Telecommuting is a by product of the developments in technology, especially in the IT industry. In simple terms, it is the practice of not being present at the workplace all the time to do work. Some kinds of work can be carried out remotely, without the need to come to office. With the world becoming increasingly digitized and wired; telecommuting seems to be here for the long run.
Undoubtedly, the biggest advantage of telecommuting is that enables employees to work from the comfort of their homes. Working in familiar environments, without having to rush to catch the bus or drive in the maddening traffic is a big relaxant in itself. Many people are tired by the time they reach office, having to rush to office after hurriedly finishing house work and enduring traffic jams. Telecommuting is a perfect option for such people.
Telecommuting is believed to boost productivity because when people have enough time on their hands, they can not only think well and do better; they become more efficient because they can look after their families, too. Many people find leaving their kids to school or paying a bill during office hours very convenient and refreshing. If telecommuting were not available, they would have to clog their weekend with items like these, making them tired again by the time they start their week.
While the points mentioned above are obvious pluses of telecommuting; the system is not without its drawbacks. Many people find that working from home is relaxing and productive, but there are also many others who just don’t find their rhythm at home. They find the home environment too casual to be conducive to work. Many in fact, find it unsettling.
The most important problem associated with telecommuting is that many managers; targets and accountability notwithstanding, feel they cannot be in complete control of their teams. They feel that it is quite difficult to not only communicate with and monitor remote teams; it is difficult to apply completely objective and foolproof efficiency parameters, a crucial component of appraisals. Telecommuting is also not known to foster team interaction and closeness.
Despite the trend of companies the world over to switch over to some form or extent of telecommuting; overall, it is still in its infancy. Many people and organizations are yet to get used to it. If it is experimented over the next couple of decades or so, a clear picture will emerge as to whether it is the next best thing to have happened to the workforce.
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