More policies and guidelines on telecommuting


Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

One CEO once remarked: The job of management is not to select the best ideas; it is to create a system that allows for the best ideas to emerge.

SGS Philippines has created a system, an alternative work arrangement by which employees need not report to the company worksite; instead, they are allowed to work at home or any other suitable place on specified and agreed days on a routing basis, enabling flexibility while effectively achieving the requirements of their jobs. This work arrangement has not only maximized SGS Philippines’ employees productive working time, it has reduced the need for parking and consumption of common office facilities overall, resulting in corporate sustainability and more efficient management of resources. This system is also good for the environment because it has contributed to the reduction of energy consumption for transportation, traffic congestion, hazards and air pollution.

In my past three columns, I talked about the general plan of SGS Philippines on this. This is the last installment on how this system could be successfully implemented in many offices. Thanks a lot to SGS Managing Director Ariel Miranda and HR Director Michelle Garcia.

Personal work resources. Home work space furniture, equipment, and internet connection shall be provided by the e-employee. The company will not be liable for damages to the employee’s property that results from participation in the telecommuting program. The company will also not be responsible for operating costs, home maintenance, or any other incidental costs (e.g. utilities) whatsoever, associated with the use of the employee’s residence.

Company resources. On instances when equipment, i.e., laptop, mobile phone and software are provided for by the company, such resources shall be used exclusively for conducting official business only. The e-employee is responsible for safekeeping and set-up of such resources. All company applicable policies, i.e., IT policies, etc., will apply. The company may provide any necessary office supplies. Out-of-pocket expenses for supplies normally available in the office will not be reimbursed. In case of long distance calls, prior approval must be sought by the e-employee before making the call. The e-employee will submit an expense request, along with a log of long distance business calls and an itemized copy of the telephone bill and must be processed following company Finance policies.

Repairs and maintenance. The company will repair and maintain, at the primary worksite, any equipment issued by the company following pertinent policies. However, the e-employee will be responsible for any intentional damage to the equipment resulting from gross negligence by the e-employee or any member or guest of the e-employee’s household, and damage resulting from a power surge if no surge protector is used.

Damage or theft. Damage or theft of company resources that occurs outside the e-employee’s control will be covered by the company when cleared, after due assessment, under pertinent company policies.

Inclement weather. If the primary worksite is closed due to an emergency or inclement weather, the supervisor will contact the e-employee. The e-employee may continue to work at the e-worksite. If there is an emergency at the e-worksite, such as a power outage, the e-employee must notify the supervisor as soon as possible. The e-employee may be reassigned to the primary worksite or an alternate worksite identified by the company.

Accidents and injuries. Injuries obtained while on e-work are not considered work-related as the company has no direct control over the environment, working conditions and working hours of the e-employees. However, applicable group, life and accident insurance and other relevant benefits may be granted. Safety is the responsibility of the e-employees and, therefore, they must put safety at the top of their priorities at all times.

Performance management and work output. All work shall be performed according to the same high standards as would normally be expected at the primary worksite. The supervisor and e-employee will formulate objectives, expected results and evaluation procedures for work completed while the employee is e-working. The supervisor will monitor and evaluate performance by relying more heavily on work results rather than direct observation. The supervisor and e-work employee will meet at regular intervals to review the employee’s work performance.

Performance feedback and reviews will be administered through the company’s on-line Performance Management System. Documents, programs, reports (and the like) developed while e-working are property of the company.

Of course, these policies and guidelines are not written on stone and management reserves the right to amend, edit, or discontinue this alternative work arrangement and participation at any time, even without prior notice, following formal announcement.

Now we are no longer wondering why SGS operations here in the Philippines are successful, productive and profitable with happy, committed and productive employees.

As John C. Maxwell said: Management is the process of ensuring that the program objectives of the organization are implemented. Leadership, on the other hand, has to do with casting vision and motivating people.


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