Arlington, Va., April 12, 2019 – Teleworking can provide many advantages to Federal agencies – from lower costs to higher employee morale and satisfaction. But agencies that fail to plan for having these workers in the office can see the benefits of mobile work policies backfire.
According to the Office of Personnel Management, 60 percent of routine federal teleworkers are in the office as many as seven to nine days during a two-week period, while only 11 percent of routine teleworkers are in the office no more than once a month.
“As teleworking has increased, agencies have proven effective at thinking strategically about how employees will work remotely. But many neglect to address how to accommodate teleworkers when they’re actually in the office,” says Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill’s president and chief executive officer. “This becomes problematic when mobile workers are in the office frequently, but the organization isn’t equipped to handle on-site staff. Workers can’t work if they don’t have a desk, enough outlets for their computers and phones, rooms to meet with colleagues, or if they can’t find supplies. The end result is frustration and lost productivity.”
To help agencies, Eagle Hill has developed Teleworkers Return: Making the Most of Mobile Workforce Environment, which identifies eight building blocks to sustain a mobile workforce environment:
- Think differently to work differently. This means breaking away from a “this-is-how-it-has-always-been-done” mindset when planning, implementing, and improving mobile workforce environments is key to maximizing mobile work benefits.
- Look to the future from the start. Developing a thoughtful strategy that addresses all of the complexity and nuance of rolling out—and sustaining—a mobile workforce environment is key to move from reactive to proactive approaches.
- Eliminate the confusion of the unknown. This involves recognizing that old office management approaches no longer apply and ensuring new ones are clear and well-defined is key to engage employees and create a productive mobile workforce environment.
- Get everyone on the same page. Prioritizing transparency and communication at all times is key to building employees’ confidence and comfort in the mobile workforce environment. It also helps eliminate surprises that cause frustration.
- Avoid reinventing the wheel. When agencies are industrializing processes and operations across multiple mobile workforce environments, this can create economies of scale, lower costs, and improve efficiency and productivity.
- Know what success looks like. Assessing program performance from the beginning helps agencies to accurately measure success of the telework program, promotes successful mobile work policy adoption, and offers opportunity to adjust course if needed.
- Listen and learn to improve. This means avoiding planning and implementing in a vacuum is critical to ensure that the mobile workforce environment reflects the needs and behaviors of all stakeholders as well as leading practices.
- Plan for change, change the plan. Trading linear approaches (that do not account for change) for iterative ones (that do) is key to keep mobile workforce environments working well as technology and other external factors evolve.
Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Talent, Change Strategy & Performance. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.
Media Contact: Susan Nealon
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