Choose the Right Metrics to Measure Telework Success

If you’re implementing, or planning to implement, a telework program you’ve probably already heard how important it is to have success metrics but may wonder what metrics you should have.  From the organizations I have spoken with, metrics generally fall into 2 categories: performance metrics and what I call implementation metrics.   Performance metrics may follow a balance scorecard or similar approach – a mixture of financial, operational, customer, and learning/growth measures that form leading and lagging indicators of the overall health of the organization.  Ideally, the success of a flexible work arrangement or telework program can be demonstrated by how the performance metrics improve.   However, I have noticed a trend to specifically measure the success of the implementation.

When your organization is rolling out its new program you may want more immediate feedback to understand if the program is changing organizational culture or meeting resistance.  Or, you may want to collect information during your pilot phase to further build out the business case before expanding the program to a broader audience.  In this case, the most common metrics to measure the implementation are: 

  • Eligibility.  Not everyone in your organization may be eligible to telework.  It’s important to understand which jobs or individuals, according to your policies, are eligible.  This metric is not very important by itself, but it’s very useful when comparing it to the next metric, participation.
  • Participation.  Out of the employees eligible to telework, how many are actually doing it?  Being able to drill down to department, process, location, or even the team level can help you understand where any potential management resistance is or which employees need more communication or training.
  • Training.  Some organizations have very formal, mandatory training for teleworkers while other organizations have informal, optional training.  Training rates in conjunction with performance related metrics or participation metrics can help pinpoint problem areas.
  • Satisfaction.  Qualitative data measuring employee satisfaction, usually obtained through surveys, can be very useful to highlight best practices, what’s working and what’s not working.  I usually lump “productivity” metrics in this category since gathering information around employee productivity can be very subjective.  Teleworkers often say they feel more productive because they are not stuck in an office 8 hours a day which is closely linked to their overall satisfaction.
  • Cost savings.  Cost savings can be measured in a variety of ways from real estate savings to travel cost reduction.  This may be the most important metric for senior management and help further the case for increased telework or flexible work options.  Ensure you have some way to quantify the dollar impact to your organization.

Over time, implementation metrics may become less and less important as telework becomes ingrained in the culture and is just how business is done.  However, initially it may be a good idea to select metrics to gauge how well your organization is getting to that desire state.

-Jason

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2 Responses to Choose the Right Metrics to Measure Telework Success

  1. Greetings! Very helpful advice within this article!

    It’s the little changes that will make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  2. Daniel says:

    Nice article. I agree that not everyone are suitable for telework however, with the use of current tools and software that are available right now in the internet, we can manage remote workers effectively like Time Doctor for time tracking and Skype or Webinar for meetings and conferences.

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