Volume 23, February 2003: Evolving Workplaces: Telework

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2003 ISSN # 1545-8873

“You don’t have to trust all your employees, just the ones you want to keep. The same is true for flossing teeth.” — Cynthia C. Froggatt, author of Work Naked

“I sincerely believe that employers who find the answers to the questions (surrounding work/life) are going to be the leading employers in the future. These leaders will attract and retain the very best people. This is the competitive advantage.” — Lew Platt, CEO, Hewlitt-Packard

“In the work/life equation, attitude is far more important than any particular policy or equation.” — Paul Allaire, Chairman and CEO, Xerox


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Giving people more flexible ways of working: where they work, how they are paid, how they communicate, how they do work.
  • Because the state of “flow,” the creative stream, occurs at work and at home, creating borderless organizations, where work can blend with life.
  • Mastering technology – informating not automating. Using technology for telework: laptops, cell phones, voicemail, virtual meetings, teleconferencing, live chats, fax, corporate computer networks.
  • Moving employees from a dependent state to an independent or survivalist mode. Moving yourself from control to reinforcing autonomy.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Where do you get your best ideas? In the shower? Driving in the car? Sleeping on it? While exercising – e.g., walking, swimming, running? This is proven. Yet traditional work environments do not contain these options.

Remodel your work life with nap rooms, exercise on the job, use of commute time. Declare two days a week as no-meeting days. Travel with an idea capture tool. Utilize walking or running meetings – people are more creative on their feet. Create work space all around in your life (unless you have trouble turning work off). Your best ideas will come while playing.

Frequently Asked Questions

“I want to be supportive of women and families, yet how far do I go?”
Given that 60% of families have both parents working, 70% of women with children under 6 work and the number of women graduating from college is 1/5 more than men, it is in your interests to reduce work/family conflicts. Flexible hours, job-sharing, day care, compressed or seasonal schedules and telecommuting/telework are some ways to solve this problem. Xerox calls these “family-friendly policies,” and measures their effectiveness in reduced absenteeism, customer satisfaction, and their company ranking in Working Mother magazine’s Best Places to Work.
“Why is there a trend toward telework or telecommuting?”
Real estate costs, rising gas prices, accommodation for families, increased productivity (really!), and increased employee morale – expressed in reduced turnover, decreased absenteeism, more flexibility, and greater work/life balance. Face-to-face time is the most expensive time, and is rarely more than 50% of our jobs. Organizations in the US employ more than 11 million telecommuters, and half of those remaining want to be.
“How can I assure that the organization is getting its due?”
Try a telecommuting agreement, with hours, measures of performance, frequency and type of communication. Also, you may want to experiment with various degrees of telework:
  • home work on an as-needed basis
  • on specific days of the month or week
  • telecenters or regional/surburban-based work hubs
  • home offices with assigned space at work
  • hoteling or variable assignment of office work space on an as-needed basis

Look at results, not the old cues likedress codes and being “on time.” Responsible workers will make sure that they have enough interaction with colleagues and managers to be successful.

“Who is the ideal candidate for telework?”
Cynthia Froggatt in Work Naked (2001) talks about different types of solo workstyles related to workplace preference. In surveying 500 employees, she found these styles linked to study preferences in school:
  • Library studiers (24%) – like to separate work and life; want quiet and a community of studiers; therefore still gravitate to an office for their solo work;
  • Dorm studiers (62%) – like doing something different every hour therefore they distract others; like to control their setting, work odd hours and mix life and study; therefore are good candidates for solo work at home;
  • Student Union studiers (14%) – like background noise and to get away from their desks; don’t like to be alone; like to separate work and play; find similar settings where they can set up a laptop and work for a while.


Key Associates offers work process redesign for organizations and individuals. Contact us for more information.

Library of work and life research: LifeCare.

For web collaboration and seminars: PlaceWare.

Useful Websites & Newsletters

AL Learn atives offers services and products to organizations that are exploring or implementing various forms of telework.

Listen in on a meeting of the International Telework Association & Council: The Telework Advisory Group of WorldatWork.

The latest on collaborative technology: Collaborative Strategies.

Telecommuters can access email and corporate resources after-hours: GoToMyPC.

On-line portal for telework: Telework.


  • Daniels, Kevin et al. Managing Telework: Perspectives from Human Resource Management and Work Psychology, Thomson Learning Europe, 2000.
  • Dinnocenzo, Debra A. 101 Tips for Telecommuters: Successfully Manage Your Work, Team, Technology and Family. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1999.
  • Edwards, Paul & Sarah. Working from Home: Everything You Need to Know About Living and Working Under the Same Roof. J.P. Tarcher, 1999.
  • Froggatt, Cynthia C. Work Naked: Eight Essential Principles for Peak Performance in the Workplace. San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2001.
  • Gurstein, Penny. Wired to the World, Chained to the Home: Telework in Daily Life. Univ of British Columbia, 2002.
  • Handy, C. Trust and the virtual organization. Harvard Business Review, May/June, 1995, 40-50.
  • Hoefling, Trina. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. Stylus Publishing, 2001.
  • Langhoff, June. The Telecommuter’s Advisor: Real World Solutions for Remote Workers. Aegis, 1999.
  • Nilles, Jack. Managing Telework: Strategies for Managing the Virtual Workforce. Wiley, 1998.
  • Robertson, Ken. Work Transformation: Planning and Implementing the New Workplace. HNB Publishing, 1999.
  • Zelinsky, Marilyn. New Workplaces for New Workstyles. McGraw-Hill, 1998.


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