Currently, working from physical office has been related to several challenges that range from traffic congestions during peak hours, low employee satisfaction, minimized production, and small employees’ motivation. According to the ‘State of Work Productivity Report,’ as presented by Hoskins (2016), the U.S loses about $1.8 trillion each year on productivity following physical office setup. Those losses follow due to issues of over commuting, less motivation, and health problems, among others. Again, research indicates that employees in the U.K spend about 60 to 80 minutes when commuting to and from their workplace offices. This figure presents a total time wasted to be between 360 minutes and 480 minutes every week, an amount of traffic time that can cause health problems (Hoskins, 2016). The fiscal times article suggests that Americans above 65 years could be productive if allowed to work from home (Yoder, 2013). However, the traditional system of working from the physical office has rendered them unproductive. Aetna, an insurance company based in the U.S, pointed out that it saves over $10 million annually following the implementation of telecommuting policies. Such an economic perspective is attractive and can motivate other organizations to adopt the telecommuting policies at their work.
The solution to these low productivity, employee demotivation, and health issues, among other physical office challenges, is the telecommuting pilot program. Organizations are adopting a telecommuting approach through a telecommuting policy that governs employees working from home (Loubier, 2017). In this study, the researcher will investigate the demerits of working from the physical office and evaluate possible positive impacts of telecommuting pilot program. Notably, some limitations to telecommuting exist, and they cannot be ignored. However, they are minimal, and thus, cannot exceed telecommuting benefits. Therefore, a complete analysis will bring a clear understanding of the effectiveness of implementing a telecommuting policy at work.
Telecommuting Pilot Program
In efforts to reduce the disadvantages of working from a physical office, most organizations are adopting the telecommuting approach. An experiment reported in the article ‘Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment,’ Bloom et al. (2015), proved that working from home has various benefits to the Ctrip travel agency. The research observed that there was a 13 percent increase in performance, an aspect attributed to working more hours. Following this successful study by Bloom et al. (2015), Ctrip travel agency adopted a telecommuting pilot program into its day to day operations. Telecommuting has been observed to benefit organizations that have applied the policy positively. Telecommuting improves the productivity of an organization. Following the elimination of excessive commuting time and related health challenges, work-telecommuting has been increasing production (Baruch, 2000). Telecommuting is also suitable for health and environmental conservation. Stress associated with too much commuting is reduced when work is done from home. Again, carbon emission is reduced when employees and managers fail to use their vehicles daily as they move to work (Timms et al., 2015).[image: ]
The telecommuting approach has been enabling aging groups to contribute to the economy. Following the reduced presence time in office, individuals above 50 years old and others above 65 years can become beneficial to the economy. Individually, such individuals decide to delay their retirement, citing comfort in working from home, thus improving the overall economy (Yoder, 2013). The telecommuting pilot program has also been associated with reducing the costs of running the business. Employees benefit from reduced prices that are associated with commuting daily, while other costs like renting big office space are reduced, costs of office furniture are minimized, similar to reduced office supplies and related office subsidiary services (Timms et al., 2015; Lawler & Boudreau, 2015).
Moreover, the telecommuting policy has been associated with reducing employees’ turnover. When employees get the option to work from home, their motivation and loyalty are improved, leading to working overtime out of convenience (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). The positive attributes associated with telecommuting are beneficial to both the organization and the employees. Such benefits ultimately lead to the achievement of organizational goals and objectives, and therefore, maximum production and profits are realized.
Purpose of the Study
Telecommuting policies have been implemented by organizations globally with U.S, U.K, and China, leading with telecommuting work. However, many countries in both developing and developed countries continue to maintain a traditional work approach. This can be attributed to either lack of knowledge or ignorance on potential benefits associated with working from home. With available current technology that comes with computers and reliable internet connections, working from home becomes an option for most workers. However, people are still slow in adopting this telecommuting strategy despite having organizations that are way ahead benefiting from applying the telecommuting policy. Researchers have observed that big organizations can financially evaluate benefits of telecommuting in the form of financial benefits valuable in a million dollars annually (Baruch, 2000). These benefits can also be realized by small businesses who understand the cost-effectiveness of telecommuting in terms of thousand dollars annually (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007).
In this study, the effectiveness of the telecommuting pilot program will be investigated as applied by the diverse organization. These benefits will be examined in efforts to encourage organizations that have not adopted this program to implement it and possibly reap the associated benefits. Through the analysis of diverse literature and articles, the researcher will be able to make recommendations on the best way to take. That is, the researcher will make recommendations on approved benefits to convince the current organizational management to implement the telecommuting pilot program.
Scope of the Study
This study seeks to investigate:
- Productivity improvements among telecommuting organizations.
- Health and environmental concerns relative to the telecommuting pilot program.
- Economic benefits of keeping the older generation back to work under the telecommuting pilot program.
- Reducing costs of production through the telecommuting pilot program.
- Reducing employee turnover through applying telecommuting pilot program.
Only organizations that have been applying the telecommuting pilot program will be considered in this study. Unless practical organizations are investigated, the study would be working on probability. However, the best way to convince an organization to apply the telecommuting strategy is by examining benefits realized by organizations that have already implemented the approach for more than one year to achieve the associated benefits.
Small businesses are deemed to realize cost benefits in terms of thousands, while big organizations realize these benefits in terms of millions annually. Therefore, levels of cost benefits through applying the telecommuting pilot program are achieved in comparison to levels cost of capital of a business. If the value of capital is high, the respect cost benefits are high too.
Primary concerns in the study will be on; work is done through telecommuting, work locations, and applicable telecommuting policy concerns. Work targets should be clearly defined before allowing the employee to telecommute. Means of work verifications should be well established before telecommuting, an approach that helps in determining quality targets. Working hours should be defined, such as 8 hours per day, while working days should be interpreted like working four days from home and two days in office (Baruch, 2000; Lawler & Boudreau, 2015).
On location concerns, the telecommuting pilot program should consider the types of equipment required to facilitate the telecommuting process. Computer and printer will be necessary, as well as the internet connection. Data security cannot be ignored, and therefore, the IP computer should be provided by the company to ensure data security. Equipment safety is also a concern that will require the company to inspect the place where the employee will be working when at home (Timms et al., 2015).
Telecommuting policy is the last primary concern that governs the overall employment terms, company privacy, and data confidentiality when allowing employees to telecommute. Since allowing some employees to telecommute will lead others to make similar demands, a policy should be in place determining who telecommutes and employees who cannot. The telecommuting period is thus defined in the policy. The strictness of the policy should also be established to assign responsible management in determining policy changes and constraints (Timms et al., 2015 & Hoskins, 2016).
Sources and Methods
The researchers conducted comprehensive research on literature and articles to determine the extent of telecommuting knowledge among organizations. Some organizations seemed aware of the benefits of telecommuting but had never implemented the practice. Others knew the benefits and had put the telecommuting pilot program into practice for some period. However, some organizations were aware of the existing telecommuting approaches but had no idea about the current benefits.
From the analysis, the researcher decided to conduct a qualitative research study method by reviewing existing literature, research projects, and articles. This enabled determination of the significances of telecommuting in organizations. Moreover, visible demerits were also pinpointed, but they were not significant enough to discourage the application of the telecommuting pilot program. The conclusion holds that telecommuting is an effective strategy in meeting organizational goals and objectives. The researcher would recommend organizations to apply for a telecommuting pilot program and realize benefits that have been experienced by organizations that adopted the strategy some years back. That have been experienced by organizations that adopted the strategy some years back.
- Baruch, Y. (2000). Teleworking: benefits and pitfalls as perceived by professionals and managers. New technology, work and employment, 15(1), 34-49.
- Bloom, N., Liang, J., Roberts, J., & Ying, Z.J. (2015). Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 165–218. doi:10.1093/qje/qju032. Accessed from https://nbloom.people.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj4746/f/wfh.pdf
- Gajendran, R. S., & Harrison, D. A. (2007). The good, the bad, and the unknown about telecommuting: Meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences. Journal of applied psychology, 92(6), 1524.
- Hoskins, J. (2016). Understanding the Importance of a Telecommuting Policy. TechRepublic (Jul 10, 2016). Accessed from https://www.techrepublic.com/article/understanding-the-importance-of-a-telecommuting-policy/
- Lawler, E. E., & Boudreau, J. W. (2015).Global Trends in Human Resource Management: A Twenty-Year Analysis. Stanford, California: Stanford Business Books. Retrieved from EBSCO eBooks in the Tuoro Library
- Loubier, A. (2017). Benefits of Telecommuting for the Future of Work. Forbes (Jul 20, 2017). Accessed from https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrealoubier/2017/07/20/benefits-of-telecommuting-for-the-future-of-work/#7312510616c6
- Timms, C., Brough, P., O’Driscoll, M., Kalliath, T., Siu, O. L., Sit, C., & Lo, D. (2015). Flexible work arrangements, work engagement, turnover intentions and psychological health. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 53(1), 83-103.
- Yoder, S. (2013). 10 Best Jobs for Americans Over 65. The Fiscal Times (May 16, 2013). Accessed from www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2013/05/16/10-Best-Jobs-for-Americans-Over-65