Serving employers in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard Counties.

Teleworkbaltimore.com Employer Survey

Teleworkbaltimore.com wants to hear from employers in the Baltimore region! Tell us what you think about teleworking and what type of information and resources you need to help start or expand a successful program within your organization.

>> Take our survey

Improve Your Bottom Line and Make Our Region a Better Place with Telework!

More and more businesses are realizing bottom-line benefits from structured telework programs. Telework is an arrangement which allows working from a remote location, while maintaining communication with managers, colleagues, and customers. The Baltimore Metropolitan Council  and the Maryland Department of Transportation have contracted with Telework Program Solutions, telework consultants, to work with a select number of businesses in the Baltimore region. 

The goal is to reduce both traffic congestion and air pollution by helping employers realize the benefits of a formal telework program—at no cost! Benefits from telework can include:

  • Improved employee satisfaction resulting in improved employee retention,
  • Improved employee attraction and retention resulting in reduced recruiting and training costs and a competitive advantage in finding outstanding employees,
  • Reduced employee effort and time spent in commutes resulting in improved productivity,
  • Decreased pressure and increased flexibility on office space needs resulting in reduced office space costs,
  • Other benefits are possible such as diminished parking needs and reduced overhead and others.


We want to help qualified area employers establish successful telework programs. That's why we've created TeleworkBaltimore.com. Take a few minutes and register with us. It's free! In return, you'll be able to download valuable materials helpful for starting a telework program. You'll also have the opportunity to ask questions of our telework consultant, and your contact information will only be shared with that consultant.

  

  Helpful Links

Benefits of Registering with Teleworkbaltimore.com: Find out why this is a great idea.

Telework: Frequently Asked Questions: This Q&A can calm your fears about Telework.

Telework Myths: Separate Telework fact from fiction.

Telework Resources: Other websites that might help. 

Making a Case for Telework: Present a telework proposal to your employer.

For more information:
Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575. 

Read more: Telework

Register with Teleworkbaltimore.com! It’s absolutely free, costing only a few minutes of your time and some simple keystrokes. In return you’ll receive:

  • Downloadable documents, which can help you institute a successful telework program (or improve an existing one):
    • Sample Policy Statement
    • Employer/Teleworker Agreement
    • Teleworker Self-Assessment
    • Home Workplace Checklist
    • Planning & Communications Strategies
  • The chance to ask questions of our professional telework consultant when special needs arise. Please note that this is not an unlimited benefit, and we ask that you send your questions via the Teleworkbaltimore.com project manager (rulrich@baltometro.org).

Once you’re registered, you may expect representatives from either the Baltimore Metropolitan Council or the Maryland Department of Transportation to contact you. We’ll be doing several things through these calls:

  • Finding out how successful your organization has been in implementing telework.
  • Trying to determine the overall interest in telework in the region.
  • Gauging the success of this program.

Remember that registration is free, and we will share your information with no one other than our consultant.

>> Register with TeleworkBaltimore.com

For more information:
Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575.




Read more: Benefits of Registering with Teleworkbaltimore.com

Q. So, what exactly is telework?

A. Because of changes in society, the business landscape, and the revolution in communications technology, employees in almost any type of industry doing almost any type of work can perform at least some of their work remotely—eliminating the need to spend time commuting. Employees can effectively work from their homes or from satellite centers between their homes and offices. This is telework!


Q.
What are the advantages to telework?

A. Teleworkers approach their tasks without the mental fatigue that often accompanies the daily commute, in a less disruptive environment than the office. Employers find the productivity of these workers improves—some national studies have shown increases as great as 20 percent—and frequently other business costs, such as real estate expenses, may be reduced. In addition, employees receive an "Indirect Pay Raise" due to the reduced costs of commuting every day.


Q.
Are there other advantages?

A. Employers also find that morale is improved and talented employees are more easily recruited and retained. Teleworking provides a viable alternative to outsourcing, often improving an organization’s perception by the public. Employees experience greater flexibility in their working arrangements, often allowing them to better juggle demanding work and family situations. They also find reductions in both stress and commuting costs, which greatly improve quality of life. Other advantages, such as reduced parking costs, can be realized.


Q.
How does telework affect our region?

A. Telework can help bring about an enhanced quality of life that extends beyond the individual worker. It touches the community as a whole, because any reduction in the use of motor vehicles means less traffic congestion and cleaner air.


Q.
It sounds too good to be true. Can it be abused?

A. Teleworking offers many advantages, but it is something that should not be entered into lightly by either employer or employee. It might be helpful to consider what telework is not:

  • Telework is not usually a full-time arrangement. Most teleworkers work remotely one or two days a week
  • Telework is not sending people home and never seeing or hearing from them. Teleworkers communicate with managers, co-workers, clients, and vendors via phone, fax, and e-mail on days when they’re out of their offices.
  • Telework is not a substitute for child or elder care. Teleworkers are expected to tend to business only during their agreed upon work hours.


Q.
It sometimes seems that telework is a very loose arrangement. Is that true?

A. An effective telework program is, in fact, a very structured, sometimes contractual, arrangement between employer and employee. Teleworkers are asked to commit to both specific performance measures and periods of availability. They are expected to maintain safe and professional workspaces, which allow them to complete assignments as effectively and efficiently as possible.


Q.
What are the employers’ responsibilities?

A. Employers need to establish clear and consistent telework policies, provide the proper technical resources, and the information and tools that both employees and their managers need. Perhaps their most important obligation is providing training for both managers and teleworkers to ensure the success of their programs.


Q.
This all sounds a bit daunting, where can my organization learn more?

A. The Maryland Department of Transportation and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council want to give qualified area employers a hand in establishing successful telework programs. That’s why we’ve created www.Teleworkbaltimore.com. Just take a few minutes and register with us. It’s free! In return, you’ll be able to download valuable materials—the types of documents needed to start a telework program. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions of our telework consultant, and your contact information will be shared only with that consultant.


For more information:Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575.


Read more: Telework: Frequently Asked Questions

Compiled by the Telecommuting Advantage Group


Some of the most common barriers to implementing telework aren’t really barriers at all. Instead, they are myths—stories based on the fear of the unknown, rather than on actual experience. Just like urban legends, these myths are passed from one person to the next, from one organization to the next with few facts getting in the way. Some barriers are real, but can be easily avoided if addressed proactively in a formal telework program.


Before you decide whether telework is right for your team, department, or organization, take a moment to read the research-based facts behind these common myths.


Myth: I won't know they're working at home.

Fact: Research on teleworking pilot programs consistently shows that after teleworking for six months, both teleworkers and their supervisors believe that teleworking has increased the teleworker's productivity. In fact, the most commonly mentioned benefits of teleworking by senior managers were increases in work efficiency, productivity, and employee morale. There are several reasons for this:

  • It’s easy to monitor teleworkers via log sheets, specialized software, or frequent contact.
  • Productivity increases because employees have fewer distractions and interruptions, work at their personal peak times, and are less stressed due to the absence of the commute.
  • Supervisors discover they are better able to monitor the work by shifting the focus from how much work the employee looks like he or she is accomplishing to how much he or she actually is accomplishing. By focusing on the work product instead of the work activity, many supervisors find they are better able to communicate clear expectations to their employees. And, when supervisors and teleworkers agree on job expectations, it often leads to increases in employee productivity and job satisfaction.

Mid-level managers and front-line supervisors reported that they felt supervising a teleworking employee involved a change in management style from management by observation of the job being done to management of the results. The managers and supervisors reported that the skill-sets needed to more effectively supervise a teleworking employee benefited their workgroups as whole.


Myth: Teleworkers must work at home five days a week.

Fact: Most teleworkers only work remotely part-time or on an ad-hoc basis. Research shows that although many employees would like to telework more often, few do so more than one day per week. In fact, AT&T found that most teleworkers only telework 1 to 4 days per month.


Myth: Our types of jobs aren’t compatible to Telework.

Fact: Research shows that most jobs have some set of tasks that can be done away from the main office or during non-standard work hours. Jobs are really just a collection of tasks. Some tasks must be done at a certain location or a certain time. Other tasks, especially those involving reading, thinking, planning, analyzing, programming, or making phone calls (especially to different time zones), can be done anywhere, and do not necessarily require any particular type of technology. For some, these tasks may take up 10% of their job, for others 90%. A telework arrangement can be found to accommodate teleworkers at any point along this continuum.


Myth: Teleworkers are not available when you need them.

Fact: Research does not support this myth. In fact, surveys show that 80% of non-teleworkers and managers disagreed with the statement, "Teleworkers are never around when you need them." Formal telework programs generally require that teleworkers and their supervisors work together to develop an agreement that defines how responsibilities are restructured to maintain work group integrity (if necessary), sets expectorations for availability and response times, and plans how they will maintain communication with the office and what will be done to meet contingencies. And of course, if the teleworker is needed, he or she may be asked to come in to the office or join an emergency staff meeting by conference call.


Myth: Telework is not for everyone, so it's not fair.

Fact: Offering the opportunity to telework is a management option; telework is not a universal employee benefit. Supervisors may select employees who have the right tasks, abilities and circumstances to telework, but an employee's participation in a telework program should be entirely voluntary. Not having the opportunity to telework is not a grieveable offense. Also, employers may offer other flexible work options, such as flextime or compressed workweeks to those who cannot telework.


Myth: Everyone will want to Telework.

Fact: Studies continue to show that most people prefer the normal workweek. Everyone does not want or need the same flexibility in the workplace. Some flexible work arrangements, such as telework, require employees to have certain job tasks, skills, and home environments. There is not one example in case studies or research literature that found an overwhelming response to jump on the telework bandwagon. It just doesn’t happen. Instead, successful and sustainable telework programs grow over time as the organizational culture makes it easier to adopt a telework arrangement.


Myth: Teleworkers cause more work for supervisors.

Fact: Managing employees that work flexible schedules will require more communication of the work product and expectations. However, many managers have found that the improved communication with employees has reduced their overall workload over time. This leads to more effective supervision and a more productive work environment.


Myth: Teleworkers cause more work for coworkers.

Fact: Research shows that most non-teleworkers do not feel their own workload has increased because their colleagues are working at home or on an alternate work schedule. In fact, most non-teleworking employees support telework programs. To prevent unequal workload, teleworkers and their managers should discuss how they will manage their normal office duties without burdening coworkers.

When surveyed, coworkers repeatedly respond that teleworking does not impede the office routine and that the program should be expanded.


Myth: Our employees deal with confidential information so they can't Telework.

Fact: Information security is a legitimate concern but telework should not create a significantly greater concern than is currently the case in the office. Telework arrangements should work within existing company polices related to security, restricted access, or other concerns. Additionally, new technology, such as Virtual Private Networks, (VPNs), make security extremely solid and inexpensive.


For more information:
Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575.


Read more: Telework Myths

Telework Organizations

Federal Telework Information (http://www.telework.gov/)

The Telework Coalition (http://www.telcoa.org/)

Telework Exchange (http://www.teleworkexchange.com/

Mobile Work Exchange (http://www.mobileworkexchange.com/)

On-Line Training and Assessment Tools

e-Work.com (http://e-work.com/)

Other Useful Sites

Alliance for Workplace Excellence (http://www.excellentworkplace.org)

Best Workplaces for Commuters (http://www.bestworkplaces.org)

Clean Air Partners (http://www.cleanairpartners.net/)

Families and Work Institute (http://www.familiesandwork.org)

It All Adds up to Cleaner Air (http://www.italladdsup.gov)

Partnership for Public Service (http://www.ourpublicservice.org)

World at Work (http://www.worldatwork.org)


For more information:
Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575


Read more: Telework Resources

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