Saturday, 7 January 2012

Telecommuting - Information systems and Technology

Telecommuting - Information systems and Technology

Information Systems and certain equipment is needed for a telecommuter to conduct LIW and to communicate with the organisation and the clients, “Teleworking has been made possible by recent advances in both information and communication technologies allowing users to have access to information from outside a traditional office environment” (Tsiligirides, 1993: 242). The fact is, that competitive advantage, when using Location independent work , can be achieved only if information systems and technology are supporting it.
Laptop – A laptop is essential, and provides more mobility than a stationary computer. It allows an employee to process information, communicate with organisation, clients and suppliers, compare the prices and support many other activities. Performance of the laptop does not need to be state-of-art, as usually the newest laptops with high performance indicators cost a considerable amount of money comparing with regular performance laptops. However, laptops need to be powerful enough to work smoothly with certain software and applications that a telecommuter needs.
Information security facilities -  Telecommuters deal with a considerable amount of information, thus CD/DVD writing device, external hard drive or organisations FTP should be used for backing up information. At the same time data access, integrity and security needs to be maintained, therefore security measures such as passwords, biometric devices, antivirus software, firewall or even data encryption for these purposes may be used.  It is easy to restrict control of applications, software or internet use on site, however to restrict usage of a telecommuter's computer is much harder. To minimise the risk of viruses or confidential data theft it is recommended to use a work laptop just for LIW purposes.
Communication facilities - Location independent workers need to communicate with the organisation, suppliers, customers and colleagues. For a communication network, connectivity and certain types of equipment are necessary. This includes phone, fax, modem, fast internet access. Fast broadband with a wireless router is a good solution, however to increase mobility, a mobile USB dongle could be used to provide fast mobile broadband.
Information systems – The same IT platform needs to be used in organisation and LIW computer in order to ensure that all systems used are compatible with each other. A telecommuter work requires access to certain information which they would be able to access while being on site. Thus, connectivity to the organisations intranet network would be necessary as well as certain software and information systems necessary for the job. Unfortunately, sometimes Information Systems may be a obstacle for LIW implementation as they might be unsuitable for LIW. “Modern Integrated Logistics systems used in manufacturing would be quite unsuitable for remote working” (Nickson & Siddons, 2004: 22).
Groupware - “Groupware assists teams of people to work together because it provides key group functions; ‘three Cs’ of communication, collaboration and coordination” (Chaffey & Wood, 2005: 69). Groupware applications could include e-mail, messaging, and video conferencing. In fact, messaging, emails and video conferencing which use Voice Over IP technology would be necessary for a remote worker to maintain a high level of communication, collaboration and coordination with the organisation, colleagues and suppliers.


Thursday, 5 January 2012



Telecommuting, or in other words Location Independent Working (LIW), can be explained as a process where an employee works for a business from home or any other remote location. There are three types of Telecommuting workers: entrepreneurs, freelancers and telecommuters. However, the website will concentrate only on telecommuters which are individuals working for a business from a distance. “Developments in information technology mean that people can now work from almost, any geographical location: from head office, a satellite office, a shared access telecentre; or from their home, hotel room or car” (Laurie Mullins, 1996: 541). Even with the improvements within information technology not every job is appropriate for location independent working (teleworking). However, usually even if the entire role is not, some part of it may be, likewise not every person in the organisation is suitable for independent location working / telecommuting. People who have little knowledge about their job and have very poor organisational and time management skills are especially unlikely to be able to work according to the Telecommuting model. “Not all who try working at home have the required self-discipline or all of the infrastructure required to work effectively in a home workspace” (Johnson, 2002: 23).

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Telecommuting Benefits

Telecommuting Benefits 

Advantages of location independent working:

Better work/Life balance - Research shows that telecommuting is a potential solution to improve an individual’s life balance. More flexible working hours and a chance to do work from home enables employees to have better life balance and maintain their lives outside of work, such as seeing to family needs etc. However, sometimes a  telecommuting job and family together in the same place could be stressful and result in work and family interference or conflict.
Savings in travel time and expenses - telecommuting (Location independent working)  reduces time spent and resources required when commuting to work. It also improves an individual’s geographical location independence as they become more flexible. Telecommuting benefits not only an employee and organisation, but also the environment as less carbon is emitted due to the decreased need to commute from home to work.
Saving in direct expenses – An organisation would save on certain costs and expenses linked with employee’s workplace needs, for example, property maintenance or utility costs as well as equipment, and furniture costs. Also, as there are fewer staff on site, less money is spent to maintain and service working facilities.
Increased productivity - Research shows that Telecommuting increases employees work productivity and efficiency. telecommuting also significantly decrease employees’ absence levels and ensures stability of service during weather disruptions, such as snowstorms.

Positive Image of the organisation – Location Independent Working (Telecommuting) represents an organisation in a positive way, providing various advantages and opportunities for its employees.
Less Management and supervision needed – Location independent workers are highly motivated employees, thus are able to manage given tasks, make decisions, schedule time and be left to act upon their own discretion.