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As someone who telecommuted on a project in June/July, and as someone about to telecommute again for the winter...
There needs to be a formal process in place to address the following issues:
* Which positions are ideally suited to telecommute?
* Which people are ideally suited to telecommute?
* How will you measure progress of telecommuters? Time-wise? By project?
* What equipment is the employee responsible for providing?
* What equipment is the company responsible for providing?
* How will status updates be handled?
* How will dial-up access be handled?
Not everyone is suited to telecommute. Not every manager is secure enough to manage a telecommuter.
Here's what the company I work for came up with (still in draft format and subject to change)
The following is a draft outline (in point form) for this policy for your review and comment.
1. Structure of at-home work must be such that it can easily divided into units which can be reviewed, monitored and controlled remotely. This would include a fixed number of hours required to complete task(s) which are well defined. The duration of the project schedule can be reasonably estimated based on previous work history and experience.
2. Employees who request work-at-home consideration must have sufficient equipment at home to accommodate this request. This will include (at a minimum) phone; fax (as required);computer and peripherals required to perform the function; software required to perform the function; modem. The company will provide a toll free line for access to our systems.
6. Where employees are requested by the Company to work-at-home, equipment and support will be provided by the company where necessary
7. Employees who work-at-home must be available and accessible by phone during the core office hours of the department. In addition they must be available, with reasonable notice, to work in the office
8. The Company reserves the right to cancel work-at-home privileges without notice if performance is not as agreed.
9. The employee will submit, on a weekly basis, a timesheet documenting their hours worked to their direct supervisor if an employee is on hourly wages for payroll purposes. For non-hourly employees, project/task plans and monitoring completed by staff at home and at the office will provide information for analysis and comparison.
10. Criteria for consideration under this policy must include all of the following:
* Work does not involve moderate-to-significant personal interaction with other staff, that is the work is independent in nature. E-mail and phone interaction should not make any difference.
* All employees with a certain minimum experience with the company in similar positions are eligible for consideration under this policy. The employee needs to work in the office to get familiarized with the tools, structure, process, corporate culture etc.
* Work can be structured as outlined above
11. Employees working under the work-at-home policy are not eligible for overtime pay
12. With the exception of previously mentioned policies, all employee-related policies continue to apply throughout work-at-home status
13. The employee currently (over the last review period and/or last 6/12 months) demonstrates standard (or above standard) performance on the job and has no outstanding performance related issues
For the IT department, the following positions are eligible for consideration:
Technical Writer position meets the requirements to qualify for work-at-home.
Developers who are fully trained (at least 2 years with the company), do not supervise/guide other staff, are self sufficient and have the equipment would qualify.
Business analysis staff - Analysts need to interact with users and developers part of the time as part of their day to day support responsibility and new systems development needs. Could operate from home part time.
Technical services/support: - They need to be in the office for support purposes. They could work at home for special research projects on an as needed basis,
Help Desk: - More and more companies have their Help Desk employees doing support from home. One employee may need to be scheduled on site. Others on the shift could operate from home.
It's a start - I'm the guinea pig and looking forward to it!
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