Teleworkers often report they are more productive and effective when telecommuting. Organizations also realize gains through improvements in productivity, cost-savings, business continuity preparedness and employee retention. Communities and families benefit through less traffic congestion, lower carbon emissions, and improved work-life balance.
However, there can be pitfalls on the road to successful telecommuting. Not everyone is prepared to telecommute in terms of motivation, ability or environment. We offer a variety of resources targeted to teleworkers, including the highly regarded book, "101 Tips for Telecommuters," a foundational resource providing an everything-you-need-to-know reference for teleworkers. Not all managers are comfortable managing telecommuters or leading virtual teams; an important resource for the growing population of those who lead teleworkers is "The Managing Telecommuters Coaching Kit." Additionally, telework requires the appropriate technology tools and infrastructure, as well as the understanding of the essentials of working together from a distance.
Successful telework does require a specific combination of skills and motivations. Some skills are different from those an employee needs to work successfully in the "traditional" workplace. Typically, skills and traits for effective telecommuting include:
- Time management skills
- Strong communication skills
- Supportive family/home environment
- Independent (works successfully without close supervision)
- Strong performance record
- Technical ability/high job knowledge
- Strong work ethic
- Computer proficiency
- Lower affiliation needs
VirtualWorks! offers quick and inexpensive solutions for assessing skills and motivation before taking the plunge into telecommuting. Some people aren't given a choice when organizations implement telework for a variety of business-driven needs. And organizations are increasingly aware of the need to prepare employees for times when emergency telecommuting is necessary. Whatever is the impetus for the telework expansion you're facing, our Telecommuter Assessment Profile will help you identify potential obstacles and development needs for telecommuters. For a quick "read" on teleworker readiness, download our short, self-scored and free , Telecommuter Self-Assessment Checklist.