Any organisational change comes with some risk- teleworking included. The common challenges and concerns for businesses include the practical day-to-day management of employees e.g. work place health and safety away from the office, productivity and effective communication. Other concerns may be related to the security of information; whether or not your IT infrastructure can support teleworking; and how IT support can be provided remotely.
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.