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The Telework Partnership with Employers - The Myths

 

COMMON MYTHS ABOUT TELEWORKING

MYTH #1: I won't know they're working at home.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Supervisors discover they are better able to monitor the work by shifting the focus from how much work the employee looks like he or she is accomplishing to how much he actually is accomplishing. By focusing on the work product instead of the work activity, many supervisors find they are better able to communicate clear expectations to their employees. When supervisors and teleworkers agree on job expectations, it often leads to increases in employee productivity and job satisfaction. Many supervisors already use this method of management by results.

MYTH #2: Teleworkers must have a computer to work from home.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Teleworking is not synonymous with tele-computing. You may only require a telephone to work from home on a part-time basis. Many employees collect tasks to do at home during the week that do not require special equipment. Many employees find the opportunity to telework is so worthwhile they choose to use their personal equipment when equipment is not available from their offices. Many agencies provide laptops for employees to sign out and take home. A computer is not required to telework.

MYTH #3: I won't get promoted if I telework.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Actually, current research suggests teleworkers are more likely to be promoted than their non-teleworking coworkers according to a study mentioned in the Advanced Management Journal, Summer '92. The reason for this may be that teleworkers tend to be selected by management because they work well independently and can be trusted to perform well remote from the office environment.

MYTH #4: Teleworkers must work at home five days a week.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Teleworking allows selected employees to work at home, or an office location closer to home, one or more days a week. Jobs are really just a collection of tasks. Some tasks must be done at the office. Tasks which may be done away from the office are called teleworkable tasks. The amount of teleworking an employee may do, depends on how many teleworkable tasks they have each week and whether the equipment required to accomplish those tasks is available. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to have a computer to telework. Many tasks, such as reading, thinking, planning or making phone calls, do not require computers and may be saved for a teleworking day.

MYTH #5: Teleworkers are not available when you need them.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Teleworkers work with their supervisors during training to create an individual agreement where responsibilities are restructured to maintain work group integrity and plan how they will maintain communication with the office and what will be done to meet contingencies. If the teleworker is needed, he or she may be asked to come in to the office or join an emergency staff meeting by conference call.

MYTH #6: Equipment will be expensive.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Many employees find the opportunity to telework is so worthwhile they choose to use their personal equipment when equipment is not available from their offices. Many agencies have computers that people can take home. Again, we are not saying a computer is required to telework. You may only require a telephone.

MYTH #7: Teleworkers cause more work for supervisors.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
One of the extra benefits of flexible work options is that it forces management by task and objective. Many managers have found that the increase in quality communication with employees has reduced their overall workload over time. Reduced interaction with coworkers also forces communications to be more direct and business-like.

MYTH #8: Teleworkers cause more work for coworkers.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Before teleworking, supervisors and teleworkers go through several training exercises to help them determine how they will manage their normal office duties without burdening coworkers.

MYTH #9: Our type of jobs aren't compatible to teleworking.

WHAT EXPERIENCE HAS TO SAY:
Research does not verify that complete businesses or categories of jobs are incompatible with teleworking. Jobs are really just a collection of tasks. Some tasks must be done at the office. Tasks which may be done away from the office are called teleworkable tasks. The amount of teleworking an employee may do, depends on how many teleworkable tasks they have each week and whether the equipment required to accomplish those tasks is available. Teleworking is an individual arrangement where responsibilities are restructured to maintain work group integrity. Those arrangements are created by confronting the concerns and working out solutions.

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