This webpage is reserved for the State of Arizona employees (non-university) in Maricopa County.

 

 

State of Arizona Telework Program

Office of Travel Reduction Programs

100 N. 15th Avenue, Suite 431

Phoenix, Arizona  85007

(602) 542-7433

 

Managing Teleworkers

You may feel uncomfortable if you’re not able to see your staff working. But, remember that observing individuals “working” at their desks doesn’t necessarily guarantee that they’re producing. It doesn’t enhance their work quality nor ensure that a project is finished on time. You see them on the telephone, but they could be talking to a friend. You see them at the computer, but they could be doing personal work. Even though a person is in the office, it doesn’t mean they are being productive because as we all know, there are many office interruptions that can get in the way of accomplishing work.

 

Selecting Teleworkers

Offering the opportunity to telework is a management option; teleworking is not a universal employee benefit. Supervisors may select those candidates who possess characteristics best suited for teleworking (see below) and both the duties of the position and the home environment are conducive to successful teleworking.

 

Employee Characteristics Best Suited for Teleworking Arrangements:

·         Can work productively on their own

·         Are self-motivated and flexible

·         Are knowledgeable about their job

·         Have a low need for social interaction

·         Are dependable and trustworthy

·         Have an above-average performance record

·         Are organized

·         Have good communication skills

 

Source: Society for Human Resource Management

 

This employee self-assessment is a tool designed to help you and your employees determine if telework would likely be a good work option. Employees interested in telework may complete a self-assessment and share their assessment with you.

 

If you agree that an employee is likely to be a successful teleworker, visit the Telework Computer Based Training (CBT) together and print out a copy of the Telework Training Workbook. Each workbook contains a copy of the State's Telework Policies and a blank Telework Agreement. The Telework Computer Based Training (CBT titled TRP 1000) will help both you and your employee quickly navigate the workbook, identify any unresolved concerns and decide together how those issues may be resolved. An official Telework Agreement stipulating the agreed upon terms and conditions for your employee teleworking can be generated when you are satisfied that telework is appropriate for both your employee and the duties of his or her position. Remember if it is not working out, either the supervisor or employee may cancel the agreement without notice.

 

If you disagree with an interested employee on specific criteria in his or her self-assessment, consider working with the candidate for improvement. Our research reveals that employees are willing to work for the opportunity to work at home. Telework can be very powerful management tool.

 

Telework offers many benefits for the State, the employee and the community, but telework will require a shift of focus from whether an employee looks busy, to how much work an employee actually is accomplishing.

 

Strategies for Managing Teleworkers:

 

Managing Work

For many managers, overseeing teleworkers is not very different from overseeing people who travel or have field assignments. These managers may already have systems in place to maintain communication with and to monitor work progress of employees away from the central office. But, for managers who are accustomed to having each staff member present in the central office, telework may require some new approaches to management and communication. Management by results, rather than management by visual observation, works best with teleworkers.

 

What DOES enhance your staff’s performance is a combination of clearly defined instructions and performance criteria, interim checkpoints, and regular feedback. These supervisory techniques focus on the results of a person’s work rather than on the process. When you manage by results, you know teleworkers are working because you are watching what they accomplish regardless of their work location.

 

Assessing Job Responsibilities and Tasks

Every job is made up of a collection of responsibilities and associated tasks. Working at an alternate site may be better suited for some tasks than for others. For instance, teleworkers whose jobs include using a drafting board may need to do all their drafting on days they’re in the central office. However, these same individuals may find that writing, analysis, and research tasks are ideally suited to the quieter, less distracting environment of the alternate site. Some teleworkers identify certain tasks that they set aside specifically for their telework days.

 

Measuring Performance

No matter where your staff works, the two of you must have a mutual and comprehensive understanding of what constitutes successful performance of their job. A major requirement for successful telework is the establishment of performance criteria used to measure job performance. If you are fortunate enough to have well-established criteria for each staff, use this section to test the applicability of those criteria to a telework arrangement.

 

Management by Results

For some supervisors, their biggest concern with telework is, “How will I know my teleworkers are productive?” The best way to answer this question is to ask yourself, “How do I know they’re productive now?” For many jobs, productivity can’t be completely quantified. Rather, it’s necessary to use subjective assessments of quality, along with the more objective measures of timeliness, quantity, and cost to judge productivity. These criteria are the same for judging the productivity of any employee – regardless of whether they telework or not.

 

Management by results is an approach to measure job performance by focusing on results (outcomes and deliverables). Many organizations that offer telework support management by results because it is a tool managers can use to fairly evaluate employees whether or not they in fact observe work performance. Management by results follows these steps:

 

R is for Review: Review current job tasks and responsibilities. Together with your employee discuss and establish these tasks and responsibilities.

 

E is for Establish: Establish measurable outcomes and deliverables.

 

S is for Specify: Specify who receives or monitors the outcomes and deliverables, and when interim checkpoints and due dates will occur.

 

U is for Use: Use language that avoids subjectivity, vagueness and interpretation. Be clear and specific to avoid misunderstanding about what is required.

 

L is for Link: Link outcomes and deliverables to organizational goals. It is important that we understand the importance of our work functions in relationship to the organization’s goals, mission, products and services.

 

T is for Track: Track performance results. How do you currently track performance? Do you use performance appraisal forms and/or monthly reports? Tracking results allows you to compare from review period to review period how your employees are doing.

 

S is for Schedule: Schedule ongoing evaluation and revise as necessary. This applies to both ongoing, formal evaluation of your job performance and the Management by Results process. Make changes to each of these as appropriate.

 

Setting Work Schedules

Employees should plan telework days to make sure there is enough work to do, they have the necessary equipment and materials to do the work, and their work schedule meets organization and personal needs.

 

Each job is a collection of tasks. Some tasks require face-to-face contact, restricted information or resources found only in the office. Some tasks would require a computer to complete. If the employee does not have a personal computer when teleworking, does the agency have laptop computer to check out?

 

Your employee can use this table to identify those tasks that can be done each week while teleworking, and determine how many days per week they could telework.

 

Tasks

Hours /Week

 

Tasks

Hours /Week

Analysis

______

 

Maintaining data bases

______

Auditing reports

______

 

Preparing budgets

______

Batch works

______

 

Preparing/monitoring contracts

______

Calculating

______

 

Project management

______

Computer Programming

______

 

Reading

______

Conducting business by phone

______

 

Record keeping

______

Data entry

______

 

Research

______

Design work

______

 

Email

______

Dictating/sending/receiving

______

 

Spreadsheet analysis

______

Drafting

______

 

Thinking

______

Editing

______

 

Typing

______

Evaluations

______

 

Work Processing

______

Graphics

______

 

Writing

______

 

Total Number of Teleworkable Hours per Week ______

Number of Teleworking Days per Week ______

 

Schedule

Now that the amount of time has been identified for teleworkable tasks, a schedule must be set. One of the benefits of telework is that it allows the employee to get their work done while offering some flexibility in their work schedule. Ideally, a teleworker will be available to his or her clients, co-workers and supervisor, and still have flexibility.

 

In selecting an employee's telework days, consider not only regularly scheduled weekly meetings and commitments within your organization, but also monthly obligations and commitments outside his/her work. One question to consider is: if your teleworker must come into the office on a scheduled teleworking day, can another day be substituted?

 

Flexibility

In some instances, your organization's telework policy could provide options in setting the employee's work schedule. The employee may want to work regular office hours. He or she may want to start earlier or later, and work their full day. Or, he or she may want to work "core hours,” a block of four hours during the day when they are accessible by phone, and leave some flexibility for scheduling the rest of the work day.

 

Planning For Success

The employee will need to plan ahead for taking home files and materials for teleworking days. The following are some ways employees will be successful at teleworking.

 

·           As he or she goes through the week, make a "to do" list of appropriate tasks for telework days.

·           The prior afternoon, make a "to take" list so he or she has everything needed.

·           Designate one place (e.g., a box; a spot on their desk) to set aside all the materials needed for telework days.

 

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