Flexible work practices
The world has
changed -- and is continuing to change at an ever-increasing speed.
We need a smarter
way to work: flexibility has
become an important survival tool. Flexible work practices cover many
concepts: temporal flexibility (flexi-time, nine-day fortnights, etc.),
spatial flexibility (how the physical work space is designed and used),
and geographic flexibility (where the work is done).
Telework is only one of a number of possible flexible work practices but
it is one of the most effective and complete. It can incorporate many
elements of temporal, spatial and geographic flexibility.
At its simplest, telework is
work from a distance although it takes many forms and has many labels,
including working from home, remote access, remote work, Mobilise, e-Work,
telecommuting, and more. It has also been been 'defined' in many
different ways. Some definitions have
been created by academics, some emphasise the role of technology, and
some focus solely on
the home-office form of telework. A more useful definition, based
on what successful telework initiatives actually look like, is:
by enabling, supporting and effectively
managing the performance of work
in non-traditional work places"
Telework doesn't have to involve expensive technology,
teleworkers are not usually out of the office more than two or three
days a week, and there are many possible alternative work locations (not
just the home). Almost every company approaches telework in a different
way: there are many options.
about resilience in the face of change, and getting the most out of
available resources. It provides better ways of doing things,
better ways of getting to work, and better responses to modern problems.
Telework provides an alternative
to sitting in traffic jams, an alternative
to office distractions, an alternative to tying up capital in expensive
office space or car parks, an alternative to traffic congestion and an
alternative to dangerous vehicle emissions.
Telework is about people,
work, how they interact, and how they prepare for an
increasingly uncertain future.
And it's about flexibility:
locations and work times, flexible management structures, and flexible
responses to the challenges of change.
Is normality getting dressed in the clothes
that you buy for work, driving through traffic jams in the car that you
are still paying for, in order to get to the job that you need so you can
pay for the clothes, the car, and
especially, the house that you leave
empty all day in order to live in it? – Ellen Goodman
There is a better way...
Telework in the office
Telework and transport
The many benefits
The myths about telework
telework programmes are usually
built around seven elements:
They support out-of-office desk work,
within ordinary working hours.
They are structured, and promoted, as a
voluntary and mutual agreement.
They are available to all employees
(within guidelines) as a normal work option.
supported by performance management.
They schedule and control telework in
order to maximise benefits and avoid possible problems.
They have clear corporate and individual
They are built into, and supported by, the
Not all telework programmes start with all seven
elements in place but, to be successful, they recognise the importance of
each and endeavour to make progress in all seven.