Click here to load reader

ED115: Policies & Protocols for 21 st Century Legal Aid

  • View
    21

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

ED115: Policies & Protocols for 21 st Century Legal Aid. April 4, 2008 http://lsntap.org/ed115. Introduction. Gabrielle Hammond, Presenter. Presenter, Gabrielle Hammond National Technology Assistance Project (NTAP). - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of ED115: Policies & Protocols for 21 st Century Legal Aid

Wikis & Project Management Tools in Legal ServicesApril 4, 2008
Gabrielle Hammond, founder of NTAP, project manager.
*
Technology intersects with our practices of poverty law.
*
*
Remote Worker & Telecommunication
Your website is your online storefront.
*
A domain name is an online storefront. It is unique and permanent, i.e., a web fingerprint.
While domain names are not trademarks, nevertheless, they function as ‘quasi-trademarks.’
*
Can low income internet users recognize you online?
*
*
What is a Cyber squatter? Someone or an entity that maliciously uses a variation of your legal aid program's website address and poses as you online.
*
42% of LSC-funded programs had a cyber squatter. (July 2007)
*
Although the incidence of cyber squatting is high, 56% of legal aid programs can deter cyber squatting by purchasing open .net or .com domain names. As of June 2007, only 5 programs (4%) had done so.
There are other ways to protect your name. That’s where policies come in.
How they take your url:
You let your domain expire
You do not purchase all versions and acronyms of your website identity
The contact you provided is no longer valid
*
Are You At-Risk?
Even if you don’t want your website to be heavily visited
Even if you don’t spend a lot of time on your website
Even if you monitor it yearly or periodically
The Answer is Yes: Online and Offline
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Nearly four years ago, Rothschild said his organization, represented by the Los Angeles office of Jones Day, sued the California Law Clinic, a Los Angeles-based business, for misrepresenting itself as a public interest organization working on behalf of low-income people.
The clinic operated under several other names, including Legal Aid Crenshaw and Legal Aid Compton, in areas where the Legal Aid Foundation has offices.
In 2005, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James R. Dunn issued an injunction against the clinic and its principal, Jerry Bloom.
Dunn ruled that Bloom, who used several aliases, had engaged in false advertising and unfair competition and willfully infringed the trademark that the Legal Aid Foundation had on its name. The judge awarded $1.5 million in damages, but Rothschild said Bloom "skipped town" before the damages could be collected.
Legal Services of Northern California & Bay Area Legal Aid
*
Trademark your name
Litigation
Whether you know it or not, there is a strong chance that your client community is confused when trying to search for your program name online. And, whether you know it or not, there is a very strong possibility that your website URL brothers and sisters have deceptive websites posing as you and charging for services.
Cyber piracy is only one part of deceptive practices that steal our strongest intellectual property – our name. Legal aid programs are still fighting local scams from phone book posers. Increasingly, we’re finding national scams via mailers targeting our client community.
While cyber piracy involves the Internet, it is not a technological issue. Cyber piracy and other offline deceptive practices that confuse your client community are programmatic issues of the 21st century that require directors to manage them proactively.
*
http://www.lsntap.org/practical_steps_protect_your_online_presence
Purchase & register popular variations of your name
Monitor your online & offline presence
Register Trademarks
Have a plan of action for fraudulent practices
Every program will face issues with protecting its intellectual property. With the Internet, intellectual property is routinely threatened by cyber squatters posing as your legal aid organization to an unknowing user base. Mail and telephone book scams that feature “legal aid-like” entities offer equally deceptive practices to your client community.
While these protocols may not insure you against having to deal with such deceptive practices, they will minimize your exposure to them and prepare you for swift and effective response that will benefit your program and reduce client confusion. We recommend your program consider these simple protocols and adopt them as part of your administrative policies.
Protect your website. It is your online identity and storefront.
Most legal aid programs have strong name recognition in their communities. Even those that have recently changed their names are often still found under the generic term “legal aid”. Online users trying to find legal help will be hard-pressed to distinguish your program from deceptive counterparts, especially if name recognition is not applicable. A critical part of preventing cyber piracy practices is to protect your program’s website(s) and your statewide website.
Keep your domain name registration up-to-date. It is much easier to prevent problems than address them once revealed. Predatory groups seek out lapsed domain registrations to snatch up and hold hostage. Legal aid organizations can be susceptible to this threat if there is turnover in technology staff or other extenuating circumstances. To prevent your domain name from lapsing:
** POLICY: Keep all domain registration information among your organization’s important documents. Make sure that the e-mail address provided to the organization with which you registered your domain will go to multiple parties within your organization. Many sites setup an admin email (i.e. [email protected]) that goes to multiple recipients, as a backup in case one person is not available. Additionally, consider setting up automatic renewal. That way, your organization will receive notification of the renewal and will need to take action only if the credit card or other method of payment is no longer valid.
Purchase popular variations of your domain name. The easiest way to deter a thief is to simply lock the door. The same is true for your online identity. To safeguard your identify, make sure your program takes steps to “close the door” on open domain names that are similar to yours.
Register all applicable names of your organization to prevent easy squatting. (Registering additional names can cost as little as $6 per name. You can use companies like 1and1 or Dotster for domain hosting that is affordable and easy.) Identify what URLs you currently own. Consider (and brainstorm) alternative names of those URLs that partners or clients may use to reach you. For example, if your program name is Legal Aid Society of Big State, you may own the URL www.legalaidbigstate.org. Consider the other URLs, such as: “legalaidofbigstate.org, LAOBS.org, and bigstatelegalaid.org”. Similarly, if your program has changed its name or merged to become a different program in the last 15 years, consider purchasing URLs of the older names and their variations. All of these URLs can point to your current site, but at least you will own it and can control where users will be trafficked. For all domains on the list, include variations that are misspelled. Lastly, for all domains in the list, purchase all like names with variations in the address i.e., .org, .com, .net. You may also include .us, which is gaining in use.
Identify and keep a list of URLs that are or should be property of your program. Include when purchased, who the registration company is, how much each costs, date of renewal, person responsible, administrative email and password to view account, back-up persons receiving notifications, and a copy of domain registry report (e.g., found at http://www.whois.net/) with a date that shows these domain names and ownership. (Who Is.Net allows you to input your domain names and view who owns it. We recommend that you print this annually or PDF to keep in a paper or electronic file for your records.
Monitor your online presence. Monitoring your online presence is a proactive – and consistent -- activity. There is more than one account of a program who actively monitored their presence, but in the span of a two month hiatus found a new threat had arisen in that short time. Assign the responsibility to a staff person and articulate the expectation on approach and frequency of monitoring. We recommend that at least once a month, monitoring approaches should include at a minimum the following practices:
If there are domains you do not own that are similar in nature, abbreviations of your name, or contain other addresses like .com or .net, type those addresses in. If any produce any website that is either posing as a legal aid program or offering other inappropriate content, complete a Who Is domain search and document the date of purchase, name and address of owner, and contact information.
Query at least Google (and ideally these search engines -- Yahoo, MSN, and AOL) for your organization’s name and variations of the name to ensure no one is using it improperly. For example, if your organization’s name is Legal Aid of Big State, search for “Legal Aid of Big State, Big State Legal Aid, Big State Legal Services, and Big State Free Legal Help.” Print or otherwise document the search results on the first page. Note the sponsored links and assess if any that are not your organization show up as your organization’s name. Consider expanding your search Web 2.0 applications like YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. For any violators, click to their website to document their services and advertising market. Document their contact information and review their ownership information on Who Is.
Purposely misspell your website’s URL to check for “typo squatting” piracy. Make sure these misspelled URLs do not take users to an alternative website owned by a cyber squatter.
 
Protect Your Name Offline, Too.
 
Purchase Your Protection “Insurance” -- Register Your Trademarks
Registering a trademark can create a presumption that you are the owner of that mark and provide greater legal protection against unauthorized use. It is like an insurance policy. You pay for the mark, but if there is an action, your claim will be easier to pursue and you will have remedies available to you.
Trademark law governs the use of trademarks by individuals and legal entities to identify their goods or services and to distinguish those goods or services from those sold or provided by others. Your organization may be able to trademark its “service mark” (i.e., Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Illinois Legal Aid Online) to distinguish it from other organizations providing services. Common legal aid names may also be trademarked with limited protections.
The cost of trademark can be $325 - 375 per application. If you find a cyber squatter, a trademarked name will have more remedies available to protect the name and demand that the squatter cease and desist. In addition, monetary remedies may be available.
Utilize the pro bono assistance provided through the NTAP Cyber Piracy Project, funded by the Legal Services Corporation, to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. (More information about this program can be found in our LStech Resource Center Cyber Piracy Section .)
Know How to Take Action Again Fraudulent Practices
What are Your Legal Remedies? Organizations that face competitive businesses that are posing as their legal aid entity have several remedies available to them, including
(a) requesting voluntary transfer of the name or business entity,
(b) initiating a Uniform Dispute Resolution Proceeding with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),
(c) or file suit in Federal Court under the Anti-Cyber Squatting Consumer Protection Act.
For more information on each of these, visit http://www.lsntap.org/CyberPiracy_Take_Action
*
Keep all domain registration information among your organization’s important documents.
Ensure communication redundancy on renewals & billing for domain names.
Consider setting up automatic renewal.
*
Keep your domain name registration up-to-date. It is much easier to prevent problems than address them once revealed. Predatory groups seek out lapsed domain registrations to snatch up and hold hostage. Legal aid organizations can be susceptible to this threat if there is turnover in technology staff or other extenuating circumstances. To prevent your domain name from lapsing:
** POLICY: Keep all domain registration information among your organization’s important documents. Make sure that the e-mail address provided to the organization with which you registered your domain will go to multiple parties within your organization. Many sites setup an admin email (i.e. [email protected]) that goes to multiple recipients, as a backup in case one person is not available. Additionally, consider setting up automatic renewal. That way, your organization will receive notification of the renewal and will need to take action only if the credit card or other method of payment is no longer valid.
Purchase popular variations of your domain name. The easiest way to deter a thief is to simply lock the door. The same is true for your online identity. To safeguard your identify, make sure your program takes steps to “close the door” on open domain names that are similar to yours.
Register all applicable names of your organization to prevent easy squatting. (Registering additional names can cost as little as $6 per name. You can use companies like 1and1 or Dotster for domain hosting that is affordable and easy.) Identify what URLs you currently own. Consider (and brainstorm) alternative names of those URLs that partners or clients may use to reach you. For example, if your program name is Legal Aid Society of Big State, you may own the URL www.legalaidbigstate.org. Consider the other URLs, such as: “legalaidofbigstate.org, LAOBS.org, and bigstatelegalaid.org”. Similarly, if your program has changed its name or merged to become a different program in the last 15 years, consider purchasing URLs of the older names and their variations. All of these URLs can point to your current site, but at least you will own it and can control where users will be trafficked. For all domains on the list, include variations that are misspelled. Lastly, for all domains in the list, purchase all like names with variations in the address i.e., .org, .com, .net. You may also include .us, which is gaining in use.
*
*
Purchase popular variations of your domain name. The easiest way to deter a thief is to simply lock the door. The same is true for your online identity. To safeguard your identify, make sure your program takes steps to “close the door” on open domain names that are similar to yours.
Register all applicable names of your organization to prevent easy squatting. (Registering additional names can cost as little as $6 per name. You can use companies like 1and1 or Dotster for domain hosting that is affordable and easy.) Identify what URLs you currently own. Consider (and brainstorm) alternative names of those URLs that partners or clients may use to reach you. For example, if your program name is Legal Aid Society of Big State, you may own the URL www.legalaidbigstate.org. Consider the other URLs, such as: “legalaidofbigstate.org, LAOBS.org, and bigstatelegalaid.org”. Similarly, if your program has changed its name or merged to become a different program in the last 15 years, consider purchasing URLs of the older names and their variations. All of these URLs can point to your current site, but at least you will own it and can control where users will be trafficked. For all domains on the list, include variations that are misspelled. Lastly, for all domains in the list, purchase all like names with variations in the address i.e., .org, .com, .net. You may also include .us, which is gaining in use.
*
Make it someone’s job to check.
Make it someone’s job to supervise and report to.
*
Monitor your online presence. Monitoring your online presence is a proactive – and consistent -- activity. There is more than one account of a program who actively monitored their presence, but in the span of a two month hiatus found a new threat had arisen in that short time. Assign the responsibility to a staff person and articulate the expectation on approach and frequency of monitoring. We recommend that at least once a month, monitoring approaches should include at a minimum the following practices:
If there are domains you do not own that are similar in nature, abbreviations of your name, or contain other addresses like .com or .net, type those addresses in. If any produce any website that is either posing as a legal aid program or offering other inappropriate content, complete a Who Is domain search and document the date of purchase, name and address of owner, and contact information.
Query at least Google (and ideally these search engines -- Yahoo, MSN, and AOL) for your organization’s name and variations of the name to ensure no one is using it improperly. For example, if your organization’s name is Legal Aid of Big State, search for “Legal Aid of Big State, Big State Legal Aid, Big State Legal Services, and Big State Free Legal Help.” Print or otherwise document the search results on the first page. Note the sponsored links and assess if any that are not your organization show up as your organization’s name. Consider expanding your search Web 2.0 applications like YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. For any violators, click to their website to document their services and advertising market. Document their contact information and review their ownership information on Who Is.
Purposely misspell your website’s URL to check for “typo squatting” piracy. Make sure these misspelled URLs do not take users to an alternative website owned by a cyber squatter.
 
Protect Your Name Offline, Too.
*
*
Trademark Your Name
Entitles you to easier remedies if a problem occurs -- whether through ICANN, litigation, or negotiation. May be monetary damages.
Helps with online predatory practices -- and offline ones too!
Purchase Your Protection “Insurance” -- Register Your Trademarks
Registering a trademark can create a presumption that you are the owner of that mark and provide greater legal protection against unauthorized use. It is like an insurance policy. You pay for the mark, but if there is an action, your claim will be easier to pursue and you will have remedies available to you.
Trademark law governs the use of trademarks by individuals and legal entities to identify their goods or services and to distinguish those goods or services from those sold or provided by others. Your organization may be able to trademark its “service mark” (i.e., Pine Tree Legal Assistance, Illinois Legal Aid Online) to distinguish it from other organizations providing services. Common legal aid names may also be trademarked with limited protections.
The cost of trademark can be $325 - 375 per application. If you find a cyber squatter, a trademarked name will have more remedies available to protect the name and demand that the squatter cease and desist. In addition, monetary remedies may be available.
*
Legal Services NTAP www.lsntap.org
Get Help to Trademark
Pro Bono Counsel (Milbank & Tweed and Dickstein & Shapiro) can file these applications for you.
$325 - $375 for your program
Start here:
What is your commitment and plan for action?
Voluntary transfer of name
Uniform Dispute Resolution Proceeding through ICANN
File a suit in Federal Court under Anti-Cyber Squatting Consumer Protection Act
State Bar Options
*
Know How to Take Action Again Fraudulent Practices
What are Your Legal Remedies? Organizations that face competitive businesses that are posing as their legal aid entity have several remedies available to them, including
(a) requesting voluntary transfer of the name or business entity,
(b) initiating a Uniform Dispute Resolution Proceeding with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),
(c) or file suit in Federal Court under the Anti-Cyber Squatting Consumer Protection Act.
For more information on each of these, visit http://www.lsntap.org/CyberPiracy_Take_Action
*
Remote Worker & Telecommunication
*
 
 
The good news is our time is now. The environmental movement may be decades old, but in the wake of The 11th Hour and An Inconvenient Truth, the depth of the environmental problems we face cannot be tabled for a later generation. As part of the work we do, managers and leaders in legal aid programs are looking for ways to integrate practices that align with environmental solutions, and not add to the problems. The time has come for legal services to adopt energy efficient and sustainable policies.
What is Green?
*
Legal Services NTAP www.lsntap.org
Do legal aid programs, as champions of fighting injustice, have what it takes to be at the forefront of modeling practices that also fight injustice to the larger global environment?
*
The question is: Do legal aid programs, as champions of fighting injustice, have what it takes to be at the forefront of modeling practices that also fight injustice to the larger global environment? While some argue that the answer to that question is correlated to cost, others argue it is a matter of will. Regardless of the extent to which your program can and will incorporate a vision to help reduce your staffs’ and offices’ impacts on the world’s growing environmental crises, one thing is clear: we have a global problem which can no longer be ignored.
Whether or not your program elects to make large-scale or small changes to address them is now a matter of your vision, programmatic will, and resources -- not of ignorance.
*
Total Costs per Year for a SINGLE Computer
Computer & monitor left on for 24 hrs (832.2 kw.) = $93.26/yr
 Computer only left on for 24 hrs (547.5 kw.) = $71.90/yr
Monitor only left on for 24 hours (284.7 kw.) = $31.91/yr
Cost per Year for 125 Computers
Computer and monitor left on = $11,657.50 / yr
Computer only left on = $7,670.00 / yr
Monitor only left on = $3,988.75 /yr
*
*
Consider energy offsets
*
 
Your office environment (and related props) include: lighting, HVAC, appliances, electronics, paper and office supplies, kitchen and bathroom practices and supplies, cleaning practices, trash, and water management. The easiest place to start is to inventory how your program currently manages each of these areas and define policy goals or protocols for them according to improved efficiency.
Inventory NTAP’s Practices
Over the next two years, NTAP will inventory various practices related to work or office environments to evaluate staffs’ habits regarding electricity usage, paper usage, equipment or office supply purchasing, recycling, production of paper documents, transportation for work, energy efficiency, and gift purchasing. Based on the findings, NTAP staff and board will recommend approaches to improve its collective footprint.
Sustainable Building Practices
 
NTAP currently does not own or lease building space for its employees, and will continue this protocol of fostering remote employees as long as is feasible. However, if NTAP’s growth leads to leasing or owning building space, NTAP will inventory the proposed office environment relative to efficiency standards, including: HVAC, lighting, appliances, kitchen and bathroom utilities, cleaning practices, trash and water management. In lease negotiations, NTAP will consider the building’s environmental impact related to HVAC, appliance maintenance or purchase, trash, cleaning, and lighting.
Office Environment Protocols
 
Electricity
 
Conserve energy and electricity.
Set computers to standby mode after 10 minutes of non-use. During work times, employees and contractors are encouraged to adopt a practice that sets their computer to standby mode after 10 minutes of non-use, which allows the machine to boot up faster than if it were turned off.
Turn off office equipment when not in use. During non-work hours, equipment should be turned off completely, including: non-server PC’s, PC’s not remotely accessed, monitors, speakers, radios, and printers. Work equipment should be plugged into a power strip that is turned off completely.
Turn off lights when leaving your work area.
Manage efficiency of heating and cooling. In summer and winter especially, close the blinds if the heat results in your need to use air conditioning or open them if it is cool and requires your use of heat.
Purchase or Use Compact Florescent Light Bulbs. If every household in the U.S. replaced just ONE regularly used incandescent light bulb with an energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL), it would eliminate the roughly equivalent of the emissions created by one million cars. And that's only one bulb per household! Most homes have 15-30 bulbs.
Replacing a 100-watt bulb with a 25-watt CFL Bulb saves 2000 lbs of CO2 from being released in the atmosphere and saves $72 over the life of the bulb. CFL’s are widely available on the Internet and at home improvement and general merchandise stores.
These bulbs provide the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs at one-fourth to one-fifth the energy cost and they last much longer than regular bulbs.
NTAP will use Compact Florescent Light Bulbs for lighting in any leased or owned offices. As part of its budget, over the next two years, NTAP will consider allocating resources to the purchase of up to five Compact Florescent Light bulbs (or other similar product as they arrive to market, like LED) for each employee to be installed in their home or the homes of relatives or family.
Purchases
While legal aid and nonprofit budgets are lean, it is important to accurately budget for the cost of doing business aligned with these principles so that the work of justice is not done at the expense of our environment. Toward this end, NTAP will commit to:
Adopt purchasing protocols that support this commitment. NTAP will purchase only Energy Star equipment whenever possible.
Implement Energy Offset Purchases within Two Years. As part of its budget, over the next two years, NTAP will explore the allocation of resources to purchase renewable power offsets to offset its estimated electrical and transportation consumption. The offsets go to purchase energy from wind farms and to fund new wind production capacity to contribute to a cleaner power grid. Staff is encouraged to personally buy energy offsets for their personal consumption. (Recommendation: Purchase offsets at http://www.renewablechoice.com/ . For $30 - $50 a month you can offset the CO2 of a typical home.)
Consider Alternatives to Wood. When purchasing wood furniture, NTAP will consider the following factors as primary in purchasing: using or purchasing recycled wood options; buying new furniture bearing the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which indicates the wood is being harvested in a sustainable manner; and reusing donated furniture; and other similar factors as a primary.
Paper Purchasing. Paper manufacturing is the third larges user of fossil fuels worldwide. The Energy Information Administration states on its website that “a paper mill uses 40% less energy to make paper from recycled paper than it does to make paper from fresh lumbar.” Purchasing 100% post-consumer recycled paper lightens’ one’s carbon footprint by five pounds of carbon dioxide per ream. While cost of paper product remains a key factor in purchasing, NTAP will prioritize purchase of unbleached, recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer waste.
Cleaning Supplies. While NTAP does not have a building maintenance protocol, remote office locations with staff are encouraged to use nontoxic, organic compounds as their cleaning supplies. Should NTAP lease or own a building, NTAP will strive to negotiate for similar supplies being used to clean the offices.
Travel and Transportation
 
 
 
 
Paper Products
 
 
 
Use only 100% post consumer paper for all printing and copying.
Use only 100% post-consumer recycled or plant-based compostable plates, silverware and drinking cups at NTAP events.
Buy only the recycled content (with the maximum percentage of post-consumer possible) paper pads, file folders, envelopes and other office supplies whenever available.
Use 100% post-consumer recycled paper towels and napkins.
Consider non-tree based paper such as from hemp and other renewable resources whenever available.
Print all new stationary, business cards and other printed materials using the maximum post-consumer content recycled paper available.
Print materials doubled-sided for internal use.
Print drafts and internal documents on re-used paper.
Have the organization and employees taken off mailing lists for all unread catalogs, and from any vendors so that we reduce the amount of junk mail in the office. This especially applies to holiday merchandise and items not relevant to the nature of our practice or business.
Reduce Mail
While mail is needed for certain functions, there are many areas in which technology can be used to reduce the production of printed materials. NTAP strives to prioritize the use of:
Online surveys
Online or emailed invoices
Electronic deposits
Beverages and Flowers
 
 
Buy only Organic (Fair Trade) Coffee and other beverages to be served at group meetings or in the office and encourage staff to purchase organic coffees and teas.
 
 
 
 
Will it last?
Where did it come from? (The further it has traveled, the more energy it has already consumed.)
Is it the most energy efficient choice available?
What is it made of? Are non-renewable resources being consumed to make it?
Is it recyclable?
Can we buy a used one?
*
Purchasing:
-- Gifts: organic, low packaging, recyclable
-- Kitchen: biodegradable, compostable, recycled
Use two-sided paper for printing
Limit paper production for in-house communications (intranet)
Reduce mail
Remote Worker & Teleworking
Legal Services NTAP www.lsntap.org
46% of company CFOs stated telecommuting is second only to salary as the best way to attract top talent.
VIACK Corporation -- A guide to Teleworking
*
*
Advantages:
 
 
 What are the challenges?
Communication: Implementing a telecommuting option in your office can undercut communication between staff in ways that can be damaging to productivity and morale – workers in the office have many more opportunity to share important information casually and to build relationships that lead to work that is more effective. In addition, programs that support telecommuting should have a strong culture of disseminating information online via websites or in email. Those that use paper-based systems to make announcements or share policies can leave telecommuters out of the loop.
 
Security: Because telecommuters are not working inside the office, a telecommuting policy should address issues about data security and confidentiality. Programs should make certain that anyone who is telecommuting has a sufficiently secure network, adequate virus protection, and a clear understanding about what kind of confidential information is safe to transmit via instant message, email, or the web. Systems should also be in place to make certain that a telecommuter’s work is regularly backed up – either to a program-owned hard drive or to program servers.
Some of the risks that arise when a nonprofit adds telecommuting as an option include:
lack of consistency in permitting employees to telecommute and concern that the organization may not be affording equal opportunity to its workforce
loss of employer trust of employees and of co-worker for co-worker
inability of telecommuting workers to take full advantages of technological advances in the workplace
concern that data and system security measures and procedures won't be adhered to strictly by the telecommuting employee
employees' frustration or withdrawal due to lack of training opportunities
potential for reduced commitment to the organization due to lack of face-to-face contact with peers
lack of employee productivity due to reduced supervision
inability of a nonprofit to ensure a safe working environment
increased security risks from utilizing remote access and equipment not directly controlled by the nonprofit
lack of physical control over sensitive or confidential client or organization information
inability of the nonprofit to monitor employee uses of equipment and provide in-person system support.
Risk Management Strategies
There are quite a few things you can do to manage the risk and reap the benefits of telecommuting:
Take the time to fully define your telecommuting program, including information on the goals and scope of the program as well as participant eligibility and selection process
Examine each position in your nonprofit and determine which are suitable, and therefore eligible, for telecommuting.
Carefully estimate the expense of implementing a telecommuting program, and determine who will bear the cost of equipping a telecommuter's home-based office-you or the telecommuter.
Consider using an application process that includes a home safety checklist to select telecommuters.
Offer the opportunity to telecommute on an equitable basis. Make sure your rationale is sound and upholds your commitment to fairness in the workplace.
Identify a nonprofit staff member who will serve as the Telecommuting Program Coordinator.
Develop a telework policy and agreement; require all employees who telecommute to sign the agreement before they begin telecommuting.
*
Leading the Way
Maryland DOT experienced a 27% increase in productivity when more than 100 employees opted to telework.
AT&T realizes $150 million in annual savings (real estate, employee retention and productivity)
*
*
An overview of the parameters, and special requirements that apply
Information on the nonprofit's systems security provisions and instructions
A restatement of the nonprofit's applicable code of conduct
Information about the required work schedule and means of communications
A signed statement
Suggested Components of a Telework Policy
An overview of the parameters of the program, and any special requirements that apply (e.g. that telework locations be within the state where the nonprofit operates, or that the nonprofit will be allowed to inspect the work site).
Information on the nonprofit's systems security provisions and instructions.
A restatement of the nonprofit's applicable code of conduct.
Information about the required work schedule and means of communications between the employee and the "home office" as well as contact between the employee and the nonprofit's clients and outside vendors.
*
Set expectations on responsiveness
Refine communications policies
What should you consider when creating a telecommuting policy?
 
 
 
 
*
Remote Worker & Telecommunication
*
*
Legal Services NTAP www.lsntap.org
Reduce what you rely on your email to do for you
Use Email for Communication
*
In today’s work environment at legal aid programs, advocates are expected to master the art of lawyering, researching, interviewing, and client communication. In addition, they are expected to manage or participate in staff meetings, community-wide task forces, outreach efforts, and other projects with other partners. It is no longer enough to be good in the court house or good with clients as the definition of a strong advocate employee. While in the past, executive assistants and secretaries could help quality lawyers overcome barriers of disorganization to focus on the substance, the role of these positions is changing – and in many programs, they are not as adequately funded as they could be. Technology serves as the bridge – to help paras and lawyers regain a level of organization of their work and to succeed in all aspects of communication – with judges, partners, mentors, and other staff.
That said, one thing is clear: if you cannot manage the information you are expected to digest and the information you are expected to generate, you cannot be successful.
The key to efficiency is managing information overload.
NTAP did a training devoted solely to this topic (and wrote an online book) – http://lsntap.org/tips101. Much of the intial part of that training was devoted to email protocols – becoming a master of how to take advantage of email so that it can more effectively work for you, rather than you being at its beck and call. We will not be covering those protocols today because our focus is on tech tools. However, we will highlight the tools that you can consider adopting, which are essential to reducing how email is used and increasing efficiency.
Notes from prior training -- How to use email effectively:
Adopt Strong Email Practices
Demote Email from Emperor to Messenger (Change its function in your life)
Organize Your Online Experience
50% of email can be deleted or filed
30% can be delegated or completed in less than 2 minutes
20% can be calendared to complete later
*
Email Don’ts
Do not use email to track attachments and documents as a filing system
Do not use email to manage projects, timelines, or histories
Do not use email to schedule meetings
Do not use email to do heavy problem solving or brainstorming
Do not use email to ask quick questions
*
We are talking about these tools, but again, they will not substitute for email. Email should be for communication. By effectively training staff on how to use email, these tools will be implemented well and can be strong helpers in organizing your inbox and increasing efficiency.
Email Dos:
Use email to reward, emote or acknowledge positive things.
Communicate information, request action, facilitate unsophisticated problem-solving
Follow up on heavy problem-solving
*
Project Management tools for deadlines and files
Wikis for institutional knowledge
Online schedulers & calendars
Instant Messaging: Tool #1 – don’t use email for quick questions. Use a tool that helps you communicate in real time.
How many people use instant messaging now at work?
Online Project Management Systems: These are online filing cabinets, brainstorming whiteboards, and virtual message centers that allow you to collaborate on documents easily without relying on email to be its own filing system.
Wikis are online websites that likely do not have a long term survivability simply because the problem they originally intended to solve has been at least reduced substantially and at most eliminated with new tools or simpler website platforms. That said, they are still relevant to our work now and should be considered for their possibilities. Even if CT elects to not use them, they are a good benchmark for how you’d want your website to work if you elect to use it as the waystation for online manuals, etc.
*
RSS brings the web to you.
How to Use Tools Effectively?
What are expectations for using them?
Show NTAP Communication Policies. http://www.lsntap.org/sites/lsntap.org/files/NTAP%20Communication%20Protocols.pdf
Remote Worker & Telecommunication
Some listings:
Elance Inc. : You'll find tons of freelance writers and designers on this site.
FreelancerNow.com : You'll get services quickly on this site.
*
Elance Inc. : You'll find tons of freelance writers and designers on this site.
FreelancerNow.com : You'll get services quickly on this site.
Guru.com : Post individual projects on this site and have professional bid on them.
SHARPSourcing.com : SHARPSourcing.com is an Indian HR outsourcing service that provides Web-development and Web-design outsourcing services to companies across the globe.
RentACoder : You can literally rent a Web coder from this site.
my pajamanation : Powered by an India-based blogger, this site offers insight into outsourcing, from events to related news from around the world.
ScriptLance : You can post a project on this site, which lists bids in a neatly organized list.
Integra Global Solutions :Outsource to this firm to expand your business.
GetAFreelancer.com : This site can help you find freelance programmers, Web designers and copywriters in India or any other country.
Kasamba : Find experts in a number of different fields on this site.
GoforFreelance.com : This site works for both freelancers and employees.
osLance.com : Post open-source projects here.
oDesk Corp. : Outsource and manage programmers, Web designers and more.
Get Friday : A virtual-assistant resource that undertakes any task or business that does not require a physical presence.
DoMyStuff.com : This site is as simple as posting a task, selecting an assistant and getting stuff done.
Amazon Mechanical Turk : This Amazon.com-powered site offers companies 'artificial' artificial intelligence.
craigslist inc. : Post a job under "gigs" or any of the industry sections, and you can outsource work anywhere.
Workaholics4Hire.com : Find people 24/7 on this site people by "a team of workaholics who have a compulsive need to work at odd hours, drink too much coffee, and love meeting impossible deadlines.“
BrickworkINDIA : Get a remote executive assistant operating from an India to do your work through email.
iFreelance .com: Post your project for free to receive bids from hundreds of professional service providers.
Agents of Value : This Webmaster staffing company specializes in finding full-time programmers, graphic designers, journalists, researchers and link builders to help your business grow.
*
Define scope, schedule, and outputs
Tie compensation to deliverables, not timeline
Draft support clause for after project is complete
Start small…develop trust
*
Here are some pointers for launching your outsourcing operation.
1. First, define your core: Don't hand over the core functions of your business. Consider outsourcing other operations that are not as strategic.
2. Evaluate a service provider like you would a full-time employee: Ask questions, check references and ask for feedback from other clients who have used the provider's services.
3. Clearly define the scope and schedule for your project: Be up front about your project requirements so that service providers know about schedules and deliverables.
4. Don't choose a vendor based solely on price: Discard the highest-priced and lowest-priced bid . You want a balance of good value and quality results.
5. Review portfolios and samples: Consider asking the provider to do a quick mock-up or provide a basic outline of a work plan.
6. Look for specific experience fit: You want a company with specific experience with the type of project that your company is undertaking. This is important when outsourcing complex technical projects such as software development.
7. Tie compensation to clearly defined project milestones: Define a work plan for your outsourced project, with clearly defined milestones.
8. Negotiate ownership of the work up front: Make sure that you are clear about who owns the resulting work product and any important components of that product. Make sure that the service provider understands how you intend to use the deliverables that they are agreeing to provide.
9. Don't forget about support after the project is complete: Draft a support clause that ensures you'll get continuing support from the vendor after the project is complete.
10. Get it in writing: Keep a written record of project goals, pay schedules and any changes.
11. Start small: Start with a project that is relatively small and simple in scope to give you a better idea of the provider's style and capabilities .
12. Move slowly and commit incrementally: Don't sign a five-year contract before testing performance and the relationship. Move slowly and commit gradually.
*
Resources