Developing Training

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-02-07 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A recent academic study shows that in-office coworkers of telecommuters are less satisfied as the number of teleworkers within an organization increases. In response, Baseline has talked to the experts and gathered a strategy for better uniting remote and in-office workers together.


In addition to the agreement, training can also go a long way toward establishing expectations. Golden says that he has seen some of the best companies go so far as to develop training programs that include practice offices where workers can simulate working offsite before actually doing so.

But training shouldn’t just be reserved for the teleworkers. Stanley says that it is critical to also train management and coworkers on how to work effectively with the teleworker.

“You have to train everybody,” Stanley said. “You cannot just train a teleworker on how to be a good teleworker. You have to also train the manager and teach them how to manage by results and you have to train the coworkers how to communicate and work with teleworkers when they’re not in the office. If you leave them out, you're destined for problems.”

Keeping Lines of Communication Open

Because management and coworkers cannot simply pop into a teleworker’s office to chat about a problem, there needs to be a well-established line of communication to ensure that operations run smoothly.

“It needs to be made as seamless as possible for it to work successfully,” Stanley said.

When initially setting expectations, either verbally or through a telework agreement, the most important item to be explicit about is availability. Once the worker understands availability requirements it is up to them to ensure they can be contacted during the appropriate hours.

“No one expects everybody to be next to their phone all of the time,” Stanley said. “Even if you were in the office you are not going to be next to your phone all of the time. But you check your voicemails and you call back as soon as you possibly can.”

This should be an expectation made of not only the teleworker, but of management and coworkers as well. The managers who are most likely to fail with a telework experiment are ones who expect prompt replies from remote workers but who fail to offer the same courtesy when their teleworkers need to connect.



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