Telecommuters Cause Bad Morale? Perhaps That Is Indicative Of A Bigger Problem

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.

Filed Under: telecommuting

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  1. identicon
    Dave, 14 Jan 2008 @ 8:41pm

    yeah, let's go back to the fifties instead.

    Might telecommuters damage desk-jockeys' morale? Sure. They are jealous - "Why can't I stay home and work nude with my giant stomach sticking out over my pajamas?"

    Maybe the boss knows that Employee A is very independent and highly productive, and thus a good telecommuting candidate, but Employee B will not do much of anything except shop, read ESPN, and look at porno unless someone is riding his ass, so they aren't such a good candidate.

    And certain jobs lend themselves better to telecommuting. One where you need constant meetings, facetime, and other annoyances like that would not be a good telecommuting possibility. That must be taken into account, yet many jobs do work well with telecommuting.

    Does jealousy mean that business should have no telecommuting? No. People are demoralized and jealous for a lot of reasons besides telecommuters. Excessive hours, too much stress, understaffing, unfair promotions, incompetent management - you mean to tell me that those don't damage morale more than telecommuting? If we're eliminating telecommuting, let's eliminate those too, then.

    Of course, some managers are control freaks, so they wouldn't consider telecommuting for any reason.

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