The 5-step guide to managing teleworkers

Friday - 10/15/2010, 7:05pm EDT

Sandra Gurvis, author, "Handbook for Managing Teleworkers"

Click to hear the interview.

Download mp3

You've probably heard the pros and cons of telework, but how do you really get it done?

Sandra Gurvis, author of the "Handbook for Managing Telework," said some managers are weary of allowing employees to telework because they don't want to lose control.

On the other hand, workers "wouldn't mind teleworking," Gurvis said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

Gurvis discussed the five-step process for managing teleworkers, outlined in her handbook.

  1. Decide if your organization needs telework
    Not all professions lend themselves to telework, Gurvis said. For example, hospital positions or service jobs can't use teleworkers.
  2. Create a teleworking team
    In this step, the organization selects the people for teleworking. Gurvis said a person with a "teleworker personality" is self-motivated and can think independently. They must know how to recognize problems and at what point to report problems to managers, she said.
  3. Create a game plan
    The organization sets up trainings and contingency plans in case of emergency. At this point, Gurvis also recommends that managers look at the physical work space of the teleworkers.

    "You need to see it and make sure it's going to work effectively," Gurvis said.

  4. Implementation
    Managers must ensure the teleworkers have all their equipment needs. They must also set performance benchmarks.
  5. Maintenance
    Gurvis said trust is an important issue, and lines of communication should always be open.

    "After a time, the programs runs smoothly and it's like anything else; you just have to keep an eye on it," she said.

Gurvis, a teleworker for decades, said there are many benefits to working outside of the office. She said teleworking is "definitely the way of the future, in terms of rush-hour traffic, in terms of the environment, in terms of work-life balance."