Telework Handbook from Fergus Falls: Great Resource

fergus falls teleworkFergus Falls is the “self-proclaimed Telework Capitol of Minnesota.” I’ve written about them before. I think their approach is great. What they call “self-proclaimed,” I’d call setting a goal and meeting it. They put a stake in the ground and said, we’re going to be leaders in telework and then they made it happen. Last year the received national recognition as a Smart Rural Community, in part due to their work with telework.

The recently published a handbook/case study on the work they’ve done in their community. Here’s the table of contents:

  • What is Telework? …………………………………………………………………….4
  • Why Worry About telework? Why now? ………………………………….5
  • The Fergus Falls Telework Journey Begins ……………………………….8
  • The Telework Hotel – a Place to Get’r Done …………………………….11
  • Telework Marketing and Support ……………………………………………..18
  • Finding a Telework Job ………………………………………………………………28
  • Identifying Your Local Talent …………………………………………………….31
  • Hiring Teleworkers – the Business Side ……………………………………36
  • Finding Workers or Jobs ……………………………………………………………38
  • Outcomes ………………………………………………………………………………….39
  • Keep Telework in Perspective …………………………………………………..42
  • Looking Ahead …………………………………………………………………………..42

It’s a nice example of public-private partnership. Community leaders formed a group called Forward Fergus Falls and worked closely with the local broadband provider Park Region Telephone/Otter Tail Telcom to plan for the future. They worked within the community to create the infrastructure and demand for telework. They created their Telework Hotel and brought broadband to home businesses. They also spoke to businesses, employees and potential entrepreneurs in the area about the benefits of telework. Then they spoke with people outside the area about the great workers and infrastructure back in Fergus Falls – promoting their own as just the sort of folks you’d want to hire. My favorite story is how they work with the State to add “online” as a job location – making it easier for employers to promote telework jobs.

It’s all in the handbook, which would be inspirational and instructive for any community thinking about a similar journey.

This entry was posted in economic development, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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