FACTORS IN PREPARING TELELOCATIONS
A Telelocation is a hybrid of work and
home. Organisations and individuals need to be very careful about any
assumptions each is making around this very sensitive area. The English have
long had a saying " An Englishman's home is his castle ", and
traditionally we have tended to maintain a clear separation between work and
home life. Teleworking challenges all those positions
- Equipment. The work station, communication devices, connections, storage
solutions, ancillary devices ( fax, photocopiers etc) all have to fit.
Ergonomics is a serious issue, for worker and organisation. They have to
be compatible with existing connections etc. Will there be any room for
individualisation, customisation ? What are the special needs of disabled
- Environment. Is the environment appropriate; enough light,
space, plugs, etc or will alterations be necessary ? Who will pay ? Is the
owner/tenant free to engage in commercial activity ? Are there
restrictions in mortgage terms ?
- Health & Safety. Health and safety issues will be very important,
and yet can be easily overlooked, or fudges can be contrived. Lighting,
electrical safety, Repetitive Strain Injury, risks to pregnant women and
other factors must be considered and recorded to satisfy legislation. A
separate Risk Assessment is required for each premise.
The equipment needs to be secured, internally from accidental and
non-accidental injury, and also externally from theft and damage. The
system also needs to be secured from unauthorised or malicious access. Integrity
of data storage, retrieval and transfer must be assured.
- Insurance. Teleworkers need to be covered for the increased risk. Even if
the organisation is covering risks to the equipment, the householder's
domestic policy may be invalidated by the change.
Systematic and thorough preparation,
undertaken far enough in advance of implementation, should ensure that
Telelocations are as suitable and safe as other working environments. What is
clear from the evidence to date is that many ad hoc schemes risk future fall
out due to a failure to deal positively with some of the more difficult issues.
Last Updated on 11 December 2002 by COLIN TIERNEY