FACTORS IN PREPARING TELEWORKERS
We have dealt with training of the
Teleworkers in the earlier Step - TRAIN PERSONNEL , this stage refers to the psychological preparation for
them and their families
Teleworking bestows certain benefits on
those engaged in it ; less travel, more control over work times and schedules,
convenience and so on. It can also bring problems. Organisations have a
responsibility, possibly even of a statutory nature, to prepare staff for them
and to assist in minimising them.
- Social Isolation. Although
most studies have shown that fears of social isolation of Teleworkers were
initially overstated, it can still be a very real problem for the
individual worker. Companionship of the workplace may be an unidentified
motivator for some people, and they may miss that contact
disproportionately. Organisations can reduce these problems by encouraging
progressive networking, frequent personal contacts and in effective
selection and induction procedures.
- Organisational Isolation. The " out of sight, out of mind "
syndrome, in which the delocated worker may fear, and actually be,
sidelined in relation to their traditionally working analogs. Good
management practice, especially concerning communications, vacancy
notification and access to development and training, should minimise this
issue. The Teleworker has opted to work differently within the organisation, not to opt out of it.
- Work Management. Given the self organisation needed to work away
from the workbase, and the distractions available at home, it would be
surprising if Teleworkers did not sometimes have problems with managing
their work flows and priorities. Once again selection and training
processes should be designed to reduce these problems, by screening for
self-directing personalities, and by developing the competencies. Targets,
monitoring and feedback processes should be participative and responsive.
- Domestic Interference. As part of the selection process, volunteers
should be screened out if there are clear domestic reasons why Teleworking
would not be suitable for that person at that time. Once into Teleworking
arrangements, normal Personnel practice should evolve so that Teleworkers
are treated no less sympathetically than their analogs. All successful
schemes that I have studied have been based on an agreement that the
Teleworker could suspend the activity and return to the workbase if they
wished. The organisation, of course, has a similar right to terminate the
The particular nature of Teleworking
means that to an unusual extent, the domestic and social dimension of the
worker becomes an issue. The balancing benefit to this is that the worker, as
volunteer, has usually proved to be motivated to make the arrangements work
despite some additional difficulties.
Last Updated on 11 December2002 by COLIN TIERNEY