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4 Steps for Deploying Telework Technologies

<p>The Carbon Disclosure Project's Paul Dickinson offers advice on how companies can deploy broadband technologies for telework.</p>

About 28 percent of HP's employees are full-time teleworkers, and since 2006, they've avoided 2.5 million round-trip commutes and say they are better able to serve their global clients.

Over at Accenture, 50 telepresence sites have saved the company 8,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, while also improving employee work-life balance.

These are among the business and employee benefits that can be realized through videoconferencing technologies for firms like HP and Accenture. Companies, however, have been slow to adopt these technologies for a variety of reasons, such as cost, technology limitations and a fundamental change in employee habits.

But if companies can overcome these obstacles, they stand to gain a loyal, more productive workforce and an improved bottom line, according to Paul Dickinson, executive chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project.

On Thursday, Dickinson joined Executive Editor Joel Makower in a free hour-long webcast to reveal how companies can seize the opportunities provided by what he called "transport substitution."

"Work is not a place," Dickinson said. "It's an activity."

Industry and households spend more than $1 trillion on transportation every year, he said. At the same time, global oil demand is soaring, along with the number of hours employees spend commuting.

But it doesn't have to be this way, he said, offering four simple steps for any company planning to use broadband technologies for teleworking:

1. Perform an Analysis of Technologies Using a Multidisciplinary Team

Make sure you take advantage of your in-house experts from the real estate management, IT, HR and finance departments.

2. Establish Clear Corporate Teleworking Policies

"Behavior change takes time," Dickinson said, noting how email adoption required a similar, but less dramatic behavioral change than had a large impact on the way we communicate, both personally and professionally.

3. Educate Employees about Teleworking, Policies and Goals

Discipline is required by the organization, Dickinson said. As an example, he pointed to Peter Bakker, the CEO of TNT who targeted a 20 percent decline in business travel through videoconferencing at the Royal TNT Post, an international mail delivery company. "He said he had to issue an edict saying that the employees were going to do it," Dickinson said. "He bought the technology so they could do it, but then told them they had to do it."

4. Establish the IT Infrastructure Needed for Teleworking

This may include standardized hardware, software and support services that enable employees to carry out their work wherever they may be.

The free webcast "Dial P for Progress: Money- and Carbon-Savings Broadband Strategies for Business" can be accessed here.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user edans.

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