With the emergence and development of the Internet, such phenomenon as telecommuting has become extremely widespread. Alongside its popularity, there are other effects that influence the global economy, lifestyle, resources, and other aspects. In light of this, it becomes paramount to explore telecommuting in all its complexity.
The Impact of Telecommuting
Remote employment has enormously contributed to energy conservation (Aleksić, 2013). In the U.S., where practically every family has a vehicle, the absence of the need to commute to work relieves the atmosphere from additional exhaust fumes. In addition, a remote worker does not occupy space in the office of a company. Provided an organization utilizes a dozen or more of such telecommuters it has an opportunity to rent a smaller workspace, and therefore, economize. The impact of telecommuting on green computing could also be observed. Thus, having a whole department of remote employees allows saving energy on printing devices as practically all information exchange occurs online.
Telecommuting has also changed the lives of employees and their families. It has opened a whole new market for disabled people allowing them to earn a living for themselves and help their relatives. It saves a lot of effort for such people as it relieves them from the inconveniences of traveling to an office (West & Anderson, 2005). Telecommuting also curbs the costs of such traveling.
Sustainable Business Infrastructure
Traditional businesses have a formidable dependence on their offices as the place to accommodate equipment, employees, papers, and so on. Natural disasters, for instance, could temporarily paralyze the work of a certain business if its office becomes destroyed. To minimize losses from such an occurrence, organizations need to modernize their infrastructure. Introducing cloud services as tools to facilitate electronic document storage and processing is an excellent way to ensure the safety and integrity of records, files, reports, and other items. Allowing employees to bring personal devices to work and install corporate software on them could be another failsafe mechanism that ensures the operability of business in cases when the office becomes unavailable. Of course, not every type of business is able to fully cope with the destruction of its workspace. Production facilities, for instance, have heavy equipment that is not easily moved or replaced.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting
One of the main disadvantages of telecommuting is the absence of active socializing. A person working from his or her home does not receive the privilege of being a part of a team sharing successes and failures and participating in corporate events. Another drawback is poor corporate culture applicability to a remote workforce. It can be challenging to enable telecommuters to adhere to organizational values and observe their effect. The management challenge is another disadvantage of telecommuting. It could be tough to control the process of fulfilling a duty by a remote employee. An absence of the working atmosphere that the office provides can take a toll on-at-home workers. Many distractions such as kids, daily choirs, and unexpected visitors could be detrimental to the work process.
On the other hand, Telecommuting has a lot of benefits. Firstly, it reduces operational costs for a business (Goodman, 2013). An employee that does not need a desk and a meal allows to save up on accommodation. For a worker, the absence of the need to commute to work is another benefit. It helps them improve their life-work balance and economize on traveling to the office. Less paperwork is also a benefit for a company that works with telecommuters. All sent documents are easily traceable and recoverable. A larger pool of workers from around the globe is a tremendous advantage for a company it has a shortage of employees with certain skills in its location.
Telecommuting is a modern-world phenomenon that companies have to adjust to. Employing such workers has the potential to develop a company into a sustainable entity if the processes are managed properly. The question of how to avoid complications while yielding all the benefits of telecommuting is yet to be answered in a further and closer investigation.
Aleksić, S. (2013). Energy-efficient communication networks for improved global energy productivity. Telecommunication Systems, 54(2), 183-199.
Goodman, E. (2013). Telecommuting: Is it right for you and your business? The dos, don’ts, perks and drawbacks to a controversial issue in the changing office landscape. Journal of Property Management, 78(4), 16-21.
West, M. D. & Anderson, J. (2005). Telework and employees with disabilities: Accommodation and funding options. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 23, 115–122