"Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, projects that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021,” stated Robin Mack, telework consultant for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s Telework!VA program.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the telework movement forward. With so many employees working from home for the first time, the Hampton Roads Chamber hosted a Virtual Chamber Education event to inform businesses how best to set up telework policies, management, how to set up a home office that minimizes distractions, and the overall benefits of telework.
TRAFFIX, a part of the Hampton Roads Transit, and Telework!VA are working together to make teleworking easier for businesses and their employees. Telework!VA is a state-wide program providing training for both managers and employees on how to develop, maintain, and effectively evaluate a telework program, including the execution of telework agreements and policies.
Chris Arabia, Manager of Statewide Mobility Programs for the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, Emily Cass, Manager of the TRAFFIX Program, a service of Hampton Roads Transit, and Mack addressed the concerns many have since teleworking began unexpectedly in March 2020. Mack wanted the audience to know that these conditions are drastically different than normal telework experiences. “In normal telework, the average telework schedule is one to two days a week and the position is deemed conducive to Telework. But right now in the pandemic, we’re seeing unprecedented telework, with no telework training,” said Mack.
Here is what the experts have to say about common telework concerns:
Telework!VA offers management training, and advises the employer have trust in their employee and to remember if they were valued for their work before teleworking, they will likely still do a great job remotely. Open and frequent communication with tools like Zoom is also valuable. Provide clear instructions with clear deadlines that are realistic to the project. Include staff in discussions of measurable deliverables.
“Design your workspace to work for you. There is no one perfect workspace. It is not a one size fits all,” said Mack. Create a space that you want to sit in, near a window, with some nice décor that makes you feel comfortable. She also suggested creating a daily schedule that you stick to, such as having lunch at the same time, taking an afternoon break, and logging off fully at the end of the work-day. Mack also suggested staying away from online distractions such as social media apps or breaking news during work hours.
There are many advantages Telework!VA stressed during the presentation. For one thing, it clears up the roads and helps the environment by lowering emissions. Teleworking also saves the employee money. If you telework even for half of the week employees can save between an average of $2,500 - $4,000 a year on expenditures like gas, coffee, breakfast, and lunch.
“On an employer side, teleworking allows for talent attraction beyond the region you’re in, maintain current office space with increase in staff, reduce hiring costs, and can increase employee retention,” said Arabia.
The Hampton Roads Chamber provides Chamber Education once a month to highlight the expertise of members who present timely topics. As an inspiring ignitor we offer these sessions as valued business training to assist our companies as they work to survive and thrive in the COVID-19 world.
If there is a topic you are interested in bringing to the Hampton Roads Chamber, please contact Priscilla Monti, firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hampton Roads Chamber is currently accepting sponsorships for the Chamber Education Series. If you are interested or would like to learn more, contact Anne Baumler, email@example.com.