Thehuman mind is always at work devising, improvising and innovatingways of making life more comfortable and convenient. With the adventof modern technologies, a lot of impossibilities have been overcome.Telecommunication technologies have collapsed physical barriers theworld over. Employees and employers in almost equal measures haveembraced the skill of telecommuting. is an alternatework arrangement where employees work from areas that are differentfrom the primary workplaces (Gajendran& Harrison, 2007). is made possible by use of telecommunication equipmentthat links the employees and their otherwise physical workstations. can also be conceptualized as remote work, telework,and work from home (Shockley, 2014). arrangements canbe made formal, meaning an organizational policy has to be put inplace to guide the entire process. The process can also be informal,where no particular procedure controls the telecommuting activity.The National Study of the Changing Workforce asserts that 63% ofemployers allow their workers to telecommute occasionally, and 33%permit their employees to work regularly from home (Shockley, 2014).
Thelocation that the employee telecommutes from can refer to theworker’s home, remote offices or telework stations. Recent studiesreveal that the rate of telecommuting among US workers escalated to37% in 2015 (Jones, 2015). The typical worker telecommutes twice permonth and 46% of employees prefer teleworking on weekdays (Jones,2015).As is the case with all inventions and innovations, there aremixed reactions on the adoption and applicability of telecommuting.Opponents of telecommuting argue that it is a breeding ground forlaziness, anarchy, and lack of standardization. They hold that humanshave to be monitored so as to get the best out of them. Proponents ofthis arrangement postulate that telecommuting saves time, iseconomical and enhances productivity. I hold the view thattelecommuting has a lot more to offer in benefits to the humanpopulation employers and employees alike.
Workingfrom home or any other location away from the conventional office hasa direct relationship with productivity (Cox, 2009). Human capital isthe superlative resource an organization can have. Free people tendto work better than slaves. When an employee telecommutes from thecomfort of their home, they have a sense of autonomy which motivatesthem and in turn inculcates a sense of ownership. This boosts theirmorale, and they end up working better and even for longer hours.Some employees opine that when they work from home they avoid thedistractions associated with the office setting such as frequentmeetings, ringing office phones, and general human interference.Assignments that require attention to detail are better done at thecomfort of one’s house where they enjoy the silence they need toconcentrate fully (Leslie et al., 2012). Besides, telecommuters havebeen reported to increase productivity by 10% to 50% because theylose less time on traffic jams and are not likely to be absent.
brings about economic benefits to employers and employees as well.Research indicates that employers who encourage telework saveapproximately $2,000 per telecommuting employee annually (Ye, L.2012). Instead of having standby and/or courtesy vans to pick anddrop staffs on a daily basis and different shifts, employees cancomfortably work and deliver from wherever they are. Money that couldotherwise have been spent on such vehicles, drivers, and associatedtransport expenses is therefore cut. Office space is one majorproblem for most organizations. The sky-rocketing price of officespace suffocates budgets of organizations. Having employees work fromtheir remote locations helps reduce the cost of office space andoffice furniture (Gajendran, R. & Harrison, D. 2007). Parkingspace for employees is another cost that can be reduced by allowingstaffs to telecommute. On the employees’ side, money that wouldhave been spent on commuting to their workplace is saved. Inaddition, money that employees spend on meals (since very fewemployers offer meals to their staffs) is significantly reduced whenthey work from home. This can be used to enhance the livelihoods ofthese employees.
enhances efficiency on the roads and cities. Increased numbers ofpeople working from home translates to fewer cars on the roads (Cox,2009). Freeway traffic, in urban areas, has been documented to go up2.5 times faster than the official expressway capacity. Reducingcongestion on the streets and cities achieves efficiency in thattraffic moves swiftly, and evils such as pick-pocketing that areassociated with crowding are curtailed. Telecommuters reduce theirdaily driving average time by about one-third (Cox, 2009). Thus,considering the high costs incurred in expanding the capacity oftransport infrastructure, building new roads to meet the demands ofthe growing economies is not a sustainable option. isan ideal way of decongesting cities.
Froman environmental view, telecommuting helps in reducing the greenhouseeffect (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 (Matos, K., &Galinksy, E., 2012). A changeof this scale can drop the yearly CO2 emission rates by 55 millionmetric tons. Additionally, the new projections, by the U.S.Department of Energy, reveal that, in spite of the fuel efficiencyimprovements that the federal energy legislation advances, carbonemissions will remain the same by the year 2030. Thus, encouragingfirms to adopt systems that support telework will help bring down CO2emission rates significantly.
Organizationsall over the world are struggling to ensure their employees have agood work-life balance. helps workers balance theirpersonal and work lives effortlessly (Gajendran& Harrison, 2007).The conventional style of work where the employee shows up at theoffice everyday separates them from the rest of the world, more sofrom their families. So many employed people in the US are fightingparental challenges due to the demanding nature of their work. Theyleave their homes before their children wake up and return too latewhen the kids are already asleep. The children, therefore, lack theparental touch that is fundamental to the cognitive development ofthe child. Most crimes and social misfits have been blamed on poorparenting. Allowing these parents to work from home will enable themto be in touch with their children, hence bring up healthy families(Gajendran& Harrison, 2007).
Allowingemployees to telecommute saves a considerable amount of time. Asearlier captured, employees waste a lot of time on the roads going towork. The situation is worsened by the permanent traffic jams on ourstreets. At peak hours we see almost everybody at a standstill on theroad, doing nothing constructive. On average, commuting employeeswaste three hours driving to and from work (Cox, 2009). If theseemployees are allowed to telecommute, the three hours each one ofthem spends on the roads can be turned into rather productive work.There is no sense in one spending three hours to go and complete anassignment that is due in two hours. They would rather telecommuteand have this job submitted in time.
Socialintegration and inclusivity can be achieved through telecommuting.There are some parts of this country and elsewhere in the world thatare too remote and inaccessible due to geographical barriers. Someorganizations tap on labor force from far off states. The cost ofhiring staff from such locations is too high due to logisticalissues. Organizations do not want to incur costs of putting uphousing facilities for such people or even transporting them forinterviews. In most cases, people in otherwise considered remoteareas are locked out of employment thereby giving rise tomarginalization a menace always threatening social integration. can enable people from these remote and distant areasto attend interviews online and work from home fostering socialinclusion (Cox, 2009).
saves employees the hustle of conforming to the workplace dress code.Most employees do not approve of the dressing code adopted by theirrespective employers (Ye, 2012). Some employees term the dress codesas punitive. They consider them too strict and rigid. The formaldress code is perceived as too oppressive. Most humans would ratherstay in attires that they feel comfortable and do not require a lotof grooming and pressing. Allowing the employees to telecommute willgive them the freedom to dress in whatever attire they fancy or feelcomfortable. They do not have to inflate their monthly budgets tryingto conform to the dress codes. Neither will they feel suffocated inoutfits they do not approve.
can address the challenge of employee turnover. Employees who feelthey have the freedom they need, spend less on commuting to work andstill attached to their families are less likely to quit or look forother employment (Leslie et al., 2012). There are quite a number ofpeople who quit their jobs citing transport and accessibilitychallenges. Most of the transfer requests submitted by employees citedistance as the primary reason, especially for those with families. creates a sense of convenience and satisfaction. Thecosts and disruptions of employee turnover are therefore curtailed.
Itis not universal that everyone is suitable for telecommuting.Instituting a successful telecommuting program is dependent on somedynamics (Ye, 2012). The first factor is eligibility. Telecommuterspossess a particular set of characteristics. They are exceptionallyprofessional, resourceful, self-reliant, and dependable. Remoteworkers are primarily team players, excellent communicators, and arewell-versed with the technologies used in telecommuting. Other traitsto consider are strong job skills, high productivity, superior timemanagement skills, high standards of job performance, well organized,requires minimal supervision, and curiosity 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 bycase basis. 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 thelatter. 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.
Implementingand embracing a well-planned telecommuting program is beneficial toemployers, employees and the society at large. From saving costs,saving time, reducing environmental pollution, fostering socialintegration to maintaining family ties, it is clear that this is anarrangement that can positively transform the work environment andbuild healthy employer-employee relations. It is my opinion thatorganizations adopt telecommuting for all the roles that do notnecessarily require an on-site presence of employees. In fact, theproblem is not how to develop, since the technologies are ready-madethe challenge should be what roles to assign to telecommuting staffs.
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