Technology, training and communication alone are not enough for a successful, thriving telework or flexible workplace program. The policies that govern the program and the agreements with the participants are just as important as the furniture, change in culture, and high tech that allows remote work and supports mobile workers. Getting that policy right, knowing what to expect and what to plan for before situations appear is important and often crucial to a program taking root and growing.
To explore these issues and discover what kinds of policy an organization needs, we gathered a panel of industry experts and long-time field practitioners for an online webinar. The panel focused on two areas within telework and flexible workplace policy: the critical elements to include in your first set of policies and how to deal with issues that arise several years after implementing a program.
The first area of discussion provides a good starting point for organizations just beginning to plan or deploy a new program. Panelists shared their insight and experience on what should go in to policy, what should not go in, and the kind of flexibility needed to support a healthy and continuing program.
- What policies are critical to getting started with a new program?
- What should be in an initial policy? What should not?
- Who should qualify for these programs? Do those rules need to be in the policy?
- What is the key to union buy-in?
Our experts and seasoned professionals also fielded questions about policy and issues from the on-going program perspective: how do policy and needs change over time and how do you keep up?
- What challenges commonly arise after a year or so? How are they resolved?
- What is the best method for responding to new issues?
- How should local managers best support these policies?
- How do you change existing and implement new policies?
Kate is the president of Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), a firm that helps public and private sector employers understand and communicate the business case for agile workplace strategies and employee well-being programs. Drawing on its proprietary knowledgebase of thousands of academic and real world insights, GWA helps clients engage stakeholders in the success of their workplace change programs. Its ROI Calculator™ provides a data-rich approach to modeling a variety of agile workplace scenarios. GWA's research has been cited in the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and hundreds of other publications. Kate is the author of three books and numerous white papers.
Emily is an accomplished strategy and organization development expert on implementing mobile work initiatives, strengthening virtual workplaces and building high performing teams. She has created strategic, performance and change management plans and designed education and training programs that have been highly regarded among executives and managers across the public and private sectors. Emily has authored articles on virtual teams, collaborative tools, organization cultures, career advancement for women and is a co-author of Workshift: Future Proof Your Organization for the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Emily holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the George Washington University School of Public Policy and Public Administration.
Chuck Wilsker is the President and Co-Founder of the Telework Coalition (TelCoa), a nonprofit association headquartered in Washington, DC. Prior to his involvement with telework, Chuck spent 30 years in the field of emerging telecommunications technologies. He is a member of and has spoken before the the Mobility Choice Coalition, the Association of Contingency Planners, the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness, among many other groups, and is a partner of the Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign to help educate the public about the importance of emergency preparedness.
Chuck has also addressed diverse groups such as the National Institute of Science and Technology and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at the US Department of Commerce. He has appeared on media outlets including NPR, Federal News Radio, Fox News' Fox Magazine, ABC's World News Tonight, NBC's Nightly News, to name a few, and has been quoted in publications such as the Washington Post, USAToday, the Wall Street Journal, Financial Week, Federal Computer Week, ABCNews.com, CNN.money.com, and Fox.com.
Brooke Hamilton was recently appointed to a brand new position for Washington State government in the Office of Financial Management. As the Statewide Workplace Strategy Analyst, she is responsible for coordinating the development of the state's emerging workplace strategy by establishing a framework, and creating tools and resources to foster a successful implementation of that strategy.
Brooke is a seasoned project manager who spent over a decade working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). She had many duties there including implementing new programs and strategies to meet the state's goals for telework and expanding WSDOT's mobile work program. She implemented a successful telework program and developed the necessary procedures, tools, policies, reports, and trainings for the new program that was supported by three major Unions representing the 7500 government employees.
Debra A. Dinnocenzo
As founder and president of VirtualWorks!, Debra Dinnocenzo has worked with a wide variety of corporate and government organizations in implementation of telework and virtual teams initiatives. Debra works with both human resource and business line executives, providing coaching, training, and consulting on virtual workplace solutions
In previous executive positions, Debra functioned as both a teleworker and telemanager for several years before launching VirtualWorks! in 1995. Her firm specializes in telework, virtual teams, virtual leadership and work-life balance in the digital age. Debra is the author of nearly 10 books and e-books on telework, managing from a distance, virtual team effectiveness, and work-life balance.
Jason M. Morwick is a teleworker and writer who writes about teleworking, leading in the virtual workplace, and business process improvement. He is co-author of the books Making Telework Work, Workshift, and Gridiron Leadership. He enjoys helping organizations implement telework programs and build high performing virtual teams.
Hassan Osman is a Senior Program Manager at Cisco Systems* where he manages global teams on delivering complex projects for Cisco's customers. He is a certified PMP, CSM and ITIL.
Previously, he worked as a management consultant at Ernst & Young LLP and conducted research at Harvard University related to virtual teams.
*Note: Views are his own and do not represent the views of Cisco Systems