This week is global Telework Week, the fourth-annual effort by Mobile Work Exchange to extol the benefits of telecommuting to all who will listen.
The benefits during emergencies, including the recent wild weather that has griped most of the United States, are clear. But how does telework work out on the ground, among the rank and file and managers?
Here are some first-hand employee experiences at a company that has telecommuting figured out. These are stories written by employees at WellStar Health System in Marietta, Georgia, about how they were able to keep work flowing in the face of the recent big snow storms and personal accounts of how they feel about having the option. The following include employees who work in a host of areas at WellStar, including human resources, marketing and communications, and information technology:
- “I found it to be tremendously helpful that we were able to work from home during the two ice storms we recently experienced. Instead of canceling interviews with Epic, [Epic is WellStar’s newly installed electronic medical record system that has improved integration and seamless communication between systems across the system] I coordinated conference calls between leaders and candidates. And for the few that I had to cancel, I was able to quickly reschedule them from home by communicating with the applicants to get their availability and accessing leaders’ calendars to set them up. I maintained a (phone) meeting with a new director as well, and while we are still resuming an in-person meeting, I was at least able to highlight and briefly discuss important pending offers in their department. I was also able to continue to screen new applicants to our positions. This is significant because there is some time sensitivity with reviewing applicants, particularly for urgent positions. And, of course, I was emailing constantly. I was able to maintain regular responsibilities and complete important tasks. It was really nice to have the flexibility and support from leadership to work from home and know that we did not have to risk driving on the icy roads and still not be days behind in work when we returned to the office. It was essential that we maintain business, and because we were able to work from home, we hardly missed a beat.”
- On January 28th, the weather turned for the worse very quickly. There were several interviews scheduled for the rest of the week. I was lucky to have the flexibility to work from home. I utilized my laptop and cell phone to call candidates and reschedule their interviews for the next week. I was able to still access my email through webmail as well as the application system. I reviewed candidates, sent resumes to hiring managers for review and kept working without interruption. I did hire one RN candidate for the Windy Hill Long Term Acute team during this time. My supervisor in talent acquisition kept in contact throughout the weather storm checking on me and my family and ensured that our team’s safety came first during the winter weather. On the 2nd storm, I was very thankful to be able to work from home. I utilized my laptop and cell phone to call candidates and reschedule their interviews for the next week. I was able to still access my email through webmail as well as the application system. I hired one internal candidate for the Lead Unit Support Associate position and one external Nuclear Medical Technologist for Douglas Hospital. I appreciated WellStar and the talent acquisition leadership for allowing me the flexibility to work from home and provide the great service we do for both our internal and external customers.”
- “I always feel very blessed and fortunate to have the remote position that allows me the flexibility to continue with my career and spend time and participate in many activities with my kids and husband that most traditional positions cannot allow. The snow storm was another example of one of the perks since I was able to work at home while many others were unable to get to work; and I was able to make many memories with my family at the same time since I was already home when I finished my day at work.”
- “It was incredibly convenient and beneficial to be able to work from home during the two snow/ice storms. I was able to be productive by scheduling (and rescheduling) interviews, screening applicants and being able to keep up with emails, etc. I was able to stay on top of my work and not get behind even though I was at home.”
- “During the first winter weather storm in late January, I was able to make it home safely after sending out a notification to the entire Talent Acquisition Team to also make it home safely and to take work home with them. It took several of our team members quite a long time to get to their destinations. The team messaged me once they safely arrived at a location for the duration of the night. I rescheduled interviews, screened candidates and was able to set up interviews for when we were able to safely return to the office. For the second storm, I worked from home Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I rescheduled all interviews for the following week as well as screened applicants and set up additional interviews. I filled four RN positions for Douglas Hospital (one of which is a night shift charge position for the Medical Unit, which is a hard to fill position). I was able to assist another team member with a new process that they previously have not worked with before. We were able to do this remotely. I also worked closely with the HR Rep for Douglas Hospital as well as our Talent Acquisition Supervisor for on boarding to ensure that all new hires would be able to be seen at our Blitz Appointments for new hire processing. I was in contact with my team via cell phone (voice and text message) as well as email.”
- “I wanted to share with you how much of a difference having the ability to work from home during the recent ice storms made. As a Talent Acquisition Consultant, especially in the Healthcare industry, we all know that the business is 24 hours and the work never stops. During the first storm, I was able to make calls from my car, to provide updates because I receive emails to my phone and iPad. There was no lost time being stranded for six hours. Having the ability and with leadership making the decision to place “Safety First,” afforded us the opportunity to still screen candidates or leave messages, reschedule appointments to let our prospective new employees know that we had their safety at the top of our minds, manage our requisitions, clean up requisitions, make offers, etc. Being able to be productive and keep things rolling during these unexpected storms was great. I am a die-hard believer that staffing is a 24-hour business and we should always be available, and I appreciate the fact that we were able to respond to our internal clients and our candidates.”
- “I’m pretty new at WellStar and was very glad to be able to work from home. When the first ice storm came, it took me 13 hours to get back home after work. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful to be safely working from home the next day. I was able to work on contacting passive candidates online to build our candidate pipeline for the future. I contacted close to a hundred potential candidates during the ice days. Those contacts have led to new applications for our positions and many who are considering applying in the near future.”
- “During the first snow storm, our ability to work from home helped the entire Marketing Team continue to develop and coordinate documents and plans for a major announcement that was the following week. Without this ability, we would not have been ready.”
- I wanted to let you know that being able to work home for me afforded two wonderful benefits. First, it allowed me to be home safe and with my family. Second, while I was at home, I was able to stay on top of my work load. During the second “ice-in,” I was able to make 3 external offers. I also thought it was beneficial to those new hires to stress that, although the contingent offer letter states that you need to complete your drug screen within 24 hours of the offer, they wait until it is safe for them to travel and just communicate when they had taken their drug screen. This was their first glimpse of our culture in action. It wasn’t just about getting someone into a role, but showing how WellStar values their employees. Working from home also allowed for some uninterrupted time to spend looking at my open positions and sources candidates to hiring leaders, giving those leaders an opportunity to see that our department does not stop and how we are always trying stay positive and provide world class service, even when we are not in the office.