Teleworking/telecommuting has always been one of several program areas RIDE Solutions has promoted to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips. However, our main areas of focus have typically been carpooling and transit (depending on the region you live or work in). Then came COVID-19, and everything changed – at least for the time being.
As a local entrepreneur, business leader, or director of an agency, chances are you may have at least some of your staff – perhaps even yourself – having to take a crash course in developing a telework program, and quick. I, as well as many of my colleagues, are working from home, and I’ve adjusted fairly well, despite not going into the office each day. I’ve learned a few things about myself over the past few weeks in the process. One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m probably a bit more productive at home than I am in the office, since there are few distractions. I’ve also learned that I work very well independently, which is probably at least partly due to my introverted nature.
If you or your colleagues have been working remotely as well, perhaps you’ve noted some things about yourself. Maybe your personality is the polar opposite of mine, and you find yourself yearning for that social interaction that is really only available at the workplace. Or perhaps you have heard how some of your staff really enjoy rolling out of bed in the morning and making the 20-foot commute to their living rooms or home offices to fire up the computer. You may still be in the midst of the “learning curve” phase, in which your business or organization is still trying to figure this stuff out, and wondering if there is guidance available to more firmly establish telework as a temporary “new normal” in the shelter-in-place world we currently find ourselves in. Or perhaps experience so far with respect to telework is making it more likely that your organization or business will move in this direction in the future with some of your employees.
With regard to getting this employment paradigm off the ground, Telework!VA, operated by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), offers a plethora of guidance to help you navigate telework. The homepage of the website, http://www.teleworkva.org/, currently displays a variety of current news articles about telework, such as a recent New York Times article entitled Finding the Right Place for a Home Office, or 5 proven benefits of remote work for companies, published by Forbes. These are great general resources with respect to telework, but this site contains so much more. If you look at the vertical bar on the left side of the home page, the “Resources” link contains a great deal of information including samples of telework policies, and even a template to guide your business or organization in creating its own policy. Additionally, this page contains a link on how to evaluate your telework program, safety and liability with respect to telework, and a link containing information about the types of work which are most compatible with telework.
The “For Managers” link, also located on the vertical bar on the left side of the screen, includes valuable information including methods to “sell” teleworking to your company or organization, things to do and refrain from doing as a manager, and much more. There are also great resources within the “E-Learning Tools” link, such as guides to setting up a telework program, training teleworkers, and more.
In addition to Telework!VA, RIDE Solutions is a great resource by which to promote telework in your organization or business, via the link https://www.ridesolutions.org/telework/. Here, you will find a brief video from RIDE Solutions’ director, Jeremy Holmes, regarding tips on starting a telework program. Additionally, various links are available which promote local telework support, technology resources for teleworking, and which guide you to recent telework-related news.
RIDE Solutions also operates an app through which you and your employees will earn points toward rewards whenever you log a day when you telework, as oppose to driving in to work alone. These points translate to discounts at restaurants, shopping, and entertainment; you also get awarded 1,000 points just to sign up for free! You can learn about this, and more, at www.ridesolutions.org.