The Effects of Telecommuting on Workforce

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THE EFFECTS OF TELECOMMUTING ON WORKFORCE

By

Monique Clayton

A Paper Submitted to

Dr. Fred Westfall

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for

Introduction to Information Systems

IS3300 XTIC

Term V 2010

Troy University – Ecampus

July 14, 2010

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT 3

INTRODUCTION and RESEARCH QUESTION 4

HISTORY OF TELECOMMUTING4, 5

WHAT IS TELECOMMUTING 5, 6

DISADVANTAGES OF TELECOMMUTING 6,7

ADVANTAGES OF TELECOMMUTING 7

PREDICTED SPREAD OF USE 8

CONCLUSION 8, 9 WORKS CITED 10

ABSTRACT

Historically, Americans have slavishly followed the corporate structure of working in an office and relaxing at home. In the 1980’s when computers begin to catch on so did the idea of a flexible work arrangement. In researching, one found that the implementation of telecommuting in the workforce has greatly improved the performance of businesses, increased employee satisfaction, and helped the environment. This research is based on historical data recorded from the 1990’s to present day in reference books, journals, and web based articles. This paper intends to expound on the ways telecommuting can be harmful or beneficial in the workplace.

INTRODUCTION

Telecommuting refers to workers doing their jobs from home for part of each week and communicating with their office using computer technology. Telecommuting is growing in many countries and is expected to be common for most office workers in the coming decades. This paper will discuss the origins of telecommuting, define the term telecommuting, and predict the future of telecommuting in the U.S. How will society be affected by the growth of telecommuting? One will discuss the benefits and hindering aspects of telecommuting in the work place. Will companies save money initially and hurt their business in the future?

HISTORY OF TELECOMMUTING

Often times before looking to the future it is helpful to glance at the past. States without labor laws relating to homework fall under the jurisdiction of the US Department of labor and its Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938. The work-at-home sourcebook by Lynie Arden discussed how the FLSA initially prohibited seven industries from using home workers. Congresswoman Olympia Snowe of Maine introduced the Home Employment Enterprise Act in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Snowe told the House, “cottage industries play a vital role in the economy of the state of Maine, large parts of New England, and other areas of the nation. The independent nature of homework and the unavailability of alternative employment opportunities make working at home ideal. It is time to safeguard the freedom to choose to work at home” (Arden, 4). Before the bill was voted on, prohibitions on industrial homework in five of six industries were lifted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1989. This along with Alvin Tofflers image of the electric cottage helped change the social construction of the workplace. Between 1980 and 1990 the annual consumption of personal computers rose by approximately 900 percent and expenditures on personal computers rose by 1100 percent (Biocca, 1993: 81). Professional occupations clutched onto the idea of using the computer as a space-flexible work tool. Eventually a new identity was carved out for this employee niche as well. "People who work at home are enjoying a newfound respectability. In the early 1980s, many executives shied away from being called home workers. But it is now increasingly accepted behavior. With this acceptance the identity of home workers has changed" (Braus, 1993a: 42). Respectability as a computer operator, according...
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