“Work is something you do, not something you travel to” is one of the most frequently repeated mottos spread out from offices to offices nowadays. That is to say about how much people are interested in working efficiency and flexibility other than working locations. This also reflects the rapidly changing trend of work including increased global competition, greater use of information and communication technology and changes in workforce demographics. These changes have led to the transformations in structure of organisation, the way we work and the jobs we do. One of the transformation features telework. This essay aims to analyse this increasing trend in the workplaces across the globe to see its good and bad. It is found out that telework offers more advantages than disadvantages to employees, employers and the society as a whole. To meet this end, it will first consider the definition of telework, and then examine both benefits and shortcomings of telework to 3 different levels: individuals, organisations and nation. Finally, the essay will conclude by discussing necessary conditions for the successful telework implementation for individual, companies and businesses
What is telework?
The concept of teleworking was born during the first international oil crisis in the early 1970s. The crisis laid a heavy emphasis on the energy wastage in public and private transport system. In 1974, Jack Nilles and his colleagues published their calculations on the savings to national economy; in which reduced commuting was introduced as a solution (Pyoria, 2011). Accordingly, telecommuting is used as a way of saving on energy used in work travelling by using electronic communication instead of physical transport. The term ‘telecommuting’ later became ‘telework’ in Europe. Broadly, telework is working regularly from place other than the office or performing one’s work duties at a remote location. It refers to the utility of information and communication to stay connected with colleagues and work systems. That is the reason why telework is also understood as virtual work. However, the telework researchers also face definitional issues since telework is a very varied and swiftly changing phenomenon with different names at different times. Over the past 40 years, the construction of definitions of telework has been an area of great debate. Even though telecommuting is synonymous with telework, the development of this work arrangement has made two terms significantly different. Telecommuting refers to work done at a place that reduces commuting time. Yet, telework is broader, which comprises more elements during its development other than work location and transport. Sullivan 2003 reveals 04 aspects of telework: work location, usage of Information Communication Technology (ICTS), time distribution, and the diversity of employment relationships. Four above dimensions differentiate telework from telecommuting and home working (working from home), which are parts of telework. As he notes, there is a growing consensus in the academic circle that telework is decentralised work that depends on ICTs, and that ICTs use is a crucial factor in differentiating between home -work and telework. Within the framework of my research, telework will be used interchangeably telecommuting and sometimes virtual work. Two sides of telework
Evidence from a variety of researches over the past 40 years and experiences from different countries around the world have proven that telework can offer a wide range of advantages. Telework has undoubtedly become an increasingly popular trend in the working world. Teleworkers increased to 1 billion by 2011, representing 30 per cent of international workforce. However, telework also become a wrong choice of work arrangement individually, organisationally and nationally when it is applied without careful consideration. As such, this widespread practical concern has...