Telecommuting not just phoning it in
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TELECOMMUTING Not Just Phoning It In . Presented by Liz Mason and Marlene Anderson Bismarck State College Library September 25, 2008 – NDLA Conference – Mandan, ND. What is telecommuting?.

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TELECOMMUTINGNot Just Phoning It In

Presented by Liz Mason and Marlene Anderson

Bismarck State College Library

September 25, 2008 – NDLA Conference – Mandan, ND


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What is telecommuting?

  • To work at home using a computer connected to the network of one's employer.(American Heritage Dictionary)

  • The practice of working at home and communicating with your fellow workers through the phone, typically with a computer and modem. Telecommuting saves the employee getting to and from work and saves the employer from supplying support services such as heating and cleaning, but it can also deprive the worker of social contact and support. (The Free Online Dictionary of Computing)


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State of North Dakota Definitions of Telecommuting

  • A work arrangement that allows employees to work for all or part of the regular work week at a location other than the customary work site. (State of North Dakota’s Human Resource Management Services area)

  • Aviable option for employees in eligible positions who desire workplace flexibility to aid in the recruitment and retention of skilled workers. (North Dakota’s Office of Management and Budget)


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Successful Telecommuting: What to Ask Before You Start

  • Is telecommuting a good way to do this particular job?  

  • Does the employee have the right abilities and characteristics to be successful?  

  • What will the impact be on others in the office?   


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Telecommuting Job Characteristics

  • Results-oriented

  • Quantifiable, measurable, reasonably tracked

  • Easily portable

  • Limited requirement for face-to-face, internal/external interaction and communication

  • Minimal supervision required

  • Information-based


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Characteristics of jobs that may NOT work for telecommuting

  • Require access to files

  • Require face-to-face interactions with customers

  • Require phone responsibilities

  • Require frequent on-site presence to complete assigned duties


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Is telecommuting right for the person?

  • Above all, the successful telecommuter must enjoy the work and find it to be rewarding.


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Key Abilities of a Successful Telecommuter

  • Ability to manage time

  • Ability to deal with challenges

  • Ability to deal with distractions

  • Ability to manage business support relationships

  • Ability to balance business and personal life

  • Ability to work independently


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Key Characteristics of a Successful Telecommuter

  • Self-starter

  • Motivated

  • Tech-savvy

  • Clear communicator in both written and oral communications

  • Dependable

  • Ethical and trustworthy

  • Confident


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What will the impact of telecommuting be on others in the office?

  • Each situation is unique.

  • There may be feelings of resentment, or that one person is favored over others.

  • How will you deal with these feelings or avoid them altogether?

  • Will the change mean more work or changed duties for others in the workplace? 

  • How will you balance and distribute work fairly?


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Best things about telecommuting … employee’s point of view

  • Get to keep your job

  • Flexibility

  • Save time getting ready for work and commuting to work

  • Green! Save energy costs for transportation

  • Save money; reduced need to invest in a workplace wardrobe or spend money on eating out.


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Worst things about telecommuting … employee’s point of view

  • Being alone; isolation

  • Technology troubles

  • Difficult to be involved in workplace activities and committees


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Best things about telecommuting … supervisor’s point of view

  • Retain a valued employee

  • The work continues to get done

  • No need to go through the advertising, hiring, and training process


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Worst things about telecommuting … supervisor’s point of view

  • Potentially being short-staffed when other staff members are sick, attending meetings or conferences, or on vacation

  • Potential loss of spur-of-the-moment decision-making

  • More difficult to get opinions and feedback quickly from the person who isn’t on site


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What makes telecommuting work at Bismarck State College Library?

  • Telecommuting agreement – formal, written

  • Sharing the load

  • Telecommuting journal and monthly reports

  • Electronic book bags and shopping carts

  • Clear communication

  • Regular staff meetings

  • Supervisor familiarity with the job

  • On-site visits

  • Mutual trust

  • Support from higher administration and Information Services

  • ATTITUDE AND TEAMWORK!


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For more information … Library?