This week, while stuck on traffic on I-95 (which is to say, any day you commute on I-95), I heard a commercial touting the state government’s Telecommuting program. As a recipient of occasional telecommuting, I was pleased to hear the government providing information about it.
Now, you might think that because the program is really a human resources issues, it would be perfect for the Connecticut Department of Labor to oversee. They have expertise in workplace issues, after all.
You would be wrong.
The DOL’s website, in fact, has no mention of such a program. (A search on the DOL’s website finds one archaic reference to telecommuting being an option…in 2002.)
So any guesses as to who runs this program?
Connecticut’s program, entitled "Telecommute Connecticut!" is actually run by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. (Of course, you’d never know it from the DOT’s home page; there’s no link to the page anywhere in sight.)
Now, you might ask, what HR experience does the DOT have? Probably not much, according to their website. Which is why they point to three "consultants" they suggest companies can consult about telecommuting and who have assisted with the DOT’s telecommuting website.
The website, at www.telecommutect.com, contains pretty generic information about telecommuting for employers. Its still helpful in many respects. But many times it lacks specific items (such as a telecommuting policy) that would make the site most beneficial. For example, under the link entitled "Program Measurement", the website lists the following advice:
Once your telecommuting program is underway, you’ll need a means of measuring program performance. We’ll develop a methodology you can use on an ongoing basis to track your program, based on your needs and objectives. Click for your FREE Video.
Indeed, on many pages like this, there is a button you can press to request either a free "video" to learn more, or to get a "free" consultation, or to order (for free) a "Best Practices" guide. You would expect to find this approach of "teasing" some information on a sales site — not the state government.
Don’t misunderstand me — I applaud the state for recognizing this important issue and for working with employers about this; but by hiding some of the information in videos (that could be posted to YouTube) and documents to be "ordered", it prevents employers from getting the best benefit from the information. Moreover, putting this information on the DOT website where no one can find it makes it "hidden" from many employers. At the very least, there’s no reason why the DOL cannot cross-link to this program to provide employers with more information from their website. And the DOT should have such information on its home page as well.
I plan to review the website more extensively in an upcoming post to provide some additional details on the advice it provides, but in the meantime, it’s still worth a look at if your company has or is considering a telecommuting policy and practice..