’s May 6th issue has a good couple of articles on teleworking or working virtual. The WorldatWork Survey shows that 42% of US firms and 40% of Cdn firms are now offering telework as a way to attract & retain employees. That’s up from 25% in Canada a year ago and 32% in the US.  Good stuff.  Now…..are organizations actually supporting employees in telework? Meaning….do they have the right equipment, objectives, protocals, management processes? Well….not really.  An IDC Study shows that while organizations are equipping employees with lots of mobile devices, they have no mobile strategy — and that means they aren’t mobilizing key business applications. Securit, a Canadian records management firm, is doing some cutting edge work with RIM in bringing SAP CRM to the Blackberry — a key application for sales people.  The real difference that organizations have to understand is that just because there’s wireless access doesn’t mean there’s mobile, ubiqitous (did I spell that correctly?), intuitive access to the application on mobile devices.

There’s another article on successful teleworking in which employees are excelling and engaged.  The Canadian Telework Association has identified the 6 stages people experience:

One: I’m really excited about being able to work from home.
Two: Freedom! I have fewer distractions, more flexibility, a greater sense of accomplishment.
Three: Unfortunately a lot people – myself included – became telework junkies or teleworkaholics, and lost some of our work-life balance.
Four: Possible burn out and frustration.
Five: Lonely and isolated from co-workers and company.
Six: Final adjustment, after you’ve re-evaluated your reasons – individually and organizationally – for becoming a teleworker.
The process of moving from phase one to six may take around two years.

Too often organizations don’t take these phases, or the need for training or different working styles, into account when establishing virtual work.  Nor do organization factor in the competencies employees require to telework effectively. Burnout and isolation can all too easily occur, and, as this article points out, it is important that those teleworking are comfortable communicating at all levels of the organization and request feedback from all those with whome they interact.  I’ve just always looked at this as confidence — those who enjoy teleworking are confident and able to clearly identify expectations and deliverables with their customers, colleagues and management.  If you’re following virtual organizations, check these articles out.