Our Telepicker™ selection service for teleworkers and telemanagers has been used as a decision aid by many Fortune 1000 companies and by large government organizations such as the States of California and Washington and the City of Los Angeles. The service, for our full-program clients, is built around a pair of background questionnaires. One of the questionnaires is given to each prospective teleworker; another is given to the immediate supervisors of the teleworking candidates. For projects in which a control group of non-teleworking colleagues is desired, they and their immediate supervisors also get the questionnaires.
We also have a short, on-line questionnaire by which anyone may test the suitability of her/his job for teleworking.
Each questionnaire has multiple parts. These cover:
In addition, the questionnaire for the prospective telemanagers has a two-page section to be completed for evaluation of each of his/her subordinates who will be involved in the project. Please note that we insist on receiving completed questionnaires from both the prospective teleworkers and their supervisors before we will perform an evaluation; because the supervisor-employee working relationship is paramount to successful teleworking, the evaluation depends on having both questionnaires completed.
This process has been evolving since the mid-1980s. Our intent in 1994 and 1998, as reviewed in Making Telecommuting Happen and Managing Telework, was to provide both the questionnaires and the data analysis software (Telepicker) as a commercial do-it-yourself package. However, there has been so much demand for customized versions of the questionnaires that we have not produced a generic version. Hence the complete selection series is currently only available as a service to clients of our complete telework development program. (However, a portion of the selection test is available on line here as a first-level selection method.)
The output of our questionnaire analysis program is a set of recommendations to the employer as to the extent of teleworking that seems to be reasonable at first for each supervisor-teleworker pair. We provide recommendations for both home-based and telework center-based teleworking. In the case of telework centers, the recommendation is a simple YES or NO, with the assumption that work at the telework center could be close to full time for many employees. For home-based teleworking, we recommend the average number of days that would be reasonable to start with. It is rare that we recommend full-time home-based teleworking although, because of technology advances such as desktop videoconferencing, we expect that proportion to increase.
Since our questionnaires include questions about attitudes and interpersonal relationships, and since honest answers are necessary for effective evaluation, we do not release the answers to the employer, except on an aggregated basis. Even if we release aggregated data, it is only in cases where there are sufficient numbers of questionnaires to effectively prohibit attribution of the results to individual employees. Not even Dilbert can have access to our raw data.
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Last modified: Monday September 26, 2011.