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