is perceivable as an alternate work agreement where employees workfrom areas that are different from the primary workplaces (Gajendran& Harrison, 2007, p. 1525). Electronic media is usually thepreferred means of linking the employees. Elsewhere,in the above discussion, refers to the worker’s home however,remote offices and telework stations may also be regarded asalternative locations. Recent studies reveal that the rate oftelecommuting among US workers escalated to 37% in 2015 (Jones,2015). Research shows that the typical worker telecommutes twice permonth, 46% of employees prefer teleworking on weekdays, andtelecommuters have been documented to be as productive as theircounterparts in the main workplaces. An analysis of telecommutingreveals that its effect on the overall well-being of the masses andworkplace productivity is significant however, some measures must beinstituted to ensure its success.
Aspointed out earlier, telecommuting is a form of alternative workagreement where employees work from remote locations throughcommunication technology, which enables them to connect to theprimary work area (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007, p. 1525). can also be conceptualized as remote work, telework,flexplace, and work from home (Shockley, 2014, p. 2). arrangements can be made formal, meaning an organizational policy hasbeen put in place to guide the entire process. The process can alsobe informal, where no particular procedure controls the telecommutingactivity. The National Study of the Changing Workforce asserts that63% of employers allow their workers to telecommute occasionally, and33% permit their employees to work regularly from home.
Workfrom home has a broad range of economic benefits. Studies havedocumented that telecommuting has a direct correlation with increasedproductivity (Cox, 2009, p. 4). Telecommuters have been reported toincrease productivity by 10% to 50% because they lose less time ontraffic jams and are not likely to be absent. Research indicates thatemployers who encourage telework save approximately $2,000 pertelecommuting employee annually. Other economic gains of teleworkconstitute the development of new job openings for employees thatlive in remote areas, improved quality of life since commuters canuse their time more profitably, and increased economic opportunityfor low-income households.
Teleworkalso leads to enhanced mobility. Increased numbers of people workingfrom home translates to fewer cars on the roads (Cox, 2009). Freewaytraffic, in urban areas, has been documented to go up 2.5 timesfaster than the official expressway capacity. As a consequence,drivers are more likely to face travel delays during peak periods.Readings have revealed that telecommuters reduce their daily drivingaverage time by about one-third. Thus, considering the high costsincurred in expanding the capacity of transport infrastructure,building new roads to meet the demands of the growing economies isnot a sustainable option. is an ideal way ofdecongesting cities.
Workingfrom home significantly brings down the levels of greenhouseemissions (Cox, 2009). Research indicates that by transforming 14% ofjobs to telecommuting, the miles traveled in the United States by theyear 2020 will be reduced by 136 billion miles. By 2030, if the samecarbon emission-reduction rate is maintained, the miles traveled willdecline by 171 billion. A change of this scale can drop the yearlyCO2emission rates by 55 million metric tons. Additionally, the newprojections, by the U.S. Department of Energy, reveal that, in spiteof the fuel efficiency improvements that the federal energylegislation advances, carbon emissions will remain the same by theyear 2030. Thus, encouraging firms to adopt systems that supporttelework will help bring down CO2emission rates significantly.
Consensuson the importance of telecommuting as an alternate work model, andits structural features, is relatively broad (Gajendran &Harrison, 2007, p. 1525). However, no single theory has beendeveloped to delineate its consequences. Studies, nevertheless, haveadvanced three conceptual themes that constitute statements regardingthe psychological procedure or intervening instruments through whichthe effects of telecommuting are manifested. The first conceptualidea is “perceived autonomy” or “mental impacts.” This themefocuses on the personal assessments of employees and their ability to"structure and control" their tasks. The protagonists ofthis perspective contend that the perceived autonomy oftelecommunicating that is extended to workers is a good thing becausethey get to choose their work schedules and the locations of theirworkstations.
Thesecond theme centers on the impacts of telecommuting on thework-family boundary (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007, p. 1525). Theproponents of this view contend that telecommuting helps workersbalance their personal and work lives effortlessly. The opponents ofthis viewpoint, however, believe that the permeability of familyboundaries and work may result in increased conflict. Empirical proofsubstantiating these claims is indecisive.
Thethird theme places emphasis on the potential of telecommuting onrelational impoverishment at the workplace (Gajendran & Harrison,2007, p. 1526). Working from remote areas may lead to a significantreduction in face-to-face interaction, and a declined richness andfrequency of exchange of information from telecommuters to otheremployees. Consequently, interpersonal bonds between coworkersdiminish due to a lack of social presence. Investigations show thatpersons who work from home are at a higher risk of suffering from theills of decreased social interaction.
Theabove themes lead to the emergence of a telecommuting paradox(Gajendran & Harrison, 2007, p. 1526). On one hand, iftelecommunication is expected to lower family-work conflict andheighten perceived autonomy, employees will benefit from improvedperformance, positive work-related attitudes, and stress reduction.On the other hand, if telecommunication results in a decrease incareer advancement and damaged work relationships, the outcomes inthe non-work and work spheres will have an adverse impact on the workrelationships.
Consideringthe above factors, instituting a successful telecommuting program isdependent on some dynamics (Ye, 2012). The first factor iseligibility. Telecommuters possess a particular set ofcharacteristics. Good telecommuting candidates possess exceptionalprofessional, resourceful, self-reliant, and dependable skills.Remote workers are, essentially, team players, excellentcommunicators, and are well-versed with the technologies used intelecommuting. Other traits to consider are strong job skills, highproductivity, superior time management skills, high standards of jobperformance, well organized, requires minimal supervision, andcuriosity to learn.
Inaddition to the personal traits of employees, the nature of aperson’s job and its responsibilities should also be considered(Ye,2012). Each employee’s job should be assessed on a case by casebasis. Jobs that entail the provision of indirect customer careservices are more appropriate for telecommuters. In contrast, jobsthat require people to handle specific equipment and tools can onlybe performed on-site. Also, the majority of companies have tradesecret data thus, to maneuver around this predicament, thesecompanies offer their telecommuters exclusive access to businessdata. Security procedures, however, are always followed to theletter. Part-time telecommuters, however, may work on tasks that donot require them to access company information. Finally, workers whouse classified company information may be considered ineligible towork from home.
Awell-developed telework system also includes a well-planned andevaluated technical architecture, which should fit within thecompany’s wide area network and local area network (Ye, 2012). Theintention of creating such a system is to develop an optimal supportenvironment that can cater to the company`s technical needs. Forexample, the system should leverage the organizational networkinfrastructure to bring into being a seamless LAN extension toflexplace employees. Secondly, the structure should minimize risks.Third, it should establish a framework for including extra serviceslike a video or a Voice over IP. Finally, the system should enhancesupportability through the utilization of set industry standards.
Employeesshould also be trained on remote work (Ye, 2012). Training, in thisrespect, is a two-fold process. First, users should be equipped withadequate information on how they can perform their work-related rolesfrom remote areas. Secondly, IT personnel should have appropriatetraining on how to provide the users with support services wheneverthe need arises. Issuing participants with an exam will reveal theindividuals who qualify for the program and those who require moretraining. Also, acquainting telecommuters with security trainingprograms, on an annual basis, is prudent. Such programs familiarizeworkers with information on the latest security threats and thecountermeasures to institute when such threats happen. The Help Deskshould also have an active questioning, listening, andproblem-solving ability. These skills are critical since the usersare usually perplexed, stressed, and in some cases, angry whenseeking help.
Companiesshould also institute telework management and evaluation programs(Ye, 2012). Working from remote locations may lead to the developmentof various management issues, due to minimal supervision. Thus,organizations should consider assessing their management policies toweed out weaknesses before implementing telecommuting. Flexplacemanagers should ensure that their interpersonal communications andperformance measurement skills are sharp, and their proficiency inthe use of electronic tools and team building is well-developed. Afruitful telecommuting management approach entails a combination ofsoft skills, the use of technology as a means of communication, andperformance-tracking software.
Finally,employees should also be acquainted with the rules and policies thatgovern the telework program (Ye, 2012). The rules are usuallyseparated in three classifications: workers, equipment, and security.The rules that control workers center on the processes that arerequired to ensure the successful completion of tasks from home. Thehardware aspect focuses on the measures that should be taken toensure that the infrastructure is handled well. The security rulesentail the manner in which the confidentiality, integrity, andavailability of data will be maintained in the process oftelecommuting.
Ina recap of the above discussion, telecommuting is an alternate worksettlement where personnel is given the freedom to work from remotelocations. This arrangement is only permissible for specified roles.Electronic media is usually the preferred means of linking theemployees working in the primary premises to those working fromdistant locations. , as discussed above, has a positiveeffect on workplace productivity however, some processes must beestablished to guarantee its success.
Cox,W. (2009). Executive Summary: Improving Quality of Life Through, 1 – 24. Retrieved fromhttp://www.itif.org/files/.pdf
Gajendran,R. & Harrison, D. (2007). The good, the bad, and the unknownabout telecommuting: Meta-analysis of psychological mediators andindividual consequences. JournalOf Applied Psychology,92(6),1524-1541. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.6.1524
Jones,J. (2015). InU.S., for Work Climbs to 37%. Gallup.com.Retrieved 29 August 2016, fromhttp://www.gallup.com/poll/184649/telecommuting-work-climbs.aspx
Shockley,K. (2014), 1 – 11. Retrieved fromhttp://www.siop.org/whitepapers/scientificaffairs/telecommuting/telecommuting.pdf
Ye,L. (2012). : Implementation for Success. InternationalJournal Of Business And Social Science, 3(15),1 – 10. Retrieved fromhttp://ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_15_August_2012/4.pdf