Keeping track of teleworkers
It's Monday, do you know where your teleworkers are?
Yvonne Caudillo's colleagues know she's working from home today, and will be again Wednesday, too.
They know she works from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m., and takes an hour lunch at noon. They know her work and home e-mail addresses and home office phone number.
How do they know all this? Because it's all right there on the "Natural Gas Regulatory Team Flexiplace Schedule."
Caudillo's team created the schedule several years ago as a way to help co-workers, managers and others within the Department of Energy keep track of Caudillo and her colleagues. Other offices within the DOE have since adopted it.
""It can be difficult to track people's telework days," says Caudillo, a natural gas analyst and acting case manager within the Natural Gas Regulatory Team. "This way, we each know who's where working from home or in the office on what days."
As important, the schedule also helps the team make sure no gaps are created by multiple workers teleworking the same days. As part of its creation, a buddy system was also instituted. By linking three co-workers, two cover the third when one is teleworking or is otherwise out of the office.
"Since it's a regulatory office, people make filings, and we have to have coverage here," Caudillo says.
The schedule, a simple paper document that's updated regularly, also includes the team's "Policies and Procedures for Flexiplace Participants." Created with the input and consensus of all team workers, rules include letting co-workers know current home office contact information and schedule information, changing voice mail greetings to provide home office contact information on work-at-home days, and submitting weekly reports on work completed.
"This is an excellent tool for keeping people well informed on what's going on," says Bruce Murray, Worklife Program administrator with the DOE.
"This helped get us organized and keep us that way," says Caudillo, who keeps the document at home in a file with her DOE phone list, logon instructions for the DOE computer network and other important office documents. "Having all this information in one place keeps you from having to run around, and it keeps you straight on who's where what day."
Jeff Zbar is an author and speaker on telework, free agency, and small or home office issues. His books include "Teleworking & Telecommuting: Strategies for Remote Workers & Their Managers" and "Safe @ Home: Seven Keys to Home Office Security". Jeff works from home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Questions or comments? Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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