The Town of Richmond Hill completed a one year telework pilot project with a small number of participants, which Council adopted in April 2001. Staff working under the pilot program demonstrated that quality work and on-going contact with co-workers as well as external clients was possible via computer and phone support systems. Starting June 2001, qualified employees at the Town will have the opportunity to work from home. This program was started by the Town's Clean Air Initiatives Team, a group formed to help the Town reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
What is teleworking?
In a successful teleworking arrangement, the employee works from a home office for part or all of a work week. He or she stays in touch with co-workers and clients via phone, fax, pager and e-mail and is usually, at a minimum, required to participate in quarterly, monthly or weekly meetings at the business office. It does not interfere with internal office or public service communication and allows a participant to fulfill the majority of his/her job responsibilities from the home office.
How can teleworking benefit the employee and the employer?
Benefits for the Employee
Benefits for the Employer
- Improves personal morale to a significant level, & boosts work satisfaction & motivation
- Fewer interruptions - allows greater focus and improved personal productivity
- Saves money - fuel/vehicle depreciation & travel costs
- Eliminates commuting time and associated stress
- Helps balance work and family life
- Reduces highway congestion
- Reduces harmful auto emissions - better for the environment and air quality
How can I make a telework program successful in my business?
- Increases productivity & job performance
- Improves morale & job satisfaction
- Potential to save office space by letting staff work offsite
- May reduce business disruptions due to emergencies - ice/snow/power outages/etc
- May improve recruitment & retention of employees (makes an organization attractive to potential staff)
The key factors for creating and maintaining a teleworking program in your business:
How do residents in the Town of Richmond Hill benefit?
- A strong endorsement from management
- The appointment of a Telework Committee to help champion the program, to solve problems and address concerns
- Have a pilot project to test the feasibility of a long term program
- Any resulting policies should reflect the operating framework of your business
- The commitment of the Information Technology & Human Resources departments to support telework
- Telework program participants should be selected carefully for their motivation and organizational skills and commitment to making the program work
- Participants selected should work on communications skills with manager and co-workers
- Ongoing feedback should be solicited from participants and their supervisors
- Need additional attention in scheduling meetings and vacations
- Need to be aware of Security/confidentiality issues with respect to work files
- Keep the program flexible
There are many benefits that the Town will gain from having a permanent telework program. Residents of Richmond Hill will also experience benefits as a result of a successful program.
Clean Air Initiatives
- A reduction in traffic congestion & an increased demand for public transportation
- Less wear & tear on roadways & road maintenance which means less frequent need for repair
- A reduction in consumption of transportation fuels & pollution which is better for the surrounding environment and air quality
- Reduces the likelihood of accidents and road rage due to less congestion
- A tool to support emergency preparedness
- Promote job satisfaction among staff which leads to effective and friendly customer service