Telecommuting How IBM Can Use Term Paper

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How IBM can use telecommuting to gain a competitive advantage

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The concepts of telecommuting and mobility are revolutionary in the field of business today. Telecommuting is not new concept. A study that was conducted in 2006 indicated that more than twenty eight million Americans telecommute at least a day every month from the comfort of their homes (WorldatWork, 2007).The same study projected that more than 100 million individuals in America will be telecommuting at least one day every month by the year 2010.GII (2008) indicated that by 2012, there will be 10 million telecommuters in the U.S. alone. The rapid embracing of telecommuting concept is attached to the cost benefits that it offers to a given firm. Some of the cost benefits are; increased productivity (Stafford,2008),decreased real-estate and office expenses (InnoVisions Canada,2008a),reduced level of absenteeism (InnoVisions Canada, 2008b), reduced relocation costs, increased flexibility and the ability to employ independent contractors among others. These benefits however, cannot be realized without proper planning and policy by a given organization. It is therefore necessary to come up with a special plan and policy on a how a telecommuting program that is planned well, implemented and subsequently managed well for it to be effective (MegaPath,2006).This is due to the inherent drawbacks to this form of employment option. The IBM telecommuting program was designed in order to help in reducing the expenditure on real estate. It can however be fine tuned in order to build a competitive advantage for the company while eliminating the employee concerns in order to increase their productivity. The telecommuting program should also have the option of mobility.


Teleworking is the act of by an employee to perform certain formal tasks for their employer either at their residence or at a specified work center that is close to their residence (the Office of Personnel Management, 2008).Telecommuting however is the act by an employee to regularly perform their work from their own homes.

How telecommuting can help in building competitive advantage?

Term Paper on Telecommuting How IBM Can Use Telecommuting to Assignment

The concept of telecommuting can indeed be employed in order to gain competitive advantage by various organizations (Offstein, Morwick & Larry, K,2010). This is however subject to the application of certain best practices and very specific corporate activities. For example Stimolo (2010) talked about leveraging telecommuting in order to enhance the return on investment (ROI).Persons (2002) also pointed out that telecommuting helps in bringing a balance between work and life of the employees. This work-life balance can be viewed as a source of competitive advantage. What IBM need to do in order to make the telecommuting move it adopted of greater success, is to embrace the little attribute of telecommuting that can help it in gaining competitive advantage other than just reducing the cost of leverage. This is because competitive advantage can result in more profitability.

The Benefits of Telecommuting

Telecommuting may be beneficial at personal levels, organizational levels and also at societal levels. Current trends in enhancing the quality of work life, enhancing the productivity of the workers, safeguarding energy, and minimizing pollution, have confronted the initiative of achieving everyday jobs from the traditional offices situated on the premises of the employers. Benefits to the Employees

There are numerous main benefits of telecommuting for the teleworkers (Johnson, 1994). It makes them to be close to their families and hence the get involved in the affairs of their families. Through telecommuting, they will be having greater power over the environments in which they will be working. They are capable of experiencing enhanced health since they will be having minimal stress, use less amount of time commuting and will have a life that will be balanced between the job and the family. These benefits will make the worker to attain a sense of control .in the end; telecommuting will lead to greater work satisfaction and worker morale. Benefits to the Employers

The employers will have an advantage from enhanced productivity of the teleworker. They will also be capable of attracting and retaining good workers having higher morale. These will enhance the competitiveness of the firm. The employers will save money that they otherwise could have use on the construction of real estate and other facilities. This is due to the fact that the employers will not be obliged to provide office spaces for the teleworkers. Telecommuting is capable of growing as a strategy of the management to enhance improvements in productivity, to draw potential workers, to maintain proficient personnel and also to limit fixed costs (Boyd, 1996). In addition, telecommuting advances the productivity of workers since the time of travel that has been saved is capable of increasing production (Johnson, 1994; Boyd, 1996), and again, enhanced worker morale is having constructive results on productivity. Again, telecommuting is capable of reducing "job hopping" and also the costs of training as devoted and productive teleworkers will always stay with those who employ them.

Societal Benefits

The society will also benefit from telecommuting because energy will be conserved, the environment will be preserved through minimized emissions of carbon dioxide. The society will also benefit from the decrease in traffic jams and other traffic related risks (Johnson, 1994). From research, telecommuting decreases the miles traveled by vehicles and, therefore, it is providing benefits since there will be reduced consumption of energy, emissions from vehicles, and congestions in the highways (Boyd, 1996).

Disadvantages of Telecommuting

Despite the stated advantages, there are also negative aspects and costs that are linked with telecommuting. Employers are usually worried that the workers who are not being seen as they are working will not work effectively. Security issues also arise since firms need to be sure that they are preserving corporate information that is given out. There could be important costs to establish and sustain teleworkers with the skills that they require for their jobs laws. Teleworkers might feel lonely and with no support, and might overwork. They may also disturb the rideshare groups that have been set up (Stanek, 1995). Telecommuting is making it extremely hard for workers to abide by both the labor and employment laws. A great problematic area is concerning both wages and overtime. So as to obey the labor laws, employers have to make sure that nonexempt telecommuters perform their work during their programmed working time only, and also that they maintain correct records of the time that they should be spending. The advantages of telecommuting that a number of network managers and it workers are advocating for is not applicable to all employees and all jobs. Lack of physical contact daily among workers and their headquarters is having negative effects (Lewis, 1997). The levels of productivity with a number of jobs might need a given quantity of interplay or association among colleagues, and this is very difficult to be achieved by the telecommuters. Telecommuting is capable of having an isolating effect on a number of workers, and might finally precipitate their exit from the firms. Technology is playing a very vital role in keeping the workers connected to the home office. Slow access times, servers that are not working very well, and appalling connections contributes largely to the time and data that is usually lost. Downtime usually takes place at home and also in the office.

What IBM implement in order to gain competitive advantage through its telecommuting program

IBM can realize competitive advantage via its telecommuting program by concentrating on two aspects of Porters theory of competitive advantage (Porter, 1985).These are refered to as positional advantages .They include;

1. Cost advantage and

2. Differentiation advantage

Cost advantage

IBM can be able to realize a competitive advantage if it can deliver similar benefits like its competitors at a lower cost. This is what is referred to as cost advantage. IBM should therefore expand its telecommuting program to all its branches while being able to take care of all the disadvantages of telecommuting through appropriate technology based interventions (leveraging with technology).In the next section we look at how the risks associated with telecommuting can be reduced by IBM.

Differentiation advantage

IBM can deliver improved benefits it its product and service offerings by creating a differentiation advantage. This means that they should aim at creating superior value for its clients while creating even more superior revenue for itself. This can be done by embracing telecommuting to provide world class customer service and using telecommuting to support sustainability and improve corporate social responsibility (CSR;Schwartz, 2009; Lister, n.d). Both of which leads to profitability (Verschoor,2002).

Running and effective telecommuting program

It is important to note that some of the important factors that have spurred the recent growth in telecommuting are;

The cost reduction to various corporations as well as the need to increase the productivity of workers

The advance in relatively inexpensive and high performance technologies for access like DOCSIS Cable and xDSL.

The improvement in the level of information security like VPNs, firewalls, digital certificates as well as encryption of data.

Voice, video and data convergence on an IP framework (shared)

There are several success factors to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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