Month: January 2016

In 2016 Save Your Bottom Line Hiring Teleworkers

FM Teleworker bottom lineWe are living in an era of downsizing. We constantly look to find ways to downsize, save money and save time. From the number of employees on staff to the size of our seat on the airplane, services and amenities are shrinking while at the same time technology is expanding our world at a breakneck speed…

Source: Huffpost Business

How mainstream has the concept of telework become?  The answer is ‘very’, and it’s safe to say its implementation across the country and across the world is on the rise.

As evidence, we’ve already mentioned in a recent article that the federal government is encouraging this practice within their own departments.  Next, as this article reminds us, telework has the ability to eliminate the need for daily commutes, saving workers time (and not to mention the environment) simultaneously.  Third, organizations have begun to realize just how much money (and real estate) they can save by allowing employees to work from home, with estimates at $10,000 per employee per year.

But the momentum for increased telework does not stop there.  This article wisely points out that the same advancements in technology that have enhanced our personal lives, are the same types of advancements that can allow individuals to be comfortable in a remote work setting.  Programs like Skype, or Google Hangouts can simulate meeting with individuals in-person despite the parties being located in different geographic locations.  And if employees have the skills to bank online or shop on Amazon, then it is likely they can learn to use web-based portals developed for telecommuters that feature tools to help them complete day-to-day tasks or even projects virtually.

But while one’s aptitude for mastering new technology is an important factor to take into account, it is prudent for organizations to realize this skill is just one piece of a formula used to determine if  an individual is appropriate for a telecommuting initiative.  Factors such as job role, social needs, and personal competencies also need to be taken into consideration.  For the most thorough analysis of which employees or job candidates are the best fit to conduct their work off-site, utilize FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments.  FlexMatch™ gives your organization the opportunity to conduct a fair, deep-dive analysis into the all-around skills of a remote work candidate to help ensure the right people will be part of your new initiative.  The assessments also help determine the right mixture of home/office time per candidate.

Five Years of the Telework Enhancement Act

President Barack Obama signs the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 in the Oval Office, Dec. 9, 2010. Watching are, from left: OPM Director John Berry; GSA Administrator Martha Johnson; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Rep. John Sarbanes; Representative Stephen Lynch, D-Ma.; Deputy Secretary Bill Lynn; D-Md.; Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va.;  and Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis;  (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.Ê“It used to be that if you weren’t in the office, you couldn’t get much done. But now, people can be connected and productive almost anywhere. Five years ago this week, Congress enacted the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 to help the federal government use telework for flexible workforce management…”

Source: WatchBlog

It’s now been five years since the Telework Enhancement Act was signed into law by President Obama. This piece of legislation requires government agencies to allow their employees to work remotely, and established policies stating that teleworking programs needed to be organized, efficient, and transparent.  The law even necessitates agencies to include teleworking strategies as part of their business continuity plans for the future.

According to this blog, however, federal teleworking programs still face challenges and resistance even five years later.

Employees are still concerned about fairness, specifically regarding who gets to be part of their agency’s telework program, and who is left standing on the sidelines, tethered to their desk.  Leaders still struggle to manage by results, stuck in a line-of-sight management mindset.  Some teleworkers are required to document everything they do throughout the day–as if the completion or progress made on their daily tasks and projects is not enough!

Whether you are part of a government agency, a corporation, or any other organization considering allowing your staff to work-from-home, know that tools do exist that give your initiative the best opportunity to succeed.

By signing your organization up for FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments, you’ll help ensure your remote workers are selected based on their job role, social needs, and personal competencies; never favoritism.  Additionally with FlexMatch™, you can assess how your managers score in terms of being open, prepared, and comfortable enough to lead a remote team.  Click here to learn more.  Then, when you are ready, enroll your organization for our next assessment period.

6 Obstacles to Working From Home Successfully

FM Lego telework“Working from home can be a blessing or a curse. The freedom that comes with working out of the house is luxurious — you set your own hours, take breaks when necessary, run errands as needed, procrastinate work projects in more constructive ways such as playing with the dog (that’s a joke). The possibilities are endless…”

Source: Entrepreneur

With telework becoming an increasingly mainstream practice, efforts to ensure the productivity of the practice must be made by the remote workers themselves, and the organization that employs them.

This article highlights some key hurdles many remote workers will face.  Fortunately, many of these challenges and bad habits are correctable.  To avoid your home turning into a work cave, for instance, it’s best for teleworkers to have a dedicated, professional space reserved in their home to conduct their work.  Making your dining room your desk, for instance, may tempt you to log back in and check email while you are eating dinner!  Having a space you can ‘leave’ at the end of your shift can help an employee make a transition back to their personal life.

One of the benefits of being a teleworker is the ability to better juggle work and personal responsibilities.  Many remote workers, however, voice frustration with needing to always ‘be on’.  Employees may feel like if they fail to respond to an email within moments, their supervisor may think that they’re watching TV instead of working; whereas a reasonable delay in response time in the office may be the norm.  This hyper-vigilance to be available at the drop of a hat or during off hours is real for many teleworkers and is something companies need to address organizationally.  An employee who may work exclusively in the corporate office may not even look at her smart phone to check email after 8 pm, when the same person may feel compelled to respond to an email at 10:30 pm when working from home regularly.

Having somewhat consistent start and stop times, scheduling a lunch break, and discussing reasonable response times and boundaries with your leader are things every organization should ensure their remote employees are doing.

FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments  is a way to screen candidates for a remote work program to ensure these hurdles, and many others, will not be too much to overcome for them.  By examining a candidate’s job role, personal competencies, and social needs, we can accurately identify the most likely candidates to be productive in your work-from-home initiative.

FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments can easily and accurately demonstrate to your organization which employees will be most effective working remotely, and which managers possess the requisite skills to manage off-site employees. By examining the suitability of job role, personal competencies, and social needs, our team is able to gauge which employees and managers are best suited for telework and what their ideal home/office mixture is. Enroll your organization now for our next assessment period.

6 Ways Work Will Change in 2016

FM Online Talent Acquisition“Most major workplace trends don’t evolve overnight, and if you know where to look, you can already witness their approach.

Many of the trends that will come into focus in 2016 already exist today, but their significance is expected to grow and become mainstream in the year to come.”

Source: Fast Company

It’s no surprise that the trend atop the list of Fast Company’s “6 Ways Work Will Change in 2016″ is “Remote-First Business.”

The concept of organizations allowing employees to work off-site is past the point of a workplace trend simply ‘gaining steam.’  Today’s technological capabilities make telework an attainable strategy, and organizations big and small are beginning to understand the advantages both on the productivity, and cost savings fronts.  As John Bersin, Founder of research firm Bersin, is quoted as saying in this article, “organizations really aren’t companies; they’re like networks of teams.  Even big companies are being reorganized like this.”

While FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments certainly caters to organizations considering implementing or expanding remote work options for existing employees, it should be noted that our service also allows organizations to vet new talent that can work partially, or completely, off-site as well.  Contact us to learn more.

FlexMatch™ Suitability Assessments can easily and accurately demonstrate to your organization which employees will be most effective working remotely, and which managers possess the requisite skills to manage off-site employees. By examining the suitability of job role, personal competencies, and social needs, our team is able to gauge which employees and managers are best suited for telework and what their ideal home/office mixture is. Enroll your organization now for our next assessment period.