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How to make teleworking work

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released the Telework Briefing, a collection of key findings on managing telework. The briefing is aimed at helping managers implement or review teleworking within organisations.

Professor Tim Bentley, Director of the NZWRI, says employers need to acknowledge the positive impact that teleworking can have on the workplace.

"Telework is increasingly becoming just another way of working. It is about giving your employees the flexibility to make their own decisions on how to work best and giving them the tools to achieve outcomes. If a proper teleworking policy is implemented across the company both employers and employees will reap the benefits."

When successfully managed, telework options create a flexible work structure in organisations that caters to different lifestyle needs of employees without compromising on work productivity and performance. The key to this is clear communication of expectations, trust and organisational support.

"Managers can lead teleworkers effectively by maintaining an open line of contact and communication of expectations, as well as providing them with infrastructure support so they can work effectively off site", says Bentley.

Another key to successful telework results is a balance between time spent in the office and offsite.

Research results revealed that a hybrid telework style produced the highest productivity and performance outcomes. Too much telework can lead to social isolation, reduced satisfaction and increased anxiety in employees. When there is a healthy balance teleworkers are more satisfied, more engaged, experience less stress at work, and have better work-life balance. All this leads on to enabling an organisation to operate more efficiently.

Increasingly, telework is becoming part of many organisational strategies to reduce real estate costs by optimising office space effectively. For some, telework options are seen as a HR strategy to retain and attract talent. Employees also save on time and the cost of commuting to work when teleworking.

Successfully implementing teleworking starts with the organisation’s leaders, says Bentley. "It is important to have a culture that places a high value on employee empowerment and trust, and then develops and maintains leadership and resources."

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