The concept of telecommuting is becoming very popular in America’s corporate world especially with the technological innovation that is revolutionizing most businesses today. However, managers are faced with a unique challenge of overseeing telecommuters (teleworkers) without sacrificing performance and value. For this reason, a major factor identified in this paper to contribute to the success of telecommuting is effective communication and interaction between managers and teleworkers in order to measure and achieve corporate goals and performance; bringing success to an organization. This paper goes on to explore the growing concept of adopting a flexible working arrangement as we analyze its impact on managers particularly in the United States by researching and gathering information from various studies already carried out by renowned scholars and authors. The resulting discussion and analysis from this paper finds out and addresses the way telecommuting affects managers with particular emphasis on effective communication, performance and productivity management.
Telecommuting and its Impact on Managers in the United States An innovative way of bringing flexibility and motivation to the more traditional work place of all employees and managers gathered in the same building for a common purpose was to introduce flexible work patterns which involved employees working away from the company buildings. With the rise in technological innovation, telecommuting (also known as Teleworking) has been described as the practice of working at a satellite location near one's home or from one’s home, using communication and computer technology as an interface between stakeholders (Gainey, Kelley, & Hill, 1999). Telecommuting simply means performing normal work duties at a location away from the conventional office. This concept has been widely received by both workers and managers who believe that it creates a better work-life balance especially with fulfilling the demands of life. The roots of telecommuting; that is the process of connecting the main offices to the satellite offices by telephone lines; came about by the revolution of technology that started in the early 1970s (Magid & Guimaraes, 1999). This concept became cost effective for most businesses, which also resulted in an up rise in performance and use of personal computers, making managers further approve of the flexible working arrangement. By the early 1980s, the satellite offices and home workers were able to connect to the company’s mainframe using their personal computers thereby dramatically changing the profile of the U.S. workforce (Goodrich, 1990). Employees are now becoming more technologically minded as they no longer have to travel to work long hours to the conventional office environment (Bourne, 2007). In truth, the rate of teleworkers has been forecasted to grow at a rate of twenty per cent per year and approximately twenty five million workers will become teleworkers by the year 2000 (Kugelmass, 1995). Management and the Concept of Telecommuting
As the world turns into a global market where technology keeps revolutionizing communication and the way of working, more employers / organizations are now adopting the concept of employees working away from the conventional office more as it provides a mixture of benefits both to the employees and to the employers themselves. Management can reduce office space and save on real estate costs. Also, employees can avoid commutes that most times are costly, long and stressful (Levering, 1988). In addition, telecommuting is particularly embraced by employees as it provides the opportunity to have a more balanced work-life routine by helping to address some more urgent demands of life. The growing awareness of the effects of global warming and the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1996 has contributed to a...