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FAQ

Employee

Q:

What type of jobs are most suitable for teleworking?

A:

Most jobs that are “information-based” are appropriate for telework; typically, jobs that require activities which can be done where ever technology tools are available. It may also be worthwhile to partition work functions, if you are a part time teleworker, do the tasks that require heads down focus and concentration without distraction or constant interaction on telework days and save the collaborative group; (facility needed) tasks for at the office. Such delineation of tasks also increases productivity because it makes use of the advantages of home and other work environments to achieve peak performance. Check out our telework eligibility page by clicking here

 

Q:

I really want to start telecommuting. Any tips for convincing my manager to let me begin?

A:

Give these a try: Can you do better-quality work while telecommuting, or are you more likely to meet tight deadlines? Stress those benefits to your manager who, like most, is probably struggling to “do more with less” these days.

Instead of “convincing”, try to gently question the reluctant manager about why he or she won’t let you give it a try. You might find the manager’s reluctance is based on misinformation about what telecommuting is and how it works.

Do your homework and come up with some examples of other employees who are successfully telecommuting in your organization (yes, they’re there even if you don’t have a formal program). Tell your manager about them and encourage him/her to speak with the manager of those telecommuters to get some insights into how it’s working. Your manager might be more receptive to what that other manager has to say.

Try to get your manager to let you telecommute one day a week for a month- that four-day trial is pretty much risk-free.

Q:

How do I avoid working too much when my office is in my home?

A:

Studies show that the average hours of work per day increases for teleworkers and this is due to a few factors 1). Time spent commuting is now time spent working and 2.) Many find it requires discipline to adjust to this new way of working- you have to know when to call it a day. The best way to combat this is to get into a daily routine just as you would at the office, some even find it helpful to get up, shower and dress in business attire just to keep that office mindset. Most importantly set a schedule and keep to it, this will help others know when best to reach you and when you are “off-duty”.

 

Q:

What are the tax implications for teleworkers?

A:

This in an area that can be a bit fuzzy, there are several scenarios to consider when looking at telework taxation issues and rulings vary from state to state.

  • Working from Home for an Employer in Another State or Country
  • Home Office Tax Deduction for Telecommuters
  • Tax Credits and Incentives for Employees and Employers

Click here for a detailed explanation of each

http://mobileoffice.about.com/od/remoteworklifestyle/a/telecommuting-and-taxes.htm

To learn more about taxation in your state, please visit our legislation page and click on the state map for additional resources

 

Q:

How many days per week should I telework?

A:

There is no “right” number of days per week to telework, typically on average, people telework 1-3 days per week but that of course varies based on each unique situation. Today’s technology of video conferencing, cloud computing, social media, smart phones, the list goes on and on…pretty much can enable telework anytime and often virtually anywhere.

 

Q:

Will I ruin my chance of advancing my career if I work at home?

A:

There is no evidence that suggests engaging in a telework arrangement will hinder any chance of promotion. In fact, in a true results based environment, this should prove quite the contrary. If you’re performance is solely based on the timeliness and accuracy of your output, then the skills and abilities you possess may become even more apparent to your manager.

 

Employer

Q:
How do I know an employee is working when I can’t see them?

A:
Effective performance management is the same whether or not an employee teleworks. Managers should measure employee performance by results, not physical presence.

 

Q:
Do I have to manage a teleworker differently than my in-office staff?

A:
Managers should not have to manage teleworkers’ performance any differently than other employees’. However, telework may require some changes in communication techniques, and managers may need to be more mindful of the ways they assign and reward work to ensure they are equitable.

 

Q:
Does an employee have a right to telework?

A:
No. typically, management decides whether an employee can work off-site, depending on the nature of the position and the characteristics of the employee and his/her workgroup. In addition, management has the right to end an employee’s telework arrangement if it is no longer viable for business-based reasons – for example, if the employee’s performance declines or if the arrangement no longer meets the organization’s needs.

 

Q:
How does the employer deal with the fact that some people can telecommute and others just can’t?

A:
First, make it clear that telecommuting is nothing more than a different job assignment, and not a perk or benefit. The key is to prevent the perception that employees are entitled to telecommute. Also, many employers have found that offering a range of flexible work options is an effective way to avoid these problems. Those who can’t telecommute might be able to job-share or work in some other kind of alternative schedule or staffing arrangement.

 

Q:
Should employees be required to purchase their own equipment?

A:
Generally, employers have provided the equipment for telecommuters; it’s viewed as providing the “tools” of the workplace wherever it happens to be. In some cases the employees have been asked – or required – to pay for their own PCs as a condition of telecommuting. This can cause a real hardship on some employees. Many companies offer a set stipend for equipment and furniture to ensure their workers are set up properly and to reduce any chance of liability claims.

 

Q:
What are the characteristics of a good telecommuter?

A
Good employees make good telecommuters. Someone whose performance is mediocre in the office isn’t likely to do well away from the office. Look for people with demonstrated ability to manage their own time and workload well, solve many of their own problems, and find satisfaction in completing tasks on their own with minimal direct supervision.

 

Q:
What are the tax implications for teleworkers?

A:
This in an area that can be a bit fuzzy, there are several scenarios to consider when looking at telework taxation issues and rulings vary from state to state.

  • Working from Home for an Employer in Another State or Country
  • Home Office Tax Deduction for Telecommuters
  • Tax Credits and Incentives for Employees and Employers

Click here for a detailed explanation of each
http://mobileoffice.about.com/od/remoteworklifestyle/a/telecommuting-and-taxes.htm

To learn more about taxation in your state, please visit our legislation page and click on the state map for additional resources.

 

Q:
How do we accommodate employees eligible for telework that live in a remote location?

A:
The key to this is working with a service provider that can accommodate technology services in remote areas. Most cable companies operate under regional classifications so that they can develop services and programs that cater to a specific area of the country. As for establishing furniture services, look for a company that has the capability to deliver and install without any location restriction.

Dealer

Q:
What accounts do you currently work with which have multiple regional locations or have a national territory with office locations?

A:
Once you have identified these accounts, inquire whether they have tried to solve their remote furniture needs internally. Did they have successful outcomes? Typically, due to the complexities of remote worker office needs and regulations, these internal attempts result in a failure. These not-so-successful experiences prove to be invaluable. Because now, these accounts truly appreciate the attention to detail and expertise that remote office furniture specialist provide.

Q:
Rather than managing their remote office fulfillment internally, did they work with a local office furniture Dealer?

A:
In reality, many office furniture dealers do not have the time and resources to manage small orders all across the country. Instead they find, hire and indirectly project manage these individual orders, plus coordinate the regional installers in different locations. It is important to assure these accounts that you are backed by specialist who are remote office fulfillment experts that have years of experience in doing the job right.

Q:
Do any of your clients have a Flexible Work Program?

A:
Whether they have a program or not, this is a good time to discuss the growing trend in companies offering flexible work programs where employees can work remotely. Many job functions support Flexible Work Programs, such as field sales, call center, customer service, billing, and computer programming positions.

Q:
Why is this trend expanding so rapidly over the past 10 years?

A:
Companies offer remote work incentives to entice new hires to join their firm, such as recent graduates who are accustomed to working from a variety of locations like libraries, classrooms and dorms. Some of the companies implementing Telework programs are trying to reduce costs of real estate and overhead. Telework also supports a growing commitment to a healthier philosophy of work/life balance.

Q:
Do Financial and Insurance Industries employ Remote workers?

A:
Yes, we’ve been very successful implementing Work at Home programs for both the Insurance and Financial markets. Since they are familiar with the legal insurance responsibilities for employees, they are exceptional candidates to support with Work at Home service programs.

Q:
Are there other programs available that are not as structured as a full telework program?

A:
It’s possible that a company may offer a funded furniture purchase program. If they do not, this is a good opportunity to talk about the liability factors in having a remote work force. When the company allows employees to work from home, the employer is ultimately responsible for any worker compensation issues that may happen while the employee is working on the job.

Click here to understand best practices for employer’s remote office liabilities
http://www.lanepowell.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/ostroffp_009pdf.pdf

Q:
What other benefits are available with a funded furniture purchase program?

A:
By providing a dedicated work station, the employee is given safe office environment to work within. In addition, a funded furniture purchase program reflects the company’s commitment to supporting the health and well being of their employees. In return, research has proven that employees become more dedicated in their work efforts when a company invests in their personal well-being.
Click here to learn more about increased employee productivity:
http://www.theofficeevolution.com/wp-content/uploads/Telework-Feature-Oct2013.pdf

Q:
Do you know the HR or Facility Managers in your accounts?

A:
Most Work at Home Programs start in the HR Department rather than in the facility department. In fact, many facility managers do not want to get involved with the furniture needs for home offices. It may become too much trouble and too much work outside of their existing facility responsibilities.

The best approach is to ask for a referral into the Human Resource Department, for an opportunity to share your program. Keep in mind that regardless whether their program for Work at Home is employer or employee funded, say through an Employee Purchase Discount Programs, we can help you to support furniture offerings for both types of programs with our Direct Ship delivery and if needed, full service installation.

Q:
What competitive accounts are you trying to develop?

A:
We advise that when you approach competitively held accounts, focus your conversation from a completely different perspective. A unique way to get into a competitive account is to introduce how you provide a full service support network for fulfilling Work at Home programs. Although you are truly trying to change their corporate furniture standard, you are also providing insight for the customer on how they can gain immediate expertise on a new concept that is working across the nation.

Q:
How do you register a Work at Home opportunity?

A:
Contact your BBF representative or bbfsales@bushfurniture.com. To ensure your registration is complete please provide the prospects name, company, address, email, the city and location of their corporate office, plus the regional location where you‘ll need to make the actual end user contact.

Typically accounts are registered for a period of 6 months. If no activity has been generated within this time frame and the Regional BBF Vice President of Sales has not been involved in assisting with any direct end user or dealer meetings, this prospect can be removed from the CRM for another dealer to develop this Work at Home opportunity.

Program Coordinator

Q:
Do you have multiple locations? How are you handling the furniture needs in these remote locations?

A:
We offer a national program that enables you to drop ship furniture anywhere in the 48 states in 3-5 business days. Plus we can install anywhere in the continental US within 7-10 days. (remote locations may take longer, but we’ll go the extra mile) We also offer consistent pricing no matter where the installation may be. This allows you to create a set price nationally for each furniture bundle selected in your program.

Q:
Do you have employees working remotely? If so, in what capacity?

A:
We’re interested in understanding if you currently offer a employer funded remote office furniture program or are you leaving it up to the employee to go find their workstation? If you are not offering an employer funded program, we can help you to provide a Employee Advantage Discount Program using a comprehensive Idea Book of predesigned office furniture workstations and components.

Q:
Why not just let the employee figure their furniture out for themselves?

A:
Give your employees the same corporate discount that your company would receive. The only requirement of this valuable employee benefit is that each employee is responsible for selecting and purchasing the office furniture for themselves.

In addition, the employee has the option to add-on our Install 360 program. This allows them to avoid the risks of improper assembly and the convenience of having their office installed and ready to go immediately. Remember, if your employee is injured at work, even installing their workstation, your company would be liable.

Q:
How well has your Work at Home program worked or hasn’t it worked?

A:
If your answer is not good, you are not alone. Typically we hear that it becomes too difficult for corporation to manage, or that their dealer couldn’t get it right all the time, plus they failed to offer consistent pricing across the country. It seemed impossible.

Q:
If it hasn’t worked in the past, why will this time be different?

A:
This is where our solution comes into play. We offer the same pricing for delivered and installed bundles anywhere across the country. We provide free space planning and revisions. We work together to specify products, designs and make functional suggestions. We will manage the installation, from beginning to end, through a detailed punch list resolution. Your employee isn’t calling the HR Department or Facilities Manager if they have a problem. We are your Program Manager and Customer Support Team from day one. It’s like having a dedicated Work at Home Project Manager.

Q:
What are some the of the concerns you have about offering a employee funded furniture program?

A:
We understand that it is critical to truly listen to your concerns. We’ve heard, “What if the employee quits or is fired?” What happens to the furniture? Do we need to ship it back to the Office? Who will handle the shipping? These concerns are focused on managing the unexpected changes and who has the extra time to resolve these issues.

Q:
How will we ever manage this inventory of remote furniture?

A:
This question and concern is exactly what is so great about our program. Overall, the cost is somewhat minimal to the employers work environment and equipment budget. Typically it may costs around $10,000 annually to support a employee in a office cubical setting in a typical office. Our program is a one time cost of an estimated $750 – $1200. That’s it. So whatever the situation or unexpected change, the furniture is never returned to the corporate office, It’s just a cost of doing business.

Here is how we supported American Express with their Work at Home program:

http://www.bbffits.mobi/case_study/CASE_STUDY_AMEX.pdf