Management Information Systems: Telecommuting
Telecommuting: What do these technologies do?
Telecommuting is a technology used especially by those who prefer to work from home using a laptop as the main equipment. The technology is web based and involves people working at locations separate from the site or office where their work is based. For this technology to be practical in use, the users must have internet connectivity through which they connect with other users with whom they might by sharing a work environment. For those who desire to participate in company meetings, web conferencing provides the most appropriate channel of participation, which is enhanced if the company allows the telecommuters to connect to the company networks directly.
The technology enables users to share information online without being physically present at their points of work. Telecommuting therefore benefits the employees through flexibility and gives the employers an opportunity to adjust to technological changes. Because of the emergence of this technology, computer requirements are often standardized to create necessity for training the employees.
While telecommuting offers several benefits to organizations, the challenges that can be faced in telecommuting are also many. For instance, telecommuting requires training before commencing work since most of the employers have standardized computers. Also apart from the need for training, telecommuting requires concentration, which can only be achieved by sacrifice and limitation in an environment not designed for work.
In some cases, family roles can pose a challenge in telecommuting particularly where there distractions from family members. In addition to this, equipment and materials are needed in order for the technology to be used successfully. Not all people have laptops that they can use to work away from the office or site. Contrary to the thoughts of many people that the trend can be mastered over a very short time, it is actually very demanding and takes a long time to master and be able to use telecommuting effectively.
Also, the telecommuting environment does not offer an opportunity for problem solving through team work which is a key characteristic of the office work environment. This makes it challenging to the employers as well since they cannot control what employees do away from the office and they have no way of monitoring the employees. Collection of human resources information thus proves to be a significant challenge for the employers as well. Despite these challenges, the advantages associated with telecommuting are very many and cannot be ignored in determining its relevance to the contemporary work environment.
In spite of the continuing growth of the telecommuting trend, the office environment has been proven to result in greater productivity due to the associated organization levels offered by office furniture. In addition to this, the office environment fosters corporate culture which can help new entrants to fit in effectively. The ability of workers to discuss issues pertaining to office values and cultures makes the office environment much more productive compared to the telecommuting environment.
Although it is claimed that the office environment results in greater productivity, these claims have not solid foundation. There is however need for addressing the challenges of telecommuting to gain from the benefits offered through organizing training twice a month, record keeping, sending out newsletters with training tips incorporated in them through e-mails and holding face –to-face meetings with employees intending to adopt telecommuting. It is only in this way that telecommuting benefits can be reaped.
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