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Telecommuting may be the movement of the future, which will allow more people to work away from the office. Many people see telecommuting as a way to be close to home or allow them to be connected to their organization while working abroad. While telecommuting might work for some people, telecommuting is not for everyone. There are many disadvantages; as well advantages to telecommuting which most people do not take into account. When considering telecommuting, the advantages fall for both employer and employee. The same can be said about the disadvantages of telecommuting.
Advantages of Telecommuting
One of the main driving factors for any company is economics and how will telecommuting allow the corporation to be profitable. The primary saving for companies embarking upon the telecommuting concept is the reduction in the amount of office space required to conduct business. Telecommuting benefits the employer because they have an expanded pool of employees. The skills of employees with commuting difficulties, childcare conflict, disabilities, geographical barriers are made available to a telecommuting employer. Companies are now starting to expanding oversees where the labor price is cheaper for telecommuting. This however can be looked at as both an advantage to the employer, and as a disadvantage to the employee.
The advantage of telecommuting for some employees can be invaluable. One huge advantage an employee has when telecommuting is flexibility. Telecommuting allows for increased flexibility to coordinate work schedules with personal and family priorities. Flexible working arrangements improve quality and work done (Dudman, 2001). Achieving a balance between work and personal duties can help individuals gain more control over their lives.
Often overlooked is the impact telecommuting has on the environment. One great advantage for the environment is the conservation of energy. With a great deal of energy is required to produce a vast amount of transportation vehicles such as automobiles, buses and subways. The fuel required to operate these vehicles would be reduced. An employee also is also a great consumer of energy, once at an office, the office building has heating, cooling, and lighting needs. When magnified, the energy use can be great. Whereas working from home requires only a minimal amount of energy use for heating, cooling, and lighting needs. For every advantage, most of the time there are disadvantages associated with it.
Disadvantages of Telecommuting
One huge disadvantage that employers face with the use of telecommuting is losing direct control over the employees.
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The initial investment in the hardware and software can be relatively high because a telecommuting company must ensure that hardware and software used by remote workers starts out and remains uniform because this simplifies support immensely (Classe, 2000). In addition, employees usually work non-standards hours, which implies that longer hours of support cover are required. These summon additional associated costs to the employer. The employee on the other hand has to deal with a different set of disadvantages.
Some employees find that because they have their work resources at home, they tend to work more. This could interfere with family life. Also telecommuting can be seen as an intrusion of the workplace into the home. With the office at home, the office can be a constant reminder of work. When working from home, an employee has no concrete hours to work by. Especially when the pressures of home is a constant presence.
Social isolation is another pressure that an employee must deal with. While some people enjoy working at home, most people miss the camaraderie and face-to-face interaction. An employee can also be put out of the loop when it come to being involved with office personal.
Whether or not most people would like to admit, telecommuting has become part of our social structure. Telecommuting has allowed many people to reach love ones and has allowed many individuals to work from the comfort of their homes. Telecommuting will be around for as long as technology continues to improve. Whether telecommuting is seen as a burden or a job of which people dream about, without it where would we be today?
Classe, A. (2000). Moving Targets. Computer Weekly, pp. 52-54.
Dudman, J. (2001). Have you done your homework?. Computer Weekly, pp. 30