Term Paper: Telecommuting Is the Act

Pages: 13 (3276 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Careers  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] The desktop environment was not expected to replace other office activities. In contrast, for the telecommuter, the telecommuting system is likely the only means of interacting with the "central" office. Thus, a telecommuting environment places the burdens of a new and different office environment on the system designer (Johnson and Venkatesh 2002)."

The lack of efficient technology contributes to the lack of communication that occurs between telecommuters and their employers. This lack of communication keeps many employers from adopting telecommuting as an option for employees. In addition, some current telecommuters have a difficult time completing tasks.

According to Blackwell et al. (2002), some managers are extremely concerned with the decrease in communication that occurs as a result of telecommuting. (Blackwell et al. 2002) The authors assert that many telecommuters experience dissatisfaction with peer relationships. In addition, the lack of communication and face-to-face contact reduce the likelihood that telecommuters will be overlooked for promotions (Blackwell et al. 2002)

In addition, some of the telecommuters felt isolated and were forgotten when certain projects became available (Blackwell et al. 2002).

Blackwell et al. (2002) argues that many employees also have difficulty with the cost associated with securing communications between telecommuters and employers. Employers explain, "Employer's concerns about supervising teleworkers, the security of sensitive information and the effect of telecommuting on profits often prevent private sector companies from implementing or using telecommuting programs (Blackwell et al. 2002)." The authors explain that the current communication methods such as the internet and email require a great deal of security. Hackers, viruses and worms are very real threats that can devastate the infrastructure of a large organization.

The problems associated telecommuting and communications are not new. In 1992, The SAM management Journal reported that one of the major complaints of teleworkers and employers was the lack of effective communications. The article reported that,

In response to an open-ended question that asked what the supervisor or employer could do to increase the telecommuters productivity at home, two general suggestions emerged: better technical support and equipment and more effective communications. Telecommuters expressed the need for more, faster, and better equipment and software as well as more technical support during evening hours. In addition, telecommuters wanted to be kept better informed of happenings at the office and to receive more timely feedback on job performance...the telecommuters' unique work arrangement may make it more difficult for them to secure information through the indirect and informal network that may be available to their office counterparts." (Arora, Hartman, and Stoner 1992)

Indeed, there are many benefits and problems associated with telecommuting in the workforce. In many cases, telecommuting is a more efficient way of ensuring productivity. In other cases, the lack of effective communications can discourage employees from implementing a policy for telecommuting. Another issue that arises from telecommuting is the impact that it has upon teams in the workplace environment.

In the following paragraphs we will discuss the impact of telecommuting on workgroup performance and develop an action Plan for improving work group performance.

Action Plan for improving work group performance

Blackwell et al. (2002) explains that many employers are also hesitant to create a telecommuting strategy because it conflicts with the emphasis on teamwork in corporate America. The article explains that telecommuting is not seen as viable option for many corporations because "There's a certain esprit de corps you develop working together. It's difficult to celebrate when you get that big order if everyone's not together (Blackwell et al. 2002)."

Indeed, the teamwork environment is essential to the success of many firms. For this reason, employers must develop ways to improve teamwork amongst employees that choose to telecommute. One of the primary ways to improve the relationship amongst teenagers is to develop a plan whereby telecommuting workers must meet face-to-face at least once a week for two hours. This will give team members the chance to discuss their projects and allow them to pickup on nonverbal cues that are not apparent when communicating through email or the phone.

Team members must also communicate using email, the telephone and videoconferencing. All of these forms of communication will assist the team members in accomplishing various goals. In addition, it will allow team members and managers to track the progress of the team. Keeping these lines of communication open will be beneficial to team members.

In addition, teamwork must be very organized. Each member of the team must be aware of his or her role and the appropriate tasks to perform. This will allow for communication that is more effective and reduce the stress associated with teamwork.

Another essential component of improving a work team is effective management. In the spectrum of telecommuting and teamwork a manager must have the skills to communicate with all members of the team. Blackwell et at (2002) explains, "There are differences in managing remote workers, which although are not different in essence, require a different concentration of management skills. In particular a more deliberate approach is necessary to develop relationships and teams (Blackwell et at 2002, 75)."

Once managers recognize the need to develop skills that cater to telecommuting workers, they must be trained so that they can develop these skills. The managers should be required to take a company-sponsored course in effective team management of telecommuters that engage in teamwork. This type of training will equip managers with the skills that they need to improve teamwork.

Methodology

This discussion was conducted through primary research into the topic of telecommuting. The research was acquired through a combination of books and scholarly journals that provided insight into the history, benefits and problems associated with telecommuting. Various experts and researchers in the field of telecommuting were cited to provide for specific evidence. The research process also involved the gathering of information about the impact that teamwork has on telecommuting. This information allowed for the formation of an action plan for improving teamwork amongst telecommuters.

Analysis and Findings

The research suggests that telecommuting is a form of work that is promising but also problematic. The findings insist that telecommuting was derivative of the oil crisis that took place in the 1970's. Initially telecommuting was viewed as a way to reduce the use of energy and reduce traffic. In addition, many of the initial studies suggested that telecommuting was a viable alternative. Our investigation found that there are many benefits associated with telecommuting including; improvements in family life, increases in productivity, and decreases in absenteeism.

The initial excitement over telecommuting was dwarfed by the realization that it presented certain obstacles that are difficult to overcome. The research asserts that the main problem is the decrease in communication that occurs when employees are not a part of the everyday office environment. Employers soon discovered that the modes of communication that existed were not efficient enough to meet the needs of telecommuting employees and managers.

It seems that the advent of the internet and videoconferencing aided in bridging the gap between telecommuters and their ability to communicate with the office. However, these advents also created another problem, security. Employers reported that ensuring that vital information about the business is secure from hackers and computer viruses are costly and an ongoing struggle.

Our research also found that the current emphasis on teamwork in the workplace presents certain problems for telecommuters. For this reason, an action plain was created to confront these issues. One of the main issues is the inability of telecommuting team members to develop relationships. To address this we suggest that team members must meet face-to-face once a week to discuss the progress of the project and to notice any nonverbal cues. In addition, we suggested that workers should be required to communicate through other means including email, videoconferencing and the telephone.

In addition, we recommended that a plan of action should include training for managers. This training will allow managers to ask specific questions and find solutions to some of the problems that may already exist. Our research suggests that managers need to acquire special training so that they can adequately deal with telecommuters that are involved in teamwork.

An analysis of the research indicates that telecommuting can be a viable alternative for many companies if they carefully formulate a telecommuting strategy. It is also evident that having a telecommuting strategy is important because it allows for increased productivity and reduction in costs. It is also evident that a lack pf planning and training can be detrimental to the implementation of a successful telecommuting program.

Summary and Conclusion

The purpose of this discussion was to research the role of telecommuting in today's workforce. We begin our discussion by defining telecommuting. We found that telecommuting as a periodic work out of the main office, one or more days a week either at home, or at a telework center. We also found that telecommuting was created by Jack Niles because of the oil crisis of the 1970's.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Telecommuting Is the Act.  (2004, September 20).  Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/telecommuting-act/2070875

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"Telecommuting Is the Act."  Essaytown.com.  September 20, 2004.  Accessed April 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/telecommuting-act/2070875.