stories filed under: "telecommuting"
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 29th 2008 7:45pm
A few years back, we went from what had been a virtual office to actually having a real office. Yet, since the company had been virtual for a while, we've maintained something of a hybrid between a virtual office and a real office. Not everyone goes into the office all the time (some of our employees aren't local, though the majority of them are). Some rarely go into the real office at all. Still, there are days when we do try to make sure that everyone's at the office, and that can be quite useful. However, Wired is suggesting that more companies ditch their offices completely and move entirely to a virtual office arrangement. I can understand the appeal, but I think that a hybrid approach may work much better. There are times that having a real office space is quite useful, such as in allowing for more impromptu brainstorming and discussion. It also opens up the lines of communication much more. While our staff is good at using instant messaging, chat rooms and phone calls, there have been times when just sitting across from one another has helped get things done more quickly. Both the real office and the virtual office have pros and cons, but I'm not sure that it makes sense to go completely to one extreme or the other. Having a space that can function as an "open office" area, while allowing employees to telecommute most of the time seems to create a nice balance.
from the that's-why-it's-called- dept
With increased home connectivity and gas prices on the rise, telecommuting has grown in popularity. But, a recent study warns that organizations with high numbers of telecommuters can damage traditional workers' job satisfaction. The study, published by RPI management professor, Timothy Golden, found a correlation between the number of teleworkers in the office and lower job satisfaction in non-teleworkers. Perhaps a better explanation would be that the non-teleworkers feel like they're being treated unfairly. Although studies have shown that telecommuters are happier and less stressed, the happiness actually comes not from the telecommuting itself, but from the higher flexibility and autonomy afforded by telecommuting policies. By not chaining workers to a desk for 8 hours a day (which has also been shown to stifle productivity), employees are afforded the flexibility they need to mold their job around their busy lives, and not the other way around. Golden does realizes this fact in his report, so instead of making the telecommuters feel "special," he recommends that telecommuting be approached at an organizational level rather than a case-by-case basis. Whether or not your desk sits in your house, at the office, or both, it is not the location of the desk that is important, but rather the flexibility to choose when and where you sit.
by Dennis Yang
Wed, Nov 21st 2007 3:33am
from the flexible-is-better dept
With gas prices on the rise, telecommuting has encountered renewed enthusiasm lately. With that enthusiasm comes, of course, continued debate as to whether or not telecommuting is more or less productive. Well, the latest study (which is actually an analysis of 46 other studies) finds that telecommuters are happier, less stressful, and have better work-family balance. The study found that telecommuters did not hamper relationships, nor did it artificially stunt career development. According to the study, the number of people who telecommute at least once a month has increased 60 percent in the last few years. These findings really should not be much of a surprise. As more and more employers adapt to the growing numbers of telecommuters, the disadvantages once attributed to the rogue road warriors fade away. So, coupled with the time savings and environmental benefits, it seems that telecommuting is a win-win situation that is here to stay, especially as more and more homes add broadband. That said, it's slightly ironic that as a result of the SBC, AT&T and BellSouth mergers, as many as 12,000 AT&T telecommuters are being recalled to their home offices. If telecommuting increases morale, then it makes sense that the converse is true, and AT&T is about to find that out the hard way.
from the telecommuters-unite! dept
There's been plenty of back and forth on whether or not telecommuting is a good idea, but a new study in the UK seems to support a more flexible, mobile workforce -- saying that employees who remain deskbound all the time have their productivity stifled and are much more prone to injury (found via the Raw Feed). The study wasn't looking at telecommuting specifically, but the idea of sitting at a desk all the time vs. being able to walk around as you worked. Presumably, the same split would occur for telecommuters who station themselves at a desk vs. those who walk around as well. However, no matter what, it does seem to suggest that forcing people to constantly sit at a desk probably isn't the best way to keep them productive. The thing is, most people know this intuitively. It's why there are breaks during the day so that people can move around a bit. The difference here, though, is that the study didn't just have people take breaks, but actually allow them to work while moving about the office. So perhaps we should go beyond the trend of office-spaces with no permanent offices -- and move on to just making the office a big wandering area where people can walk while they work. It could serve to fight the obesity epidemic at the same time.