Training for teleworkers on the rise, finds Kinetic Workplace survey

March 5, 2003—Kinetic Workplace has released its year-end “2002 Workplace Trends” survey, which focuses on remote work arrangements in today’s marketplace. Findings from this year’s survey indicate that training for telework programs is on the rise. The number of companies that are providing training in conjunction with their telework programs rose significantly, increasing to 53 percent in the 2002 survey from 38 percent in 2001.

Of those respondents who indicated that their organizations offer training in order to provide support for their telework program, 55 percent make it mandatory to participate in the training program. The top three types of training offered include remote access technology training, home office ergonomics and set-up training, and remote management skills training.

286 people responded to the survey during the months of September and October 2002.

Respondents came from both the public and private sectors,with 20% from Business Services/Consulting organizations, 13% from the Federal Government, 10% from Insurance/Real Estate/Legal, and approximately 6% each from Manufacturing, Computer Equipment and Telecommunications. Organizations ranged in size from fewer than 500 workers to more than 30,000 employees, with 37% of respondents from organizations with less than 500 people and 27% with 10,000 or more people. 30,000 employees, with 37% of respondents from organizations with less than 500 people and 27% with 10,000 or more people.

Based on the Kinetic Workplace definition of a formal Telework program (one that includes the use of a standardized assessment tool, a signed agreement outlining the terms, conditions and policies of the program and some level of provisions for remote access and/or home office furniture), 50 percent of respondents indicated that their companies currently have, or are in the process of developing, a formal program. This increased from 38 percent of respondents who stated their companies currently have or are in the process of developing a formal program in 2001.

The 2002 survey also highlighted the principal reasons that companies implement telework programs. Top drivers included real estate savings and cost avoidance (62 percent), staff work/life balance (16 percent) and recruitment and retention (13 percent). Not surprisingly, even though real estate savings and cost avoidance were the most significant drivers, only 19 percent of the respondents with a telework program in place indicated that they have realized measurable real estate benefits from their program. According to Eric Johnson, Director of Consulting with Kinetic Workplace, “We are continually trying to clarify with organizations that unless their Telework program is partnered with a Hoteling/desk sharing strategy or participants are full-time Teleworkers, they will most likely not see any savings from real estate.”

When asked if training is provided as part of their companys Telework program, 53% of respondents indicated that it was. Of those organizations offering training, 27% focus on remote access technology training. Twenty percent (20%) provide training about ergonomics and home office set up, followed by 19% focusing on remote management skills. Other key topics included in the training were avoiding distractions, dealing with isolation, and effective team building.

In addition, the 2002 survey shed some light on what can make implementing a Telework program easier and more effective. The largest percentage of respondents stated company subsidized home office set-up followed closely by technology training, tools for selecting and assessing Teleworkers, an effective change management plan, and management skills training for managers.

For more information, as well as the complete survey report, visit Kinetic Workplace.