The effectiveness of telecommuting for the employee, employer, and society

Telecommuting is one of the fastest growing trends in the world of business. However, in spite of its popularity, some businesses are still reluctant to offer this option to their workforce. The findings of this investigation, which include data collected from cross-sectiona lsurveys of telecommuters and their managers, provides strong evidence that the benefits of telecommuting outweigh the costs. Tangible or quantifiable benefits include increased productivity, financial savings from reductions in real estate, facility and overhead costs, and environmental improvements from reductions in automobile emissions. Intangible benefits include a better quality of work life, an improved working environment, greater flexibility, and less stress for workers. However, telecommuting is not for every individual or job task. The key obstacles to telecommuting are technological problems, loss of personal interaction with coworkers, and legal issues pertinent to labor laws. In spite of these drawbacks, the findings suggest that most telecommuters have a high level of job satisfaction and view the telecommuting arrangement as a positive force in their careers. The critical issues in implementing effective telecommuting programs are top management support, careful selection of the telecommuting candidates, employee training, and formal policies and procedures detailing performance standards and measures.