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Submitted by pucciot on


BLUF : If the Telework Agreement specifies a Time and Place for Teleworking how strict should I be in enforcing it ?


In short, our organization’s teleworking agreement asks employees to designate specific hours of work and a specific space that they work in at their homes.

This is for liability reasons.


And yet, when we do Video meetings it is obvious that employees are elsewhere.  - In the kitchen, on the patio, at a coffeeshop, in a car, another person's residence, etc.


The media would have us believe that Tele-work can happen with great flexibility and anywhere -- but, the Telework agreements do not reflect that expectation.


How should I address this with my folks ?

They are technically in violation of the agreement.

Suggestions ??





Chris Zeller's picture
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Hi TJ,

This seems like an exercise in risk evaluation and management. Give it due consideration and figure out where it lands.

There's a spectrum that runs from "existential risk that can put the company out of business or get me fired" to "I'm a High C and compliance less than 100% makes me twitch a little bit."

If you can, I recommend sharing as much context as you can behind the "liability reasons." That's your responsibility on behalf of the organization and if there is materially more risk in people working from the dining room rather than from the home office, then help them understand that -- particularly if you're going to ask for a change in behavior.

If you come down hard on your people and insist on strict adherence, you run the risk of winding up with compliance from them rather than commitment. Worse, you might get malicious compliance in which they feel resentment and respond by engaging in curated behavior that meets the letter of the law while intentionally violating the spirit of it.

Both destroy trust and are detrimental to the team environment. It'll reduce their effectiveness and yours as you'll find yourself allocating time to audit and police their behaviors.

Once you have a handle on what sort of change you're asking for, add it as a line-item on your next team meeting. Remind of them of the expectations, what they agreed to do, that you've noticed less-than-perfect adherence, and what they need to do going forward. 

Avoid punishments for past indescretions and don't embarass any one person by calling them out in front of the group.



tabitharizzio's picture
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I'd recommend sharing MT teleworking standards with your team.  Your company has stiupulated a policy for liability reasons, not "professional" standards.  When my team shifted to full WFH due to COVID I established teleworking standards inspired by MT, this helped the team think about WFH from a different perspective.

Example, thinking about WFH environment as where your livelihood comes from, establishing more frequent communication across the team, etc.  

While these standards may not be "policies" from company perspective they should be considered "accountable" behaviors the team is held to, just like anything else a manager communicates.