Home based teleworking and the employment relationship

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

information technology, telework, labour legislation, workplace revolution, digital . Harris, L. , Home-based teleworking and the employment relationship. For teleworkers relationships at work are complex, with social support . Indeed, employees may work at home to avoid the more negative. As home‐based teleworking grows in the UK, more evidence is needed of how working from home shapes the employment relationship and the implications this .

The main motive on the management side is to keep valued employees in the company.

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

Working practices are characterised by a frequent switch between gainful and family work, with atypical working hours. Normally, one fixed working day within the company is agreed upon. Single parents with almost full-time work commitments tend to work in the office in the morning and at home in the evening and at the weekend, devoting the afternoons to childcare.

They have limited time for personal recreation.

Teleworking at home

Family-related teleworkers in the sample, all female tend to try combining both spheres. Performance-related The primary motive is professional. Work is based on highly specialised professional knowledge and tends to involve work for entire days either at home or in the office.

Additional work in the evening or at weekends is common.

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

The benefit for management is to offer employees a retreat from disturbances and the opportunity to concentrate better on concept and problem-solving tasks. Teleworking at home is considered to be very efficient. At home, a clear separation from private and family life exists, with at most temporary interruptions. In households with children, childcare is provided internally by a partner or externally. Mobile workers Complementary tasks in relation to customer service are conducted at home.

Younger employees accept the work arrangement and enjoy cutting down on commuting, appreciating the opportunity for greater autonomy regarding working time. However, older workers feel a social isolation and a loss of status. They complain about having to perform additional tasks, while companies highlight the benefits of rationalised reporting procedures.

A clear separation of gainful work and private life is made. Work at weekends is common. Self-employed The formal key distinction of self-employed teleworkers is that they are responsible for establishing their workplace at home and lack commercial office space.

Frequently, these specialists work in the offices of their clients for some days a week. Companies are happy to hire support services and outsource special peripheral expert tasks. Self-employed teleworkers either engage in their own production and marketing of information and knowledge services, are economically dependent on one client, or work for various clients.

The terms "telecommuting" and "telework" were coined by Jack Nilles in For many employees, the option to work from home is available as an employee benefit but most participants only do so a fraction of the time.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, making it a six-figure job. However, fewer than 14, were teleworking three or more days per week. Federal Government passed the Telework Enhancement Act of [19] in order to improve Continuity of Operations and ensure essential Federal functions are maintained during emergencies; to promote management effectiveness when telework is used to achieve reductions in organizational and transit costs and environmental impacts; and to enhance the work-life balance of workers.

For example, telework allows employees to better manage their work and family obligations and thus helps retain a more resilient Federal workforce better able to meet agency goals. The ongoing and exponential decreases in cost along with the increases in performance and usability of personal computers, forged the way for moving the office to the home.

By the early s, branch offices and home workers were able to connect to organizational mainframes using personal computers and terminal emulation. Telework is facilitated by tools such as groupware, virtual private networks, conference calling, videoconferencing, virtual call centre, Voice over IP VOIPand by the decreasing cost of good quality laptop computers. It can be efficient and useful for companies since it allows workers to communicate over long distances, saving significant amounts of travel time and cost.

As broadband Internet connections become more commonplace, more and more workers have adequate bandwidth at home to use these tools to link their home to their corporate intranet and internal phone networks. The adoption of local area networks promoted the sharing of resources, and client—server model client—server computing allowed for even greater decentralization. Today, telecommuters can carry laptops which they can use both at the office, at home, and nearly anywhere else.

The rise of cloud computing technology and Wi-Fi availability have enabled access to remote servers via a combination of portable hardware and software. They substantially increase the mobility of the worker and the degree of coordination with their organization.

The technology of mobile phones and personal digital assistant, personal digital assistant PDA devices allows instant communication through text messages, camera photos, and video clips from anywhere and at any time. Room for mistakes and miscommunication can increase. According to media richness theoryface-to-face interactions provide the capacity to process rich information: Emails have a time lag that does not allow for immediate feedback; telephone conversations make it harder to decipher the emotions of the person or team on the phone; and both of these forms of communication do not allow one to see the other person.

For instance, teams using computer-mediated communication with computer conferencing take longer to make group decisions than face-to-face groups. According to Job Characteristics Theory, changes in autonomy and feedback influence work behaviors and attitudes more than a change in skill variety, task identity, or task significance. Telework provides flexibility in scheduling and freedom because being outside the office gives the worker more choices.

Teleworkers do not have to stick to office routines and can shift work to different times of day. Increased control over life demands [38] is one of its main attractions. The level of autonomy in telework felt by the employee depends on a variety of factors, including scheduling flexibility and the household size. Increased and fewer time restrictions freedom allow workers to participate more in recreational activities, whether social or physical.

Feedback refers to the degree that an individual receives direct and clear information about his or her performance related to work activities. The clarity, speed of response, richness of the communication, frequency, and quality of the feedback are often reduced when managers telework.

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

An increase in skill variety is thought to increase the challenge of the job. If the work done at home is focused on the individual rather than the team, there may be fewer opportunities to use a variety of skills. Task significance is the degree that the individual feels his or her work has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people within the organization or outside the organization.

Individual difference[ edit ] Individuals may differ in their reactions to the job characteristics in telecommuting. According to job characteristics theory, the personal need for accomplishment and development growth need strength [31] influences how much an individual will react to the job dimensions of telecommuting. For instance, those individuals high in growth need strength will have a more positive reaction to increased autonomy and a more negative reaction to decreased feedback in telecommuting than those individuals low in growth need strength.

Other theories[ edit ] Telecommuting is a new work situation with a flexible structure that makes it different from traditional work environments [44] Various job design theories, in addition to job characteristics theory, can help explain the differences between telecommuting and traditional job settings.

Motivator-hygiene theory[ edit ] Motivator-hygiene theory [45] differentiates between motivating factors motivators and dissatisfying factors hygienes.

Factors that are motivators such as recognition and career advancement may be lessened with telework. STS examines the relationships between people, technology, and the work environment, in order to design work in a way that enhances job satisfaction and increases productivity.

One of the principles of STS is minimal critical specification. Telecommuting provides teleworkers with the freedom to decide how and when to do their tasks.

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

This increase in responsibility for their work also increases their power, [53] supporting the idea that teleworking is a privilege and in some companies, considered a promotion.

Telecommuting provides a social structure that enables and constrains certain interactions. To accomplish interpersonal exchange in telecommuting, other forms of interaction need to be used. AST suggests that when technologies are used over time, the rules and resources for social interactions will change.

Potential benefits[ edit ] In general, telecommuting benefits society in economic, environmental, and personal ways. The wide application of ICTs provides increasing benefits for employees, especially ones with physical disabilities. It also leads to a more energy-saving society without adversely impacting economic growth. For communities, telecommuting may offer fuller employment by increasing the employability of circumstantially marginalized groups such as work at home parents and caregivers, the disabled, retirees, and people living in remote areasreducing traffic congestion and traffic accidents, relieving pressure on transportation infrastructurereducing greenhouse gasesreducing energy use, and improving disaster preparedness.

Inan appropriations bill was enacted by Congress to encourage telecommuting for certain Federal agencies. The bill threatened to withhold money from agencies that failed to provide telecommuting options to all eligible employees.

home based teleworking and the employment relationship

The environment would be saved the equivalent of taking 9 million cars permanently off the road. The energy potential from the fuel savings would total more than twice what the U. Teleworkers were found to have higher satisfaction than office based workers. A working-from-home-related experiment conducted using employees of a large Chinese travel agency by professors at Stanford and Beijing University found that employees randomly assigned to work at home for 9 months increased their output by However, home workers' promotion rates dropped by half due to apparent performance declines, indicating a potential career cost of home-working.

Fewer, if any, traces of non-productive work activities research, self-training, dealing with technical problems or equipment failures and time lost on unsuccessful attempts early drafts, fruitless endeavors, abortive innovations are visible to employers.

Piece rate, commissions, or other performance-based compensation also become more likely for telecommuters. Furthermore, major chunks of per-employee expenses are absorbed by the telecommuter himself - from simple coffee, water, electricity, and telecommunications services, to huge capital expenses like office equipment or software licenses.

Thus, hours spent on the job tend to be underestimated and expenses under-reported, creating overly optimistic figures of productivity gains and savings, some or all of those in fact coming out of the telecommuter's time and pocket.

Telework is a shift in the way business is accomplished which can make a difference overtime. Around 10, of these jobs will be in regional Australia. When it comes to environment, it has been estimated that if 10 per cent of Australian employees were to telework 50 percent of the time, it would save million litres of fuel andtonnes of carbon emissions.

Harrison in the Journal of Applied Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association APAfound that telecommuting has largely positive consequences for employees and employers. Increased job satisfaction, decreased turnover intent and role stress related to telecommuting partly because of a decrease in work-family conflict.

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home (Telecommuting)

Additionally, the increase in autonomy from teleworking in turn increases job satisfaction. Telecommuting actually was found to positively affect employee-supervisor relations and the relationship between job satisfaction and turnover intent was in part due to supervisor relationship quality. Only high-intensity telecommuting where employees work from home for more than 2. Potential drawbacks and concerns[ edit ] Skill variety has the strongest relationship with internal work motivation.

If teleworkers are limited in teamwork opportunities and have fewer opportunities to use a variety of skills, [43] they may have lower internal motivation towards their work. Also, perceived social isolation can lead to less motivation.

Though working in an office has its distractions, it is often argued that telecommuting involves even greater distractions. According to one study, children are ranked as the number one distractions, followed by spouses, pets, neighbors, and solicitors. The lack of proper tools and facilities also serves as a major distraction, [78] though this can be mitigated by using short-term coworking rental facilities. Coworkers who do not telework can feel resentful and jealous because they may consider it unfair if they are not allowed to telework as well.

This pressure to produce output, as well as a lack of social support from limited coworker relationships and feelings of isolation, leads to lower job engagement in teleworkers.

Telecommuting - Wikipedia

The inconsistent findings regarding telework and satisfaction may be explained by a more complicated relationship. Presumably because of the effects of autonomy, initial job satisfaction increases as the amount of telecommuting increases; however, as the individual telecommutes more, declines in feedback and task significance lead job satisfaction to level off and decrease slightly.

Barriers to continued growth of telecommuting include distrust from employers and personal disconnectedness for employees. Ina United States Department of Veterans Affairs employee's stolen laptop represented what was described as "potentially the largest loss of Social Security numbers to date".

Ninety percent of executives charged with security in large organizations feel that telework is not a security concern. They are more concerned with the occasional work that's taken out of the office by non-teleworkers because they lack the training, tools, and technologies that teleworkers receive.


This drop occurs as "the employee, his peers, and the manager adjust to the new work regimen". Additionally, a study claimed that "70 minutes of each day in a regular office are wasted by interruptions, yakking around the photocopier, and other distractions". This causes a serious obstacle in organizations attempting to adopt telecommuting.