Telework, with its different meanings or interpretations, is a transversal axis, on which to direct a new vision of work. Teleworking is not only working at a distance, using telecommunications and/or
computer science, teleworking is using these elements to work in a new way, this new way requires responsibility, commitment and confidence to be guided by objectives giving people the freedom to organize themselves to achieve them.
It contains the principles and values on which the company of tomorrow will be based:
- Result orientation
- Reconciliation of family and work-life
- ICT (Information and Communication Technologies)
- Sustainable Development
And it provides countless advantages and results, many of which have yet to be explored:
- Improves the reconciliation of work and family life
- Improves health and well-being
- Reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants
- Contributes to improving mobility in large cities
- Generates larger and more powerful work teams without geographical barriers
- It promotes diversity and especially the integration of the most vulnerable groups in the workplace
like the handicapped.
Also for society:
- More equitable geographical distribution: reduction of rural exodus and local development.
- Labor insertion of groups at risk of exclusion or vulnerable.
- Reduction of travel costs, energy savings through the elimination of
- Improved investment in networks and knowledge.
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and those responsible for acid rain and
- Reduced mobility.
In order to start the implementation of the Teleworking program, the type of jobs and profiles that could be selected must be included in its approach.
Another fundamental factor is the use of technology to promote Teleworking, which includes the knowledge and review of the tools and functionalities available in the organization, to make sure that the user has what he needs, that it is easy to access and therefore that he will use it. It also implies having other aspects, which facilitate its use: knowledge of all the technology available for Teleworking, the necessary training for its optimization, feedback channels, to propose improvements to it and technical support, which facilitates failures and resolution of doubts.
Training and awareness of all staff is a fundamental aspect to ensure the alignment of all professionals (both teleworkers, as people who work with them and other possible future teleworkers), also assuming the concept that all teleworkers, also need a “tele-boss”. It is also important to ensure that all members of the organization have the necessary knowledge tools to make the most of this common environment.
Finally, it is essential to develop an internal and external Communication Strategy, which continuously reinforces the internal and external efforts that the institution makes on Teleworking and its impact on other policies, such as the Reconciliation of personal, family and work-life and Social Responsibility. This communication should involve all the professionals of the organization, in the sharing of best practices, in the progress and feedback on the impact of the program, reinforcing this objective, through the combination of media, both traditional physical and digital interactions in a 2.0 approach.
Once the most relevant elements and aspects have been established for the successful implementation of Telework in the organization, both in terms of the culture and the way it is implemented in the leadership style and in the management systems, as well as in the approach to the model, the use of technology, training, and communication necessary to mobilize it, we establish the start of the program through a pilot experience and its follow-up.
The legal framework is provided by the Royal Decree – Law 3/2012 on urgent measures for the reform of the labour market, published recently, is a legal milestone, insofar as it establishes for the first time a regulation of the phenomenon of Teleworking, as amended by Article 13 of the Statute of Workers. It may require changes in contracts and new contracts. Likewise, it is usual that the Teleworking projects contemplate, the evaluation of the minimum security conditions related to lighting, temperature, sound environment, physical space, fire extinction, first aid material, working material and tools, as well as the training and information that must be adapted to the particular circumstances.
Another factor to take into account is the degree of security and confidentiality of the data that the company manages in relation to personal data. The work plan and changes in contracts must establish specific points in this regard.
The peculiarities of the provision of services have led, in practice, to issues such as measures in relation to data display screens, or psychosocial risks, derived from the possible isolation and lack of personal relationship of teleworkers.
Among its positive aspects is the proportionate approach, in terms of the form of the contract, working rights and conditions and health and safety. Among the improvements that can be made, we would mention the interpretation of the prevailing concept and the flexibility in working time in reference to the reconciliation of family and work life.
There is an investment and effort that must be measured in order to see the impact on the organization’s budget items. Below is an indicative list of the most commonly used devices
by teleworkers in their ‘home office’:
- Tablet PC
- Video conference camera, Etc.
If the previous section presented a typical list of devices used by the teleworker, this section introduces those computer applications that with the support of the former can meet the needs listed above:
- Instant messaging
- Presence information
- Audio and Video Conference
- Virtual Meetings
- Collaboration Spaces (online and offline)
- Knowledge Management Portals
- Mail and Time Manager
- PC Client Operating System
- Client Operating System for mobile terminal
- Office Suite
Apart from this impact and economic effort, it is important to reinforce and commit the management to the workers who decide to adopt teleworking and the commitment of the latter to maintain maximum performance and efficiency in order to achieve the objectives and promote continuous improvement.