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What is telework (remote work)? Explains basic knowledge and introduction method

 

n an era where various work styles are advocated by the “work style reform” recommended by the government, many corporate personnel is considering the introduction of telework.
To introduce this telework to the enterprise, it is necessary to know the outline of telework and the necessary tools in detail in advance.

Table of contents

  • 1. What is telework?
  • 2. What is the difference between telework and remote work?
  • 3. Work styles classified as telework
  • 4. Benefits of telework for businesses
  • 5. Disadvantages of companies in introducing telework
  • 6. Tools required for the introduction of telework
  • 7. Specific introduction method of telework

What is telework?

Telework is a coined word that combines the words tele (remote) and work (work).

As the name implies, working in a remote location other than the office or workplace is called telework. In a society, before the Internet became widespread, it was common for people working for companies to “go to work”. However, in the modern age of Reiwa, communication devices such as personal computers and smartphones have become widespread, and an environment where people can work through the Internet without going to work or office is being established.

 

What is the difference between telework and remote work?

At the same time that telework became widespread in society, the term “remote work” came to be heard. What is the difference between the two? Remote work is a coined word that combines remote and work and refers to all tasks performed in remote locations. As mentioned at the beginning, working in a remote place other than the office or workplace is called telework, so it can be said that telework and remote work are almost synonymous.

The minor difference is that institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications use telework instead of remote work. It is no exaggeration to say that telework is more socially recognized as a language than remote work because it is used by the government. On the contrary, among IT companies and freelancers, working outside the company is often called remote work, and it can be seen that there are differences in the way words are used depending on the industry and working style.

 

Work styles classified as telework

 

What kind of work style is specifically classified as telework? The ” Working Style / Resting Style Improvement Portal Site ” operated by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare classify working styles that correspond to telework into the following three categories.

 

● Working from home

Working from home is a general term for work styles in which you work from home without going to the office. Employees work while keeping in touch with the company through personal computers and telephones. Some employees often work partially from home, such as working in the office in the morning and working from home only in the afternoon. To encourage this teleworking, some companies provide business laptops to employees who want to telework.

 

● Mobile work

Unlike working from home, the work style of working on the go is called mobile work. The feature is that you can work from places such as cafes, parks, and trains using mobile devices (notebook PCs and tablet terminals). Some cafes have a power supply and Wi-Fi environment to facilitate mobile work in the store.

 

● Working at a satellite office

In addition to the headquarters, some companies have other office spaces in rural or remote areas. Satellite office work is a work style that works in an office space away from the headquarters. The name comes from the fact that the office space is set up like a satellite (satellite) around the head office.

By the way, people who work from home or work in mobile work are sometimes referred to as “employed telework” for those who belong to a company, and “self-employed telework” for freelancers.

 

Four benefits that telework brings to businesses

● Improvement of productivity and work efficiency

When companies introduce telework, they can reduce employee commuting time. In addition, it will be possible to reduce the physical and mental burden caused by movement and commuting rush hours, and it will be easier to achieve a work-life balance (harmony between work and life) for employees. As a result of improved workability, it becomes easier to improve employee productivity and work efficiency.

 

● It will be easier to prevent the outflow of human resources

In some cases, some employees are “forced to quit their jobs” due to parental care or childcare. In such a case, if telework is introduced as a work style, it will be easier to create an environment where nursing care and childcare can be performed while working. If companies can offer a variety of work styles, not just telework, it will be easier to maintain employment relationships with employees.

 

● It will be easier to secure excellent human resources

Furthermore, if telework expands the work style options, it will be easier for employees to be evaluated as “a company where employees can work comfortably” from inside and outside the company, and the image of the company will be improved. If the impression of the company is improved, the number of applicants can be expected to increase in the recruitment. The more applicants you have for a company, the easier it will be to secure excellent human resources.

 

● It will be easier to operate the company even in an emergency

In modern times, the spread of infectious diseases and natural disasters often make corporate offices and offices unusable. If the company has introduced telework at such times, employees can work without using offices or offices. Introducing telework, which allows employees to work anywhere, is an effective way to reduce the risk of business inability to continue.

 

Three disadvantages of companies in introducing telework

● Diluted communication

With the introduction of telework, employees have less chance to meet each other. The less communication the employee has, the more likely it is that the organizational strength of the company and the sense of solidarity of the team will be impaired. If it becomes difficult to communicate between teams, not only will it hinder the progress of work, but it will also be easy to make mistakes due to disruption of the instruction system and cooperation.

 

● It becomes difficult to train employees

When communication is reduced by telework, it becomes difficult to train employees. This is because it is more efficient to give guidance to teach the details of the work, even if the work is thoroughly manualized. Guidance for employees through laptops and tablets is, so to speak, “correspondence education”, so growth tends to slow down when compared with close guidance.

 

● High risk of information leakage

Some companies are working to prevent information leaks by ensuring the security of their offices and the Internet. However, due to the characteristics of telework, “employees work at home or on the go,” security measures are inevitably difficult. There is a risk of information leakage if the notebook PC containing company information is inadvertently lost, the screen being worked on is seen by a third party, or the business is performed outside the office. Will increase at once.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of companies in introducing telework. To enjoy the advantages and reduce the risk of disadvantages caused by telework, it is important to have the necessary tools for telework in advance.

 

Tools needed to introduce telework

Necessary tools (equipment) Main uses The person who prepares the tool
Mobile terminals (notebook PCs, tablets) General work of employees Employee or manager
Internet environment Sending and receiving business data and business records, etc.
Webcam Communication between employees, customer support, etc.
Headset microphone
Remote access tool External connection to corporate PCs and networks Administrator
Communication tool Web conferencing, information sharing between employees
Mobile telework tool Measures to prevent unauthorized access and information leakage
Labor management tool (system) Attendance status management of teleworkers
Paperless tool Digitization of documents recorded on paper media

Reference: Tools for telework | Telework comprehensive portal site

 

Although it depends on the scale of the introduction and the work style of employees, the introduction of telework mainly requires the above tools. Many tools are useful for telework work and management, such as “Zoom” and “Slack”, which are well-established as easy-to-use web conferencing tools, and “Google Drive”, which allows you to save and share business data. With the “work style reform” advocated by the government, in the present age when telework is being promoted, the number of companies responsible for developing systems and tools for telework is increasing. When introducing telework, we recommend that you consider the characteristics and introduction costs of each before using it.

Also, depending on the equipment and tools such as the Web camera and the Internet environment, employees can use their personal belongings, but keep in mind that performance that can withstand the use of telework is required. For example, in many cases, the communication speed and stability of the Internet environment differ from home to home, which may hinder telework operations. In some cases, the enterprise may need to provide an internet connection (such as a Wi-Fi router) for its employees.

 

Specific introduction method of telework

The specific procedure for a company to introduce telework is as follows. Here, we will introduce each process in a simple description.

  1. Determining the purpose of introducing telework and basic policy
  2. Team formation
  3. Establishing rules for telework
  4. Improvement of environment necessary for telework

 

1. Determining the purpose of introducing telework and basic policy

When a company considers the introduction of telework, it is first necessary to clarify the purpose of introducing telework. Without a clear purpose, it will be difficult for employees to understand, and preparation and implementation will not proceed smoothly.

  • I want to save money on the operation and management of the office.
  • I want to hire a variety of work styles and secure human resources.
  • I want to reduce the risk of pandemics and disasters.

Clarifying the purpose of the introduction in this way will make it easier for the entire enterprise to promote the introduction of telework. By the way, the purpose of the introduction is not limited to one, and you may set multiple. In addition, it is better to decide at an early stage how to make the introduction of telework known to all employees and how to appeal the introduction of telework to the outside.

 

2. Team formation

After clarifying the purpose of the introduction, select a representative from departments and employees to form a team. There are a wide variety of preparations required for preparing IT equipment, developing rules, and introducing telework. Cooperation of multiple departments such as personnel affairs, general affairs, and information system section will be indispensable.

  • A person who develops in-house systems and rules.
  • A person who is responsible for preparing the equipment and tools necessary for telework.
  • A person who educates and trains employees who perform telework.

If you decide on a representative for each person in charge and form a team, it will be easier to prepare the environment necessary for telework. However, for smaller companies, it may not be possible to elect a representative with specialized knowledge. In that case, it is also a good idea to ask a consulting company or system company that supports the introduction of telework.

 

3. Establish rules for telework

After forming a team, we will make rules regarding telework. By setting the rules created here in the company’s work rules, it will be easier to share and inform employees.

  • Rules regarding the target person and target business of telework.
  • Rules regarding the handling of information during telework.
  • Evaluation criteria, evaluation methods, etc. in telework work.

If telework is carried out without the rules being decided in advance, the entire company will lose control. If telework is done freely in each department, it may hurt labor and attendance management. As a result, anxiety, and unfairness will be more likely to prevail among employees. To prevent these, it is necessary to make clear rules.

 

4. Preparation of environment necessary for telework

After the rules for telework and the target audience have been decided, we will start to prepare the necessary IT equipment, tools, security systems, etc. It is wise to provide the target audience with explanations on how to use the system and tools, and training on information security.

When everything is ready, it’s sunny and you can do the telework. However, the first telework is rarely a perfect success. As managers and employees are unfamiliar with telework, some problems emerge.

  • Web conferencing does not proceed smoothly.
  • Employee labor management and attendance management cannot be done well.
  • There is a large difference in productivity in work for each employee.

Please share the problems raised by this telework within the team you have organized and work on solving the problems. It is also a good idea to narrow down the target audience and introduce telework on a trial basis to clarify “what is the problem” when implementing telework. By repeatedly discovering and solving problems and gradually increasing the number of people targeted for telework, it is possible to instill telework in the enterprise while reducing risks.

Finally, even if you temporarily introduce telework in a company and then return to normal business, it is recommended to record the know-how cultivated at the time of introduction. This is because when a company needs to introduce telework again, it can be introduced smoothly by utilizing its know-how.

If you ever want to know about similar things, check out the Facebook page Maga Techs

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