Hudson Institute, Workforce 2020 Conference, September 23, 1998

Outline of Presentation
Telework, Flextime, and Officing for Workforce 2020
by John S. Niles
Global Telematics, Seattle

Background Paper


1. Flexwork Means
Flextime (compressed, variable)
Flexplace (telework, telecommuting)
Non standard employment and outsourcing

2. Flextime Varieties of Full-time Employment
4-10 or 9-9 compressed work week
Flexible but scheduled start/quit time
Daily variability

3. Telework Varieties
Home telecommuting
Telecenter/satellite telecommuting
Virtual office worker
Mobile professionals
Decentralized work groups
Independent homeworkers

4. U.S. work-at-home telecommuters: 15.7 million in 1998

5. Alternative Officing
Telework Centers
Satellite Offices
Facilities Exchange
Non-Territorial Offices
Shared Space
Activity Settings
Watering Hole
Team Suites aka Teaming Space

6. Teleworking applies to portions of jobs

7. Flexplace implies flextime

8. Employee or Contractor?
Criteria that suggest flexplace/flextime:
where work is done
when work is done
how work is managed
how work is compensated
amount of control over worker

9. Spectrum of Worker Possibility

Military Model -------------------- Free Agent Nation
Cubicles and working hours -------- Work Anytime/Anywhere

10. Why Flexwork?
Technology-Driven Options
Demand from Workers
Expands the Workforce
Improves Organizational Performance

11. Temporary Barriers to Flexwork
Technology shortcomings
Legal issues
Labor unions

12. Manageable Concerns with Flexwork
Industrial strength change
Not suitable for some people
Not easy to manage
Can evolve to dysfunction
Suitability changes as people change
Measuring productivity

13. Productivity Improvement Scenarios
Office baseline average: writes 8 reports in 8 hours
Flex outcome scenarios:
10 reports in 8 hours, same quality
9 reports in 9 hours, same quality, same salary
8 reports in 8 hours, better quality
8 reports in 6 hours; self directed training for 2 hours
8 reports in 6 hours; helps kids with homework and takes care of elderly mother for 2 extra hours
8 reports in 8 hours; much happier, takes less sick leave
Variation on last 4: 7 reports produced instead of 8

14. Welfare-to-Work
Issue: physical access to suburban jobs
In practice, flexwork = white collar
Flexwork = tenured & best employees
Telework centers unsuccessful
Most success, Blue Line Televillage in LA
Needed: transition, aggregation, portal

15. Policy Level Concerns
Strengths of proximity and face time
Household and family life
Physical and mental health
Land use pattern and travel
Role of government

16. Recommendations for Government
Promote -- Don't overpromote
Stay out of technical assistance
Focus DOT on Transportation
Implement for government agencies

17. Recommendations for Organizations
Add flexwork to the tool kit
Focus on mission enhancement
Aim at one big problem
Recognize limits

18. Recommendations for Workers
Learn the technology
Learn to work remotely
Package and market you

19. Good Flexwork:
NOT simply: anything, anywhere, anytime.
Instead: remoteness and proximity are consciously, artfully intermixed.

Questions or comments? Call John Niles at 206-781-4475