Photo: Shell Culp, CIO for the Department of Toxic Substances Control

At the Conference on California's Future, CIO for the Department of Toxic Substances Control, Shell Culp, discussed the importance of telework in the way government agencies operate. Ready or not, telework is on California's horizon, she said. But what does that mean for employees, managers and the state as a whole?

The benefits of telework are easily identified:

  • Fewer people on the road means improved air quality and less traffic.
  • Continuity of business as part of a disaster recovery or emergency plan.
  • Facilitates optimum utilization of facilities.
  • Reduces absentee rates.
  • Promotes health and wellness.
  • Employees are free to be more creative and will have access to more perspectives.

But what are the trade-offs and potential challenges teleworking would present?

  • Meetings can become a challenge.
  • Information sharing can be difficult.
  • People -- both in and out of the office -- can feel alienated.
  • Puts sensitive data at risk.
  • Managers may find it hard to manage those working out of the office.

Some strategies on how to successfully employ telework are:

  • Establish relationships between employees.
  • Manage deliverables.
  • Engage in more dialog around employee development and goals.
  • Trust until you have reason not to.

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Casey Mayville  |  Writer