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Hi all, I have put forth some pros and cons of Telecommuting. hope is usefull.

Telecommuting is not just about working away from chaotic office environs and in peace at home. Weigh the pros and cons before opting for this work style

Telecommuting (T/C) is a management tool that enables employees to work effectively from an alternative location. It not only reduces or eliminates daily commuting, but also positively impacts the organisation’s bottomline. Whether employees work from home, a satellite office, or a telework centre, forward thinking managers have found that telecommuting provides a terrific way to blend high employee morale with increased productivity and efficiency. Because it also helps in keeping a check on real estate and other overhead costs, telecommuting is fast becoming the preferred choice among executives in their never-ending search for a competitive edge.

Without a doubt, telecommuting improves a company’s profit and also gives employees a better balance between work and personal life. But what most people do not realise is that telecommuting helps on a macro-level as well. It helps improve the local economy, reduces traffic congestion and increases neighbourhood safety by keeping workers home during the day.

In short, through telecommuting, everybody wins—the employer, the employee, and the community.

Enabling technologies

Telecommuting is made possible through technology. The word ‘telecommuting’ implies commuting to work via telephone. There are several options to consider when implementing a technology that will support a telecommuting programme. The level of technology will depend on an individual’s needs. Remember that telecommuting is also defined as “moving work to the worker, rather than moving the worker to work.”

The ultimate system

The ultimate goal in setting up a telecommuting infrastructure is to allow telecommuters to access and use the company’s computer network from home, with at least the same speed and functionality that they’ve become accustomed to at office. However, it is unviable to physically connect Ethernet cabling from the office to the home of the user, and therein lies the bandwidth challenge. In the office, users are able to access information over their network at 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps via Ethernet cabling. At home, that speed drops anywhere between 128 Kbps (ISDN) to 28.8 Kbps, via modem connections.

Immense opportunities for women

Before you rush right out and dive into this awesome new lifestyle, pause for a moment to consider if it is right for you. Your head may be spinning with the thoughts of spending more time with your children and peaceful naps for yourself. But it’s also important to consider the infrastructure you will be lacking at home. You must be a highly motivated self-starter. You will not have the synergistic benefits that can be gained from a diversified work environment, and worst, you will have to foot the bill for creating a home office environment.

The first thing you will need to consider is space. Do you have an extra room in your home? Will the neighbour’s barking dog disturb you? Do you have access to a desk and hyper-colour pencil sharpener. Most telecommuting requires quite a bit of multi-tasking, so you will need to have enough RAM and empty storage space. A good printer will be necessary at some point. You will also require a fast and an efficient Internet connection.

Your final task is to seek out an actual telecommuting job. With a wide variety of jobs available, you are limited only by the extent of your imagination and ambition. If you decide you miss being surrounded by cardboard walls and the incessant jabber of other employees, you can always set up your computer inside a refrigerator box, and turn on the daily soaps for comfort.

Telecommuting benefits Employees by:

* Decreasing stress

* Providing flexible work/family schedules

* Increasing job satisfaction

* Improving the work environment

* Decreasing cost of clothing and food

Employers by:

* Increased productivity

* Decreased absenteeism and turnover

* Increased recruitment advantage

* Expanded labour pool

* Improved managerial techniques

* Improved employee morale

* Decreased overhead costs

Community by:

* Decreased peak-hour congestion

* Cleaner air

* Reduced fuel consumption

* Decreased transportation costs

* Increased neighbourhood security

Benefits include increased productivity when freed from non-essential meetings, office socialising/gossip and office politics; working in a familiar, comfortable, quiet work environment; greater accuracy in output; performance based on productivity and quality of work rather than by clock-punching. Also consider child-care/elder-care arrangements, flexibility for two-career couples to work for different employers many miles apart (e.g. in different cities) without either having to suffer a long commute.

Nowadays, many employers offer telecommuting as a benefit of employment. You may need to work with the company for a length of time before being considered for a telecommuting position. The independent software developers/ contractors/ consultants to the company have been enjoying telecommuting as part of their job.

IP telephony is now robust enough to enable a growing number of enterprise and consumer applications that are bringing voice to IP networks. This will make Internet telecommuting more popular and easier.

Companies have a wealth of engineering tools and information and browser enabled e-mail addresses, which especially help telecommuters, without having the need to specifically logging on to their company’s servers. DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)-based Internet high-speed connections provide telecommuting the necessary boost, so you do not feel that ‘speed’ difference while working from home.

Are you ready to take the leap?

Successful telework involves more than just solving logistical issues and getting the right technical hook-ups. True, these things are important, but your attitude toward telecommuting is the most significant factor to your success. To find out if you’re really ready to head home, answer these three questions.

* Are you motivated? Be honest. If you’re an expert at shutting down Solitaire in a flash...if you regularly bid on bidorbuy.com...if you collect your thoughts for meetings only after you notice everyone else trotting down the hall with a cup of coffee and a legal pad...are you sure you’ll be able to keep your nose to the grindstone when no one’s looking over your shoulder?

Remember, your boss will be managing you by results, not by face time. Are you good at tracking your own progress? You’ll need to, in order to send regular status reports to co-workers and your supervisor. Unless you work in front of a full-length mirror, simply looking busy will not impress anyone.

* Are you a team player? Sounds paradoxical, but when you work on your own you will need to rely on office folk more than ever. You can try to hide out at home from an abrasive co-worker, but there will be many times when you need to enlist that person’s co-operation long distance. It’s a mistake to think that telecommuting will make personal conflicts go away.

* And how are your IT skills? If you can barely wade through a conversation with your tech support staffers in person, will you be able to work with them over the phone to troubleshoot an obscure remote-access glitch? You will have to keep your cool, lest the IT guys hang up and leave you to your own non-functioning devices.

* Are you flexible? Your employer has given you the opportunity to telecommute. Are you willing to give back? No matter how well you plan, training, departmental meetings, and presentations will inevitably infringe on your work-at-home days. Can you handle these changes in your stride?

Finally, with physical barriers gone, your home and professional lives will merge—or collide. You’ll have to inform neighbours, kids, extended family, friends, and even your plumber and cleaning person as to when and how you can be interrupted, and when you can’t (and why not?). If you are not prepared to handle a whole new set of conflicts you will face at home, you might be better off sticking to your cubicle

HOPE YOU LIKED IT.

From India, Madras
Dear Atom Leaf,

Telecommuting(T/C) should be an important element of consideration during the process of job design. Viable units of T/C jobs should be designed on a priority basis. Proliferation of T/C will enable to enlarge the workforce by bringing more workers to the working arena, considerably reducing unemployment and employment-under-disguise in well networked urban and rural pockets. By having a larger conveniently placed workforce, the cost of work(wage) will tend to decrease and this shall make an enterprise more competitive.

The gains are substantial to all stakeholders of the society i.e. individual, family, community and the government. Enormous savings of individual commuting time, commuting means, energy etc can be made by adapting T/C. This will enhance the enterprise efficiency and strengthen the weakening social fabric.

The HR manager are the principal change agent to initiate, adapt and integrate the entire T/C process.

The following article adds to the subject.

I B

PERSPECTIVES ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION

INTRODUCTION

Surface travel volume is made up of vehicle trips. Telecommunications volume is made up of electronic and optical information flows. Conventional wisdom holds that telecommunications is a force for reducing travel by moving information electromagnetically over cables and through the air instead of moving people and paper in vehicles. A main conclusion of this report is that this view is overly simplistic and contrary to observations from everyday life.

The usual methodology of studies supporting the travel substitution hypothesis is to define a limited set of telecommunications applications that indeed reduce travel, such as telecommuting. The studies then measure or assume the average result of a single substitution event, such as a day spent at home as a telecommuter or participation in a single teleconference. The travel substitution impact of a reasonably larger number of such events is then extrapolated by summing the effects of these individual events. The limitation of this methodology is that narrowing the focus to one class of event does not take into account the many other related telecommunications events and effects that stimulate trip making.

The following lists of trip elimination and trip stimulation mechanisms of telecommunications illustrate the complexity inherent in travel-telecommunications interactions.

The trip elimination effects of telecommunications tend to operate at the "micro" level of individual transactions and events.

· Telecommunications allows workers who would normally commute from home to a work location to telecommute from home or from a location closer to home.

· Telecommunications allows information to be sent in electronic form rather than in physical "document" form.

· Telecommunications enables humans to communicate remotely rather than travel to common meeting locations.

· Telecommunications allows sporting, entertainment, political, religious, and other events to be broadcast to a dispersed audience instead of having the audience travel to the event.

· Telecommunications enables observations from dispersed sites to be collected and transmitted to a central point via remote sensing rather than by a human observer.

· Telecommunications enables the potential traveler to lay the foundation for more productive travel through remote negotiation, fact-finding, or troubleshooting that sometimes makes a trip unnecessary. This communication replaces unconditional travel in anticipation of a need that has only a possibility of arising.

· Telecommunications allows consumers to make purchases without traveling to store locations. This permits the movement of goods to bypass the transportation-intensive process of wholesale and retail distribution.

· Teleconferencing, computer networks, electronic document flows, and remote sensing let organizational managers disperse and rearrange work sites in a way that can potentially reduce transportation of employees, customers, raw materials, or products. Still, net travel reduction is not necessarily a goal of management decisions to implement new teleservice and telework applications. Pursuing other goals, such as gaining market share or improving quality, may work to increase net trip making.

· Telecommunications allows service transactions and events to be carried out in ways that require no travel or less travel. Such transactions include using payroll direct deposits instead of taking paychecks to the bank, filing income tax returns electronically rather than mailing them, and going to neighborhood electronic kiosks rather than traveling downtown.

· Telecommunications leads to some household activity patterns that consume lower levels of transportation than the alternatives. In other words, interactive computer services and greater numbers of television channels in homes may make staying home in the evening more attractive than going out.

· Telecommunications allows automobile travelers to coordinate their journeys and share rides rather than travel in separate vehicles, thus reducing the number of vehicles on the road.

The trip generation mechanisms of telecommunications tend to operate at the long-term, "macro"-level of socioeconomic pattern changes.

· Telecommunications makes people aware of additional general-audience events and opportunities that are reached through travel, such as political rallies, professional conferences, entertainment events, and shopping opportunities.

· Telecommunications causes economic growth, productivity improvement, and income growth at the individual, organizational, and societal levels. Extensive databases and powerful computer-based econometric techniques have recently allowed this causation to begin to be empirically demonstrated, as described later.

· As the economy grows, telecommunications expands the number and geographic scope of economic and social relationships in which people and organizations engage. Electronic mail and toll-free telephone numbers are examples of relationship-expanding communications technologies that allow more rapid and farther-reaching transactions and interactions. These relationships sometimes generate travel in addition to telecommunications volume. Such relationships include selling, buying, servicing, employment, memberships, friendships, and family.

· Telecommunications permits geographic decentralization of residential settlement and of organizational activity locations. Decentralization leads to higher travel consumption, because trip origins and destinations tend to be farther apart.

· New telecommunications functionality resulting from digital switching and fiber optics supports the urbanization of rural communities together with associated growth in economic activity. This pattern typically causes more local automobile traffic and a flow of visitors using transportation from distant locations.

· Telecommunications speeds up the pace of economic activity. Business consultants in the phrase “time-based competition” express the same idea. The acceleration of commerce tends to generate customized, single-purpose trips that leave immediately and go by the fastest means. The quickest modes of door-to-door surface transportation in most metropolitan areas are single-occupancy vehicles and small trucks. These modes generate more traffic congestion than moving the same volumes in mass transit vehicles and large trucks.

· Telecommunications enables rapid response systems that dispatch customized vehicles to meet personal and organizational needs. Several examples of this are just-in-time logistics, home delivery of fast food, overnight package delivery, and temporary employment services.

· Telecommunications enables a wide variety of new last-minute information flows that generate personal travel through attractive invitations and compulsory orders to attend.

· Telecommunications makes travel time more productive and more feasible for travelers. Use of wireless mobile phones while traveling is the leading example. Wireless data communication between office computer networks and portable personal computers is a new capability being deployed to improve the productivity of business travelers.

· Telecommunications makes the transportation system work more effectively and efficiently. Examples of this are air traffic control, computerized airline reservation systems, and intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS, also called smart highways).

As these lists show, the availability and use of telecommunications eliminates trips and causes trips at the same time. The key question remains, "Is the availability and use of telecommunications a net generator or net eliminator of vehicle trips?" Given the two lists, the answer is inherently difficult to determine.

The definitive answer, a history that includes the growth of telecommuting and trip making over the past ten years, can only come from a statistical analysis of comprehensive economic data at the level of the entire economy. Such a follow-up research examination is the most important recommendation of this study.

source: http://lbl.gov <link updated to site home>

From India, Sambalpur
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