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Steps to a Successful Program

Regardless of a company's specific business needs, there are common action items that greatly increase the probability of success for almost any telecommuting program.

Here are the key elements for implementing and maintaining a successful telecommuting program:

Identify Your Goals and Objectives
In order to gain maximum benefit from a telecommuting program, establish specific goals and objectives. These goals and objectives will serve as a basis for designing your program and provide a benchmark against which to measure its success.

Appoint a Telecommuting Advocate
Any successful company-wide initiative such as telecommuting needs an advocate to promote the program and coordinate all related activities.

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Create a Telecommuting Committee
Your program affects managers and other employees throughout your organization. Make sure their viewpoints are represented on your committee, because you'll need their input and buy-in. But try to keep the committee to a manageable size -- 8 to 15 members at most.

Analyze your Telephony and Technology Needs and Costs
You need to know what equipment and technology you have in place -- and what else you may need -- to enable off-site work. Armed with that knowledge, you'll be able to seek cost estimates for the technological components of your telecommuting program.

Draft Telecommuting Policies and Telecommuter Agreements
Create written policies and agreements that specify the roles, responsibilities and requirements for the company and telecommuters. Managers and telecommuting employees need to agree on the terms and conditions under which employees are allowed to telecommute and how the off-site work will be evaluated.

Secure Senior Management Buy-in
Support from upper management is essential for a telecommuting program to succeed. Be sure to outline goals of the program and how telecommuting will benefit the business.

Train Managers and Telecommuting Employees
Telecommuting involves new ways of doing things. Therefore, managers and telecommuters need to be properly trained in order for your program to work.

Run a Pilot Program
Before going full speed ahead, test each element of the program with a subset of telecommuting employees and their managers or supervisors. Use the information gained in the pilot to refine the program before you roll it out company-wide.

Get the Word Out to Your Employees
Telecommuting is here and it's working. Don't keep it a secret. Communicate regularly with all employees about the program's successes. Also, be sure to remind non-telecommuters of the benefits the company is gaining from telecommuting and that telecommuters are working productively off-site.

Ongoing Support and Evaluation
Be sure that telecommuters and managers receive the support they need to make telecommuting successful on a daily basis. Also, constantly evaluate your program so you can fine-tune and make improvements as necessary. Evaluation should also include tracking the costs and benefits. Telecommute Connecticut's experts are ready to help you successfully complete each of the 10 steps described above -- free of charge. Contact us at 1-800-255-7433 or [email protected].

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