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Telecommuting Readiness Criteria

Here are some considerations to guide organizations and managers to assess ideal telecommuting situations. Remember that these are generic traits and should not be viewed as hard and fast rules. Failure to meet one or more of these criteria does not necessarily mean that telecommuting is impossible.

Organizations Most Suited For Telecommuting
  • are competitive, practical and open to new ways of carrying out business and able to adapt to change
  • understand the link between telecommuting and productivity, morale and attracting or retaining top talent
  • have staff that do not always need to be on site
  • are willing to support telecommuters with adequate training, equipment and IT resources and support
  • understand the value of work-life balance

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The Right Job
  • includes portable tasks that can be performed off site and sent to and from the employee's home with ease, speed and confidentiality
  • can be performed without extensive face-to-face contact with managers, colleagues, clients or subordinates
  • includes tasks that can be performed without immediate access to equipment, materials and files that are only located in the office
  • can be performed while meeting organizational security requirements (e.g., does not require that sensitive or confidential documents be removed from the office)

The Right Employees
  • are already familiar with their work, their organization and its culture and with their colleagues
  • are independent "self-starters" that do not require external prodding or stimulus in order to get on with the work
  • are self-motivated, self-disciplined, able to ignore distractions and can focus on the work to be done
  • are adept at communicating quickly and effectively with at-office colleagues
  • do not have high needs for social interaction with at-office colleagues
  • have home offices that are equipped with the proper equipment/work tools and meet the organization's safety and ergonomic requirements

The Right Boss
  • is skilled at supervision and communication
  • trusts the integrity and professionalism of their employees
  • manages by objectives, agreed-upon performance standards and deadlines
  • evaluates performance by results rather than by the clock or 'face time'
  • understands employee needs to balance work with personal life

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