and adjust their management style if necessary
  • Fosters work relationships built on mutual trust
  • Willing to take steps to maintain group cohesiveness
  • Willing to self-critique
  • Willing to honestly consider a telecommuting arrangement
  • Willing to provide honest, clear feedback to their employees

Consider the impact on the rest of the team – The supervisor should always seek input from other employees in the unit since any type of flexible work arrangement for one individual will impact all team members.

  • Know the limits of telecommuting in your operation
  • Be prepared to explain why telecommuting may work for some individuals or positions and not others
  • Know what motivates and discourages your team members
  • Would a telecommuting arrangement impact other schedules or create overtime considerations?
  • Do your team members support the telecommuting arrangement?  If not, what can be done to earn their support?
  • Will the telecommuting arrangement help, hurt or have no impact on work relationships and outcomes?

Consider the work – Some positions and/or duties do not lend themselves to being done in alternate work locations.

  • Are there tasks that can or should be done without interruption?
  • Are there tasks that do not require face-to-face input or information from others?
  • Can the technology needs of the position be met at the alternate worksite?
  • Will social/team interactions suffer?
  • Will the work suffer if there are delays in information sharing?