One of the key organisations promoting
telework in the UK is the TCA - the Telework Association.
The TCA started life as part of the rural development
organisation, ACRE, but with an increasing interest in the broader appeal
and impact of teleworking, the Association became a separate entity in
Now it is Europe's largest organisation dedicated to the
promotion of teleworking. Over 2,000 people and organisations have joined
since it started.
"Our mission is to encourage the take up of
teleworking - with its huge range of benefits for both employer and
employee", says Executive Director Alan Denbigh. "The approach
has been to focus on the business benefits of telework and then selling
these to organisations.
"At the same time we have talked about the work/life
balance issues and these have also come to the fore more recently to
complement this message. When we go into talk to employers we admit that
we sit on both sides of the fence - we employ teleworkers as well as
working this way ourselves. I am passionate about it - it has made
so much difference to my life as well as to the way we work"
The Association provides a range of materials of interest
to the entire spectrum of teleworking, from the small virtual business to
the large company.
The TCA has also helped to promote, develop and support
the UK's network of telecottages and telecentres.
Benefits to members
People who join the TCA receive a range of benefits.
Informaiton provided by the Association includes the Teleworking
Handbook , now in its third edition which is recognised as one of the
most practical and comprehensive guides to the subject.
Members of the TCA receive Teleworker magazine
which covers a broad range of subjects from legislation through corporate
case studies, technology items and individual stories.
The Association also operates a weekly emailer which
includes a clippings bulletin and news on work opportunities sent out to
its 2,000 members.
According to Alan Denbigh the TCA also actively courts
difficult questions from the membership to our help line: "It helps
us to keep on the ball and of course we can then use the information in
The Association also runs a number of events - last year
the 7th European Assembly on Telework , Telework 2000 which was held in
London and attracted over 500 visitors. This year the Association is
running a series of roadshows in November which include Cardiff, Glasgow,
Manchester, Leeds and London.
The message will be essentially practical - why should you
do it as a business, how you do it and what the issues are that you will
meet on the way
A virtual organisation.
Practicing what it preaches the Association is run on
virtual lines - "we have a small core team spread across the UK and
work with a series of freelance specialists", according to Alan.
"Board meetings are mostly held via audio-conference which we have
done from the start. We know there are issues with working remotely and
having lived through many of them we think we are in a good position to
speak with authority".
Chair of the Association is Sheila McCaffrey based in
Northern Ireland well known as an enterprising business woman in her own
right who set up the thriving yet remotely based business KITE (Kinawley
Integrated Teleworking Enterprise) near Enniskillen. She has been a key
figure in Irish teleworking.
The Association supports itself from a mixture of
subscription income, consultancy, a range of projects and sponsorship.