Telework (Analysis of benefits and implications)
"Location doesn't matter anymore. Results matter."
J. Miholics, vice president of Global Telework Strategies at Merrill Lynch.
I would like to depict the notion of telework and aspects relevant to it. It will be submitted that it becomes a significant feature of work environment and some possible implications will be considered. It should be noted though that the scope of present paper does not allow me to consider practical recommendations fully. This work will therefore mainly deal with advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting.
The world is changing at an amazing speed. The environment today may be characterized by change, complexity, interconnectedness and development of technologies. New challenges to organizations are coming both from the outer environment (technological, social, economic, etc.) thus calling for more flexibility and innovation, and inner organizational environment, coming from the employees who demand more autonomy and self-expression. Thus the traits of the new economy may include a greater role of knowledge, development of flexible structures, lesser significance of borders and ‘business as unusual’. Nowadays it is a feature of industrialized world due to the presence of driving forces for telecommuting: telecommunication technologies, high office rent and personnel salaries, demands for flexibility, increased productivity and greater creativity.
Using new technologies to work from outside of the office could alter well-established concepts of a workplace. Thus in order to shape those changes rather than just react to them, we must understand what telework offers to workers, employers and a wider society.
Telework is defined as working away from an employer's place of business (generally at home or in telework centers) using information technology at least one day a week. Telework is also called telecommuting, flexiplace or flexible work. It means that full- and part-time employees who traditionally work in an office or other location are allowed to work regularly at an alternative site.
The worldwide boom in telework is driven by the business requirement for maximizing flexibility in the location and timing of work, by the ability of telework to meet the demands of family and work, and by ongoing competition and innovation driving down the cost of telecommunications services. The recent shifts in ideas and expectations of the workforce are also a significant impetus.
It will be submitted that telework holds a vast potential to benefit workers, employers and society. Now I would like to consider advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting for employees.
In my view some possible benefits may include a decrease or even cessation of time and effort spent on getting to the workplace, as employees are working from alternative sites. This arrangement at the same time may achieve a better match between profession and a private life, help balance the demands of work and family as telecommuters can much more easily interrupt their work-related activities and engage in something different for a better relaxation, inspiration for the future deeds or just household duties, which is of special benefit for working parents. And this aspect is strongly connected with another possible advantage, that is, flexibility and sovereignty concerning time and activity and free choice in preferring the place of residence.