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|Teleworking for Enterprise|
Gaining strategic advantage in today's business climate is no easy task. Global competition, demanding customers and increasing uncertainty put pressures on organisations to respond in new ways. Teleworking (or telecommuting) is one such response.
Teleworking (or telecommuting) is broadly defined as
using information and communications electronic networking technologies to work effectively at non-traditional 'office' locations, such as at home, on the move or in serviced offices (telecentres or telecottages).
When deployed as part of a flexible working practices programme teleworking has delivered these proven benefits:
Achieving these benefits, though, requires a systematic approach and more than just applying appropriate technologies. Research confirms that the main barriers to success are lack of attention to human and organisation factors. In a recent paper presented in 1993 at The European Distance Working Conference David Skyrme noted that:
"The challenge is one of organisation and management. For many it means having to learn new ways of designing and managing work, workers and workplaces."
How to Achieve the Benefits of Teleworking
Based on many years of practical experience in this field we suggest this 7 Point Action Plan
David J. Skyrme, April 1993
Since this was first written the uptake of teleworking has continued to increase at around 10 per cent a year. With rapid advances in mobile telecommunications and portable computers, location independent working has become well established in many organizations. Quite often organizations are using teleworking but do not call it that. What research shows is that there are more employees who wish to telework (around two thirds) than companies who let them do it (less than a third). The major problem is lack of remote management skills by middle managers. What is also apparent is the extent of informal teleworking without a formal organization programme. However, organizations can significanlty enhance effectiveness by having a formal programme and sharing best practices (cf. knowledge management), as well as avoiding potential legal pitfalls, that some organizations have unwittingly found themselves embroiled in. The approach as outlined above is as valid today as it was when written.
David Skyrme, August 1999.
'Flexible Working: Building a Lean and Responsive Organization', David J. Skyrme, Long Range Planning, Vol. 27, No. 5, pp.98-110 (Oct 1994)
'Teleworking: Achieving the Business Benefits', David J. Skyrme, Conference Paper (1993). Word version.
European Telework Online - now the world's premier Web site with over 50,000 visitors monthly (May 1999); many links, resources, country specific information, statistics and discussion forum.
European Telework Week - an annual event in November attacting over 10,000 participants.
Our principal consultant, David Skyrme, played a prominent role in setting up the Flexible Work Practices Programme in Digital UK, renowned for its leadership in this field.
Management Insights are publications of David Skyrme Associates, who offers strategic consulting, presentations and workshops on many of these topics.
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