Next week begins “National Telework Week” for those of us here in the United States. National Telework Week is sponsored by the Telework Exchange, a public-private partnership that promotes teleworking. According to their website (link at the bottom), the initiative is “designed to encourage government agencies, small businesses, corporations, and non-profit organizations, as well as individuals, to give telework a try for up to one week to see how the flexible work arrangement impacts productivity, employee morale, and continuity of operations.” The weeklong event is an expansion of the original Telework Day started back in 2009. To help you celebrate Telework Week, here are a few suggestions:
- Telework. OK, I’m starting with the most obvious one. Although the Telework Exchange doesn’t explicitly state it, Telework Week appears to promote working from home for the week. However, teleworking comes in many forms. A broad definition of telework is the ability to do your job without the limits or boundaries of geography or need for physical presence. Practice teleworking for the week by simply working virtually with your employees, peers, and managers whether that means you are working from home, a remote office, or some location where you won’t be able to physically interact with other co-workers.
- Know you organization’s telework policies. Does your organization have a telework or telecommuting policy? Find it and learn what it allows, and perhaps more importantly, what it doesn’t allow.
- Talk to your manager and employees about telework options. If your company already has telework policies or flexible work arrangement options, are you using them? Are your employees? If your organization doesn’t allow teleworking then next week is a good time to talk to your leadership about the benefits of teleworking and see if they are willing to experiment or pilot a program. Plenty of information can be found online about the business case for telework – check the links below for the Telework Exchange and the Telework Coalition to get more information.
- Share best practices with your team. Chances are you are already teleworking to some degree whether you are working from home or just participating on conference calls. Today’s workplace is virtual, at least part of the time. Make some time next week to share best practices, seek out those in your organization that work well in the virtually environment, or learn from case studies in your industry on how other organizations are leveraging telework to their benefit.
- Work differently/try something new. This is starting to become my mantra: experiment with something new. Whether it is working from home, trying out your new web cam, downloading a free trial of collaborative software or meeting applications, or even figuring out how to leverage social media tools for your organization, do something different next week. Block off the time on your calendar now if you need to, but make time to ensure next week is not just another work week.
What’s your plan to celebrate Telework Week? Drop me a line, I would love to hear from you.
The Telework Exchange: www.teleworkexchange.com
Telework Coalition: http://telcoa.org/