Develop a Communications Plan

Develop a Communications Plan

When developing alternative work arrangements, it is important to determine when, where and how the employee is available to you, customers, and coworkers. There are personal issues, as well as business ones, to consider. The employee should consider the questions below and whether she wants coworkers, customers or other parties to have different access to her on days when she is not at work. She should review her answers with you to develop a communications plan.

Clearly, not all of the questions below apply to every work situation. The employee should address the ones that are most applicable to her job responsibilities.

How and When to Reach You

  1. When you are not in the office, how are you accessible?
  2. When are you available for calls - which days, what hours? Are there specific hours when you must be available?
  3. Have you informed others how and when you can be reached? (You might want to prepare an email or memorandum with the appropriate contact information (telephone, fax, email, etc.) on it for your manager as well as for your work group.)

Customers (Internal or External)

Before agreeing on a alternative work arrangement, you and your manager should consider the effects the new schedule has on your customers. If possible, discuss the new arrangement with your customer. Here are some points to consider:

  1. What is the best way to communicate with your customers (such as when, where and how you can be reached, who can be reached in your absence)?
  2. If there are additional people with whom the customer will be working, would it be helpful to set up a meeting to make the introductions?

Messages

  1. Where can messages be left?  (Voice mail number, home answering machine, etc.).  In order to minimize confusion, we recommend that you limit the number of places you need to check messages.

Meetings

  1. On days when you are not working, are you available for meetings in person when necessary? What contingency plans do you have in the event there is short notice for a meeting?
  2. Are you set up to participate in meetings by phone?
  3. Have you and your supervisor agreed on when staff meetings are scheduled?

Information

  1. Have you informed people about where critical information is kept? (keys, computer access, files, calendars, etc.)
  2. Are necessary computer files shared with others who might need to access them?
  3. If you’re working away from your work site, how can you access information you might need?

Receiving Feedback

  1. Have you encouraged your supervisor, coworkers, customers and other to give you feedback on how the new work schedule is working for them?

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