Prepared by:

Labor Relations and Workforce Effectiveness Service Center
Associate Managing Director – Human Resources Management
Office of Managing Director
Federal Communications Commission








I. Preparing the Telecommuting Site

A. Setting Up a Telecommuting Site

• Suggest that telecommuters set-up their telecommuting sites to resemble their official office. They should consider such matters as office space, computer placement, desk, chair, phone line, bookshelves, and file drawers.

• If telecommuters are using their own computers, encourage them to use floppy discs to safeguard work files.

• Urge telecommuters to establish a quiet work environment.

B. Materials and Reference Guides

• Suggest to employees that they e-mail needed work documents to their telecommuting site so they will be on hand if needed. These might include Word documents, case files, important e-mails, etc.

• Remind telecommuters to have on hand at their telecommuting site any necessary reading and reference materials, such as the US Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Policy Statements, Directives, Standard Operating Procedures, etc.

• Suggest that telecommuters obtain and have available important telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.


II. Preliminary Work Planning

A. Ensure that the kind of work to be performed at the telecommuting site is appropriate. For example, work that involves writing, reading, analysis, or use of telephones or computers will generally be appropriate. Work that requires face-to-face interaction with peers or customers, data bases available only at work, or frequent meetings will generally not be appropriate.

B. To the extent practical, telecommuters may be encouraged to defer work on matters that may appropriately be performed at a telecommuting site.

C. Remind telecommuters to plan their work so that necessary tasks that can be accomplished only at the official work site do not arise while they are telecommuting.


III. Establishing Communications

A. Telephone Numbers

• Obtain the phone number for the employee’s telecommuting site.

• Ask telecommuters to give their telephone numbers to their peers, customers, and stakeholders.

• Ask telecommuters to make the phone number at their telecommuting site available to others through their voice or e-mail messages. (if telecommuters object to broad distribution of their home phone number, remind them to check their voice and e-mail frequently the day.)

• Ensure that telecommuters establish an appropriate voice mail message advising callers that they are telecommuting and where and how they may be reached.

B. E-Mail

• Ensure that telecommuters have the agency’s e-mail system installed on their personal computers or their FCC-issued computers.

• Remind telecommuters to check their e-mail frequently.

• Recommend that telecommuters establish e-mail "groups" that they can use to give advance notice to superiors, peers, customers, and stakeholders when they are telecommuting.

• Ask telecommuters to establish an appropriate e-mail "rule" advising people that they are telecommuting and where and how they may be reached.

C. Conference Calls

• Make sure that you know how to set up telephone conference calls so that telecommuters will be able to participate in meetings that take place in conference rooms.

• Make use of ordinary speakerphone capability for small meetings that take place in the office.



D. Other Arrangements

• Don’t hesitate to call and/or e-mail telecommuters at the beginning of their tours of duty to confirm that communications are established.

• Remind telecommuters to post a note on their office doors or their computer screens advising walk-ins that they are telecommuting and where and how they can be reached.


IV. Establishing Expectations

A. Make sure that telecommuters have a clear understanding of what they will be working on when they telecommute

• Identify what work they will actually accomplish.

• Ensure there is enough work available to keep telecommuters busy for a full eight hours.

B. Establish performance requirements or expectations

• Set quantity goals.

• Set timeliness goals.

• Make it clear to telecommuters that they are responsible for meeting all existing performance standards, even while telecommuting.


V. Following-Up

A. Meet with telecommuters early when they are next in the office and review what they accomplished.

B. Let telecommuters know if your performance expectations have or have not been met.

C. If necessary, counsel, coach, and work with employees to assist them in understanding and meeting your performance expectation.