For employers, the benefits can include:
- Reductions in operational costs
- Increased productivity
- Increased levels of innovation
- Improved recruitment and retention outcomes
- Reduction in absenteeism
For employees, the benefits can include:
- Increased job satisfaction
- Improved work life balance
- Financial savings
- Reduction in stress cause by commuting
- Reduction in the need to relocate in order to find work
General benefits to the community can include:
- Increased workforce participation i.e. decrease in unemployment rates
- Reductions in green house gas emissions, traffic congestion and fuel consumption
Employers are encouraged to explore the opportunities presented by telework practices by giving teleworking a go or through trialling a pilot programme within their business.
Productivity levels can be greatly improved due to the minimisation in distractions with a quieter work environment, more efficient meetings and less time commuting.
A broader employment pool
Because of the flexibility telework offers in terms of employees being able to work at a place other than the office, employees can be recruited from a much broader geographic and demographic area than previously available.
Savings on operational costs
From an operational perspective, having fewer staff in the office can result in savings in utilities, property and fit out, parking, security and other associated costs. You may even be able to eventually relocate to smaller premises, or a lower cost location.
Consider the types of roles in your business that may be suitable for teleworking and establish sound policies and procedures to ensure you and your employees get the most out of the arrangement.
It is also important to identify the initial investment needed in your IT infrastructure and support. A lack of effective IT and communication systems to support employees working remotely will hinder the success of your teleworking program and ultimately, your return on investment.
POLICIES AND GUIDELINES
A formal agreement between employers and employees needs to be developed, allowing for work away from the office with agreed parameters, expectations and outcomes.You will need to have a clearly defined telework policy in place so that all parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities. Things included may be information about the physical items and IT support provided; performance expectations and monitoring; communication protocols; work health and safety issues etc. It is also important that your telework policy includes the steps your employees need to take to request and move into a telework arrangement.
TYPES OF TELEWORKING ROLES
Your telework policy may also include information about the types of roles in your organistaion that can practically be supported by telework. Not all roles are suitable and not all employees have the characteristics suited to teleworking.
TRY A PILOT PROGRAM
Many businesses start with a trial program to identify and overcome challenges, to see what works and what doesn’t. A pilot may include 10-100 employees in a large organisation, or 2-3 in a smaller one and a period of three to six months would allow sufficient time for all parties to adjust to the new ways of working and assess the benefits.
However, these should not be considered a barrier to starting telework as these are all concerns that can be managed through ongoing risk management practices.
Traditional management styles are more challenging with telework, so you may need to consider adapting your business’s management and leadership guidelines to implement telework successfully.It may be useful to conduct specific telework training with managers and employees so both parties understand how performance and workload will be monitored; how communication between the teleworker, managers and others in the office is to occur; and how teleworkers can continue to access opportunities for training, development and advancement.
A feature of well-implemented telework is that it takes advantage of software and online tools that allows collaboration between staff, managers and teams. Technologies such as video-conferencing can be used to improve communication and workplace management issues. It can also be used very effectively to overcome concerns about managing teleworking employees.The National Broadband Network (NBN) will further improve the capacity and reliability of these technologies. The collaborative systems already used by some large urban-based firms will be available to all types of organisations across the country. Managers will be able to see the status of staff availability and the progress of their assigned tasks and projects using web-based management tools.
WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY
There are new harmonised work health and safety laws being introduced across the states and territories. The WHS legislation relevant to you depends on the location of your business or undertaking and the telework workplace. Check your relevant WHS regulator for details of legislation in your location.
IT AND SECURITY
Security is a key consideration when you put telework arrangements in place. Providing a work computer or device (rather than the teleworker using their own personal computer) may help to mitigate the risks, and will assist with remote IT support. Alternatively, emerging technologies can provide similar security benefits by imitating a work operating environment using virtualisation, allowing teleworkers to ‘bring their own devices’ (BYOD) without reducing security.Policies covering acceptable use of work computers and devices are an important component of telework policy. Restricting use to legitimate websites reduces exposure to security risks such as malware. This can be enforced through web/email filtering and monitoring. Telework policies should make clear that teleworker’s personal use of the internet should generally be separate from their work device or environment. IT managers should have input to the development of security protocols in your telework policy.
Highly Available internet connection utilising the adjacent Data Centres Multi-homed and Multipathed fibre connections.
Nexus Hub has Cisco Firewalls and separate VLANs for Wireless and Fixed Cable.
The network has been design for flexibility to accommodate the compliance requirements of different organizations. At additional cost, private VLANs, Firewalls or cabled connections can be arranged.