Does your organization support teleworking? Are you on the fence about benefits? I’m a beneficiary of flexible work options, but the company benefits from the arrangement too. I have a small cubicle and work in the office most days. However, I’m able to work from home in the afternoons. It’s a big win for me to be home when my kids get out of school. The company wins because I almost never shut down my computer until late into the evening so they end up getting more hours of work out of me thanks to the arrangement. On the flip side, I’ve also worked with teleworkers who don’t seem to be as accessible as their in-office counterparts and I’ve sometimes wondered if a few of these individuals were really working ---- from various other blogs I’ve read about teleworking I know that others have encountered questionable teleworkers as well and this has created some concerns about the benefits of teleworking in some corners.
Teleworking can and does work to increase productivity and/or save organizations money ---- but success comes down to how a telework strategy is structured and managed. Employees need the right tools and support to be successful. Management needs to monitor and measure both group and individual performance and manage for results.
I recently read a detailed case study on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) about their “Hoteling Program” which is their telework arrangement. For the PTO, the data was quite convincing that teleworking is both saving the agency money while simultaneously increasing employee productivity. The report was authored by the Commerce Department Office of Inspector General. The data showed that PTO teleworkers processed more patent applications per year than their in-office counterparts, they use less sick and administrative leave, and spend 66.3 more hours per year examining patents. Additionally, the Telework participants are generating more revenue through the fees associated with patent processing. They are less expensive for PTO too. Real estate, taxes, utilities and transit benefit costs make up most of the teleworker savings. In these areas telework employees cost PTO only $1,350 in year one, versus $10,935 for in-office employees.
However, the IT costs incurred at the outset are higher for telework participants. It costs $5,500 to set up and provide virtual infrastructure access for a telework employee in the first year, while there are no similar costs for in-office employees. Ultimately, with all IT and real-estate related expenses combined, telework employees cost PTO $1,710 less than employees working at PTO headquarters in the first year, and $3,385 less each subsequent year, according to the report. You can download the full report for complete details.
So, how do you replicate this kind of teleworker success for your organization. As I stated earlier, part of the equation is giving employees the right tools for success. No matter where they sit, workers still need to be productive and look professional through the output they produce. A GovTech Executive survey, Insights from New Twists on a Familiar Theme: Government Telework in 2010 revealed that 58% of IT professionals surveyed did not know that remote workers use of printers can be monitored, made secure, and managed too.
HP offers a suite of printers and MFPs designed with the teleworker in mind but that also give IT the control they need. Print administrators and IT managers can use HP Web Jetadmin to view and configure telecommuter printers for easy remote troubleshooting and to generate reports detailing device and supply utilization, inventory, printer usage by user, device, supply and more. HP’s managed print services is a solution that IT managers can tap into to meet the printing and imaging needs of a diverse workforce in the most cost effective an efficient means possible. But it’s not just teleworkers that need non-office printing solutions. I blogged previously about the Rise of the Virtual Office and mobile employees that need to print when they are on-the-go. Printing from a mobile device to or public print locations is a convenient solution for when “road warriors” are on-the-go and need to print. Read the blog for more information on HP ePrint Enterprise and Public Printing solutions, visit www.hp.com/go/ePrintMobile or use the QR code to download the ePrint service app for your mobile device.
Whether your organization already supports telework, or is considering it, implementing the right technology solutions are an important part of a successful program.