Navigating the world of telework

The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) has created numerous opportunities for more flexible work options, also called telework. A report by Deloitte Access Economics predicted that flexible work created by the NBN would be one of the biggest structural changes to the labour market this decade, creating an additional 25,000 jobs by 2020. The research also found that almost 50% of the mature workers (aged 45-64 years) and one-third of the part-time workers surveyed had at least partially flexible work patterns.

Fast broadband technology and other structural changes are eroding the idea of the traditional ‘office’ workspace. We are increasingly seeing the rise of new forms of flexible work, including working from home, a mixture of working from home and office, regional workspaces, working from client workplaces etc.

The advantages of more flexible working arrangements are numerous: they aid participation of groups such as parents, people with disabilities, people from rural locations, semi-retired individuals and so on. There are also productivity benefits from people spending less time commuting and more time working, as well as possible benefits from reduced ‘sickies’.  Savings can also be made by not needing to spend as much money on physical office spaces.

However, there are a number of potential disadvantages or pitfalls that need to be considered. For example, a prominent telecommunications company was found to be liable for costs associated with an employee in Queensland being injured while working at home. It is also possible that some employees will take advantage of the lower levels of supervision to engage in time-wasting, or even potentially dangerous or illegal activities. Some employees also do not work well alone, and benefit greatly from regular direction and/or teamwork, and others do not work well outside normal business hours.

There is no doubt that telework is highly attractive for employees and employers alike, and that increasing globalisation of business, as well as technological advances will continue to make telework more and more relevant. In order to take advantage of this trend, while at the same time safeguarding your business, the following need to be considered:

 

  • The personality of your teleworkers – are they reliable, self-directed and work well independently?
  • The integrity of your teleworkers – can they be trusted to follow organisational policies and values, and to work safely?
  • Their morningness/eveningness profile – can they work well outside normal business hours, and if so, when?
  • Skills set – do they have the right skills to use organisational tools well independently?
  • The working environment – is where they are working safe and suitable for the type of work being undertaken?
  • Other – are there other underlying issues (such as employee disengagement or, mismatch between work and personal values) which may jeopardise the individual’s ability to work well remotely?

RightPeople offer a wide range of well researched, reliable and valid assessment tools that examine individual traits and skills to determine suitability for working remotely.

Examples of assessments that typically administered via our Web-interface include:

Contact us today.