Telecommuting: Making It Work

Many of us were forced to quickly adapt to working remotely at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and have been making do as best we can. However, not only has it taken longer than initially expected for workplaces to reopen, both employers and employees have discovered that remote work offers benefits that make it desirable in the long term. 
To make telecommuting work as seamless and effective as possible, both employers and employees may want to hone their skills, bulk up their remote working resources, and formalize remote work policies. Some major considerations are: 
  • IT, hardware, software, and security (including Internet access and speed)
  • Home office set-up (including safety and ergonomics)
  • Remote collaboration methods and meeting protocols (both for internal and external collaboration)
  • Remote management and supervision
  • Boundaries/expectations around the workday 
  • Social disconnection, changes in efficiency, video meeting burnout, and other wellness considerations
We recommend employers and employees start by conducting a home office/telework assessment to determine the needs and preferences of your workplace. Then see below for guidance for Employers and Supervisors and Employees, as well as General Resources.

Back to main Work From Home page

Employers and Supervisors

IT, Security, and Privacy

The following resources help you ensure that employees can access a work computer and related software, their electronic files, a phone, and appropriate internet capacity all while maintaining the security and privacy required by the nature of their work:

Many homes in the Upper Valley have a poor or intermittent internet connection and spotty cell phone service, as well as landlines that may not include unlimited long distance. To compensate employees for the frequent phone calls and video meetings that telecommuting may require, supervisors can consider helping employees pay for additional internet bandwidth or phone service. 

Leadership and Management

Leading and managing a remote team — or a team where some employees are remote and others aren’t — requires some new skills and tools. It also requires special attention to employees’ emotional well being and to maintaining an inclusive, bias-free work environment. The following resources address these concerns:

Employees

Working from home can offer workers great benefits, such as saving the time and money formerly spent on commuting. It also provides an opportunity for people with disabilities, illnesses, or dependents at home to participate fully without leaving home.

But working at home can bring some challenges. It can be hard to build time and space parameters between the workday and the rest of life; to build in, throughout the day, physical and mental breaks that might have come about more naturally in the office; to set up a comfortable and functional home workspace; and to stay connected with coworkers when you aren’t seeing them in person.  These resources may help:

General Resources 

Information Resources for COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) For State Employees and Managers

Compiled for Vermont state workers but useful for any Vermont workplace.

Transitioning Your Business to Remote

Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility has many great timely resources and webinars and this one is excellent. 

Teleworking Guidance: Best Practices, Sample Policies, and Cybersecurity

University of North Carolina’s Teleworking Guidance has samples of organizational telework policies, telework agreements for employees, and tech tips to maintain security.

How to Collaborate Effectively if your Team is Remote 

If telework is new to you, you may want to spend some extra time considering how you will collaborate with your coworkers now that you are not sharing a physical space. 

 

Studies Find Workers Prefer at Least Part-time Telecommuting

 

Additional resources useful to both employers and employees: 

 

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Staff

Ana Mejia

Climate Projects Coordinator

Transportation, Energy

 802-291-9100 x114

Transportation, Energy

— Ana Mejia, Climate Projects Coordinator

Ana Mejia is the Climate Projects Coordinator at Vital Communities. She is a Southern California native and first arrived to the Upper Valley in 2018. Ana received her Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and her Master’s in Environmental Sciences and Policy from Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, where she wrote her thesis on solar home affordability and energy efficiency programs for low income families. When she is not actively working towards creating sustainable communities, Ana enjoys swimming, cross-country skiing, birding, and trying out new dessert recipes with her KitchenAid mixer.



Bethany Fleishman

Transportation Program Manager

Transportation

 802-291-9100 x111

Transportation

— Bethany Fleishman, Transportation Program Manager

Bethany Fleishman was born at the old Mary Hitchcock hospital in Hanover, N.H., grew up in West Hartford, Vt., and now lives in Hartford Village, where she can see the White River and the trains from her window. She has a biology degree from St. Lawrence University and has worked in public health outreach, as a line cook in San Francisco, a pastry chef in Hanover, and as a member of the Town of Hartford Selectboard. She serves on the board of directors for both Advance Transit and Upper Valley CarShare and is a lifelong bike commuter.