Home Site Map Search

 

Telework Resources
Guest Commentaries
About Fleming LTD
About David Fleming

December 1998

Commentary by Michael Dziak

 

Certifying Telework as a Viable, Professional, Workplace Alternative

 

When organizations began installing early mainframe computers, there were strong business reasons for the investment and promises of considerable business benefits. During those times, though, a healthy resistance existed since it demanded very different ways of operating the organization, and shifted critical responsibilities from humans to machines.

 

Of course, the Information Technology Manager didn’t switch all critical operations to the computer at once. Computing technology was methodically introduced with a business plan, dramatically changing information-intensive operations, being cautiously accepted by those directly affected.

 

Once mainframe computers became reliable and were proven in, an organization-wide confidence eventually set in, spurring widespread acceptance and commitment to its use. The organization became permanently "enculturated" with the mainframe computer, eventually becoming a critical, permanent element of the organizational operating structure.

 

For most organizations, teleworking has past the resistance stage and is being seriously explored as a viable workplace alternative. Executives are heard saying: "Prove to me that it works. Prove to me that teleworking is manageable, that I can actually measure program results without losing control of employees and operations."

 

Before the organization can accept teleworking as a true technology-based business application, certain foundational elements must be in place on which the program is built. Because of its permanent and often dramatic effects on fundamental organizational culture, teleworking must be deliberately, methodically and carefully introduced into the organization to assure success.

 

The Telework Certification™ Process is designed to provide the framework and methodology to an organization for installing proven telework framework and processes, reducing risk and assuring program success. In the Telework Certification™, programs are developed to meet specific design and reporting requirements, then, teleworkers and telemanagers earn a Telework Certificate™ assuring that these participants are properly prepared for successful remote work.

 

The required elements of Teleworking Program Certification include:
bullet

A clear set of program goals and objectives

bullet

A published program policy and procedures

bullet

Management commitment and funding

bullet

A pilot program to test the systems

bullet

A technology and support plan

bullet

Education, training and perception communications

bullet

Information gathering and mandatory reporting mechanisms

bullet

The establishment of a permanent program.

 

Once teleworking is accepted as a business practice, professional change agents may be brought in to maximize the investment. For the "enculturation" phase of teleworking to be successful, teleworking must become so routine as to become expected and commonly practiced. In the Advanced Telework Certification™ Process, the organization concentrates on a set of activities which fine-tune the Telework Strategy in such a way so as to assure the absolute maximum positive result of this process change application.

 

Telework Program CertificationObjectives

The primary reasons for the Telework Certification™ Process are to assure that:
bullet

Programs are established which meet recognized policy and procedure standards to assure success

bullet

Adequate return on investment (ROI) and reduction of risk is attained from teleworking activity

bullet

Teleworkers and telemanagers are properly selected and prepared for the teleworking experience

bullet

Adequate technology and related support are provided to assure successful remote work activity

bullet

Effective remote worker performance metrics are established

bullet

Teleworking becomes more widely accepted as a routine workplace alternative

bullet

Teleworking is elevated to the status of "professional activity"

bullet

Teleworking activity by the individual, the organization, the region and country are tracked, recorded and summarized.


Standard Telework Program Certification Requirements

Qualification Notes:"Shalls" must be done to qualify for Certification. "Shoulds" are highly recommended to enhance teleworking success opportunities.

 

Program Policy and Procedures

Certified programs shall have:
bullet

A Policy in place which defines: telework program mission, goals, objectives, participation qualifications, teleworking terms and conditions, limitations and training requirements

bullet

A set of Program Procedures which outline remote work options, safety and security guidelines and other elements which reduce "participant decision points"

bullet

A Pilot Program with clear management responsibility which tests the policy, procedures and communication systems

bullet

An Agreement to be signed by the teleworker which defines teleworking terms of engagement, teleworker and employer responsibilities/ limitations/ expectations, and the requirements set forth in the Policy and Procedures.

Certified programs should have:

bullet

A Policy which identifies costs to be borne by the organization, clarifies office inspections, security requirements, insurance coverage and delineates the extent, frequency and responsibility for technology support

bullet

A Procedure in place which establishes the framework for Teleworker Performance Metrics.

 

Management Commitment and Budget

Certified programs shall have:
bullet

Clear executive management support

bullet

Funding available to meet program financial requirements.

Certified programs should have:

bullet

High level support and open telework program acceptance

bullet

A thorough Business Case Analysis which shows investment requirements, payback and expansion expectations.

 

Information Gathering and Reporting

Certified programs shall:
bullet

Track and record teleworking activity and forward the results at least quarterly to the information gathering organization.

Certified programs should:

bullet

Periodically assess the effectiveness of teleworking through surveys and focus groups

bullet

Regularly report program status internally to employees and externally if appropriate.

 

Technology and Support Plan

Certified programs shall:
bullet

Clarify responsibility for equipment ownership and maintenance

bullet

Establish guidelines for security, dial-in access and support responsibilities.

Certified programs should:

bullet

Assess the communications needs of teleworkers

bullet

Provide equipment and network capacity designed to maximize remote work efficiency

bullet

Have a mechanism in place which tracks company-owned equipment

bullet

Specify remote work technology standards

bullet

Provide extended-hours technical support to maximize teleworker access, flexibility and productivity.

 

Education, Training and Perception

Certified programs shall:
bullet

Provide Certificated Training and Orientation for teleworkers and telemanagers

bullet

Publish the Policy and Procedures and make them available to all employees.

Certified programs should:

bullet

Provide orientation for non-teleworkers to maximize total employee acceptance and involvement

bullet

Identify and neutralize concerns and pockets of resistance through an Employee Attitudes Survey

bullet

Create a plan to establish a positive outside perception

bullet

Become a part of an internal Commuter Efficiency Program designed to reduce single occupancy vehicle commuting.

 

Establishing a Permanent Program

Certified programs shall have:
bullet

A plan for permanence, identifying expansion plans which meet corporate and program goals

bullet

Provide for the continuing Certification of new teleworkers and telemanagers.

Certified programs should have:

bullet

Periodic review processes which measure continuing return on investment (ROI)

bullet

Regular monitoring of program progress and changes in employee productivity

bullet

The mechanisms necessary to upgrade program standards and technology as needed.

 

Why Is Telework Certification™ Really So Important?

When electricity was first introduced at the turn of the last century, there was a great deal of unfounded fear and even some industry-induced resistance. The fear was of the unknown. Stories of children being killed must have discouraged responsible parents from allowing this "work of the devil" into their homes. Without industry standards, early appliances used one of perhaps a dozen different plug-in designs each requiring a unique receptacle. Once the public was educated on electrical safety and standards emerged for the today’s two- and three-prong plugs, the manufacture and use of safe electric devices skyrocketed.


Earlier this year, a Gartner Group executive predicted that "Half of all first-time remote access pilot programs will fail." The Telework Program Certification™ process simply establishes documented, proven, bare minimum standards and program structure to prevent failures. By following the guidelines, an organization develops a healthy telework philosophy, investing in critical elements, and assuring long term program success. Certification assures the education of the public on the reality of telework, and sets industry standards assuring rapid growth and acceptance.

 

As we transition into the Communication Age of the 21st Century, individuals and organizations are faced with a real paradox "Two seemingly conflicting impulses drive experience today," said Marion Salzman, Director of the Brand Futures Group at Young & Rubicam in a recent interview. "A focus on creating full, flexible, diverse lives, and a quest for simplicity and control in an ever-changing, increasingly complicated world." A properly developed and implemented telework program can become a catalyst for organizations making this critical transition. Those individuals fortunate enough to be employed by those organizations will reap the undeniable benefits.
 

For more information about the Telework Certification™ Process contact:


Michael Dziak, President

InteleWorks, Inc.
4168 Valley Brook Road, Suite 200
Snellville, GA 30039-4283
770.979.9459 FAX 770.979.8044

eedr45a@prodigy.com

©InteleWorks 1998

Back to Fleming LTD Home Page

This website is a public service of Fleming LTD Telework Consulting,

purveyors of custom telework solutions for business and government.

Entire contents © 1997 through 2008 Fleming LTD. All rights reserved.

Contents may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without prior permission.