Telecommuting is a turning tendency. non merely in the United States. but besides around the universe. This tendency towards telecommuting is impacting workers. employees. society. and technological demands and merchandises. As popularity expands. people are going progressively cognizant of the pros and cons associated with this manner of work. Legal concerns sing telecommuting are coming to the head of the employment sector’s attending. as more and more organisations and employees consider the option of the teleworking. As the figure of telecommuter is likely to go on to increase over the coming old ages. it is of import to understand its impact on the assorted facets of our lives.
Impact of Telecommuting on Workers. Employers. and Society
Jack Nilles is credited with coining the footings “telecommuting” and “teleworking” . in 1973. during the first documented pilot- telecommuting- undertaking with a major national insurance company ( JALA ) . The footings “telework” and “telecommuting” are frequently used interchangeably to intend any official work that is being conducted off from an employee’s functionary responsibility station and at some alternate work site. regardless of whether that location is a place office or some other signifier of a telework centre. Many prefer the word “telework” . as it appears to be a more accurate description of the construct. The “tele” prefix means “distance. ” so the “telework” combination would mention to “work at a distance. ” The “telework” advocates besides believe that the term “telecommuting” has excessively strong a intension about the commutation facet. and that “telework” is a broader and more inclusive footings ( Gordon. 2002 ) . Nevertheless. the more common term “telecommuting” will mention to work completed outside of a traditional office environment.
One differentiation of import to observe would be that telecommuting relates the use of technological resources. Many people. mistakenly. believe that all teleworking requires the usage of complex engineering and equipment ; this is non needfully the instance. At times. work may be completed with a telephone. a word- processor. even something every bit basic as a notepad and pen.
It is of import to understand the range of telecommuting in footings of how many workers are prosecuting in these types of activities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U. S. Department of Labor. has released a study on their web site indicating that in May of 2001. some 19. 8 million individuals normally did work at place as portion of their primary occupation ( U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2001 ) . This figure is supported by a study of about 19. 6 million people working at place. harmonizing to the International Telework Association and Council ( Goodling. 2001 ) . Although the Numberss vary. depending upon the beginning of the research. it is clear that many Americans are presently prosecuting in some signifier of telecommuting. although the type and sum of work may change. In any event. teleworking is likely to go on to turn over the following several old ages.
Although the Numberss vary. depending upon the beginning of the research. it is clear that many Americans are presently prosecuting in some signifier of telecommuting. although the type and sum of work may change. In any event. teleworking is likely to go on to turn over the following several old ages.
Some of the many advantages for employers of workers who telecommute are obvious on a surface degree. These include the undermentioned: salvaging office infinite and parking. and cut downing travel disbursals and bettering employees’ morale and occupation satisfaction. Decreased installation costs frequently translate into an addition in the figure of employees a director can afford to maintain on the paysheet.
Another advantage is the increased endowment pool from which employers can enroll. New communicating options “make it possible for employers to avail themselves of a gifted pool of qualified workers that isn’t restricted by geographic boundaries” ( Grensing-Pophal. 2000 ) . Given the current unsure occupation market. some possible employees may be uncomfortable with the thought of relocating for a new occupation. which they could perchance be laid off or downsized a few months subsequently. Telecommuting offers a much safer alternate with a more sensible degree of committedness.
One of the strongest barriers to teleworking has been employers’ concern about pull offing distant workers. Many directors are accustomed to pass oning face-to-face and are concerned that lines of communicating will shut when an employee is working off-site. Employers are frequently uncomfortable with mensurating and keeping successful employee public presentation with off-site employees ; nevertheless. some directors “now find they have more clip for pull offing and be aftering since they are passing less clip on daily supervision” ( Gordon. 2002 ) . The telecommuters are “more responsible for their ain self-management. so the directors are able to pass more clip working on the planning. analysis. and other true managerial-level undertakings that frequently get ignored” ( Gordon. 2002 ) .
Security of information may besides be a concern. as employees may be directing confidential information back and Forth to their place office. A simple solution to this job would be to develop a contract saying that the telecommuter must maintain all work-related information confidential no affair where that individual is working.
Employers must besides be cognizant of the legalities involved with telecommuting. A contention erupted two old ages ago when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a missive last autumn. in response to a Texas company’s inquiry. about its duty towards telecommuters. The missive suggested that an “obvious and effectual agencies of guaranting employee safety would be periodic safety cheques of employee working spaces” by employers ( Campbell. 2001 ) . Although OSHA about instantly retracted this statement. it is clear that the issue is yet unresolved. and that some signifier of supervising procedure may be in the plants for place workers ( Goodling. 2001 ) .
Successful teleworking requires that the company have a just and effectual policy on telecommuting. every bit good as certification associating to guidelines. preparation demands and chances. and rating procedures. Directors may hold to supply equipment and support costs for their teleworking employees. Even with the proper equipment. preparation. and support. teleworking may non be successful in every effort. Directors should maintain in head that this might non be a “good cultural fit” for all of their employees ( Solomon. 2000. p. 56-63 ) .
As with employers. many of the advantages for employees who engage in telecommuting are easy identified. Aside from the obvious lessening in transposing clip. these include improved morale. increased productiveness. and greater flexibleness in work agendas. Additionally. many employees find that there are economic advantages to telecommuting. Telecommuters frequently save money on nutrient. vesture. dry cleansing. parking. fuel costs. and even automobile insurance.
Many employees find that telecommuting allows them to develop a more agreeable balance between work and household. or life. Decreased commuting clip. fewer breaks. and increased productiveness frequently consequences in some extra discretional clip. which may be spent with household members or prosecuting in some other rewarding life activity.
Some of the challenges faced by telecommuters include the possible for distractions and concerns about being overlooked for possible promotional chances or other calling promotions. This may besides hold limited entree to resources that are readily available to their opposite numbers in a traditional office scene.
Reduced societal interactions can take to feelings of both societal and professional isolation. Many workers enjoy the societal interaction and chumminess that arise from working in a traditional office environment and lose these interactions when telecommuting. However. telephone and electronic mail communications make it easy to maintain in touch with office employees. every bit good as other telecommuters. Another disadvantage may include happening it hard to halt working when the working day is finished. Telecommuters “need to be disciplined about closing it off at the terminal of the day” as they would if they were in a traditional office environment ( Norman. 1999 ) .
As with directors. it is of import for employees to acknowledge that telecommuting is non for everyone ( Solomon. 2000. p. 56-63 ) . Telecommuting requires a great trade of independency. duty and enterprise on the portion of the employee. Furthermore. it requires a willing employer who will supply the support and preparation necessary for the employee to hold a successful teleworking experience.
Telecommuting has deductions. non merely for single employers and employees. but besides for the general society. Some advantages include a decrease in traffic congestion. and a decrease in the ingestion of transit fuels. With telecommuting. there are besides likely to be fewer concern breaks during periods of inclement conditions.
Economic advantages are besides possible: there may be an addition in occupation chances without geographic restraints. every bit good as an addition in chances for the handicappeds who may telecommute with easiness. Business sectors in the suburbs and rural countries may be better able to vie financially with larger urban countries. as telecommuting occupants have more options in taking where to populate and shop ( Norman. 1999 ) .
Refering to an improved balance between work and household for employees. on a grander graduated table teleworking may be “the first societal transmutation in centuries that pulls working male parents and female parents back into the place instead than forcing them out for longer and longer periods of time” ( Norman. 1999 ) . Telecommuting may supply better options for the attention of “latch-key kids” and the aged.
In footings of the overall negative impact of telecommuting on society. concerns have been raised about the loss of face-to-face connexions and decreased societal interactions. With electronic communications and interactions. traveling personal connexions farther off would be a concern that basic interpersonal accomplishments may endure ( Norman. 1999 ) .
Another broader consequence on society involves the engineering sector. While engineering is surely non a needed constituent for telecommuting. it has unimpeachably made telecommuting more feasible for many employers and employees. Technology and telecommuting have a round relationship. As engineering has improved. so has the chance for effectual and efficient teleworking ; nevertheless. as teleworking has grown. so has the demand for even more advanced technological options.
Harmonizing to a survey released by Access Markets International Partners. an industry-leading market intelligence confer withing house. “wireless informations and internet solutions is expected to skyrocket in the following four old ages. making significant chances for wireless device. application. and service providers” ( AMI. 2000 ) . In add-on. Access Markets International Partners undertakings that the commercial user base will about double. every two old ages. lifting from 3. 7 million in 2001 to over 26. 4 million in 2006 ( AMI. 2000 ) .
Telecommuting is a comparatively new construct. particularly when one considers that the term was introduced less than thirty old ages ago. With the development of this manner of work. many advantages and disadvantages have been brought to the attending of directors. employees. and even the greater society. One thing remains changeless. nevertheless. when sing all of the effects of telecommuting on the workplace ; teleworking and other alternate work environments are here to remain. There will probably ne’er be a twenty-four hours when all workers engage in teleworking. and this is merely non executable. However. as telecommuting becomes more widespread and more employees and employers become comfy with this option. the Numberss of telecommuters are likely to go on to increase. As with most things in life. readying. planning. and communicating are the keys to guaranting a successful teleworking experience for both directors and employees.
Access Markets International ( AMI ) Partners. Inc. ( 2000 ) . Study Forecasts $ 14 Billion Revenue Opportunity in the U. S. for Wireless Technology Providers.
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