BUS201 ---termpaper-- Telecommuting

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Term paper for business communication course
For Ms. Ms. Raihana Mannan's Class

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BUS201 ---termpaper-- Telecommuting

  1. 1. Telecommuting Enhancing Work Productivity
  2. 2. Telecommuting Enhancing Work Productivity 1
  3. 3. TELECOMMUTING: ENHANCING WORK PRODUCTIVITY Prepared for Ms. Raihana Mannan Course Instructor, Business and Human Communication BRAC University Prepared by Nusrat Jahan (ID: 10204101) Afreen Khan (ID: 10204122) Samiya Yesmin (ID: 11304043) Sadia Ferdous (ID: 10304112) August 11, 2012 2
  4. 4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We are greatly indebted to those people who have helped us prepare this report and express sincere gratefulness to them. First of all, we would like to thank our course teacher, for the subject „Business Communication‟, Ms. Raihanna Mannan , for her continued assistance regarding the project work. Secondly, we would like to show gratitude to all the members of our group for having worked so hard on this particular project. Without their support and joint contribution it would never have been possible to have completed this report. 3
  5. 5. LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL To, Ms. Raihana Mannan Course Instructor, Business and Human Communication BRAC University Dear Ms. Mannan, Enclosed is a copy of the project for the course “Business and Human Communications” on “Telecommuting: Enhancing work productivity”. It contains detailed information about what telecommuting actually is, what are the different types of telecommuting, what are the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting, what makes telecommuting suitable, and what are the financial cost associated with telecommuting. We have followed the rules and regulations that you have set and tried to keep our report as informative as possible. We hope that this report will be of great value to you. Sincerely, Nusrat Jahan ID: 10204101 ____________________ Afreen Khan ID: 10204122 ____________________ Samiya Yesmin ID: 11304043 ____________________ Sadia Ferdous ID: 10304112 ____________________ 4
  6. 6. TABLE OF CONTENTS CONTENTS Letter of Transmittal ....................................................................................................................... 4 2.0 Executive Summary .................................................................................................................. 6 3.0 Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 6 3.1 Objectives: Subject & Purpose:........................................................................................ 6 3.2 Background Information: ................................................................................................. 7 4.0 Background ............................................................................................................................... 8 5.0 A Framework for Telecommuting ............................................................................................ 9 5.1 TELECOMMUTING SUITABILITY ............................................................................. 9 5.2 Advantages of telecommuting........................................................................................ 11 5.3 Disadvantages of Telecommuting .................................................................................. 12 5.4 Costs of Telecommuting ................................................................................................ 14 Discussion ..................................................................................................................................... 15 Conclusion& Recommendation .................................................................................................... 16 REFERENCES& ATTACHMENTS............................................................................................ 17 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS: Figure 1: Different Types of Telecommuters (Hamilton n.d)……………………………………18 Figure 2: Telecommuters being more productive Hill (2012)…………………………………...18 5
  7. 7. 2.0 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This is a proposal for implementing a new method of working. Telecommuting is the new phenomena through which staying at home or anywhere else we can still do our job regularly. Through data analysis of researches done based on telecommuting we have found all the rewards and inconveniences related to it. This also contains the rules and behavior through which it is to be used. And as you analyze our finding you will realize that implementing telecommuting in our office will be highly beneficial. 3.0 3.1 INTRODUCTION OBJECTIVES: SUBJECT & PURPOSE: The intention of this report is to be able to convince our company that telecommuting to work would highly advantageous. It will enable the employees more freedom and flexibility with their time and work. Work efficiency can be increased while decreasing company expenditures resulting in a better bottom line. All of which can be done by changing the way of working in the company from the traditional manual way to a completely digitalized format. 6
  8. 8. 3.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The term “telecommuting” is given by Jack Nilles in 1973. Even though the name was given in the 20th century, it was first implemented in 1887 by a Boston bank president. Latter it was used by a programmer working in the Arpanet project in 1963 and in 1973 it received its official name by Nilles who was a rocket scientist working on NASA satellite communications projects in Los Angeles. By 1990 telecommuting started establishing its roots. Now, telecommuting is becoming a concept that is being practised worldwide. Defining Telecommuting Telecommuting, or sometimes referred to as teleworking, is referred to as employees working away from their office compound. It may be in their homes, off-site campus or while travelling. The main purpose of telecommuting is to give workers the flexibility to work so that they are able to increase their work productivity. Types of Telecommuting: There are various ways how workers can telecommute. They are written below. 1. Full time telecommuting: this is when the workers always work off the office area and seldom or never work in the office itself. 2. Part time telecommuting: this is when the workers work a certain time in the office and the rest of the time, they work off the campus. 3. Formal telecommuting: this is a contract based telecommuting where it is written at what times the worker can telecommute, when he/she is required to work in the office and how meetings/deadlines/targets will be prepared and met. 4. Employee-initiated telecommuting: this is when the employee wants to telecommute in order to reduce commuting time, reduce the hindrances in work due to the setting of the office, etc. 5. Company-initiated telecommuting: this is when the company wants the employees to telecommute so that costs are reduced, workforce productivity increases and/or to retain employees who are talented but are not comfortable working with the traditional workplace regulations. 7
  9. 9. 4.0 BACKGROUND (Hamilton n.d) mentioned that an AT&T sponsored survey released by the International Telework Association & Council (ITAC), approximated that about 28.8 million Americans (onefifth of the adult working population) worked from home, on-the-road, in a telecenter, or in a satellite office at least one day per week in 2001 (See Figure 1). This shows a 17% increase in American telecommuters from 2000 (Fetto & Gardyn, 2002).A report produced by the Electronic Commerce & Telework Trends (ECaTT), identified nine million European telecommuters and projected that this number will grow to 16.2 million, or 10.8% of the European workforce, by the year 2005 (Telecommute Connecticut, 2002). Despite this dramatic growth, telecommuting has yet to reach the levels originally expected. Early speculations predicted that there would be 55 million telecommuters inthe United States by the beginning of the 21st century (Wells, 2001). Telecommuting is said to boost productivity. (Hill 2012) mentioned that two-thirds of workers (65%) claim increased productivity working at home (echoed by a Cisco survey as well), while the other third cite decreased supervision and more distractions as the reason for lower productivity. Countries in which the most workers agreed that telecommuting (See Figure2) was more productive include Argentina (77%) and Poland (75%), but it was significantly lower in some countries, such as Japan (44%) and South Korea (51%). 8
  10. 10. 5.0 A FRAMEWORK FOR TELECOMMUTING Organisations nowadays have to suffer from decrease productivity of workers that results from them being late, increases in absenteeism of employees, high rates of employee turnover, conflict among colleagues, imbalance between work and personal life, etc. To overcome such lacks in productivity and efficiency organisations could open the opportunity for workers to telecommute. 5.1 TELECOMMUTING SUITABILITY Job Assessment Jobs must be first assessed for its telecommuting suitability before telecommuting is implemented on those jobs. Management needs to ask, according to (ucsf.edu), the following questions about the job: 1. Are there functions/tasks that can be performed at home, or performed at a time when other employees are not available? 2. Does it involve writing, reading, research, thinking, editing, data entry, word processing or coding? 3. Is it project oriented? 4. Is significant interaction with peers required? 5. Does the position provide immediate response to a request for services (e.g., does it provide a service either in person or by answering phones)? 6. Does it require use of equipment or services that are available only at the central work location? 7. Does it require use of confidential files that cannot be taken from the central work location? 8. Does it provide backup to any other position (backup that cannot be provided by another employee, e.g., special skill or training)? 9. Can accommodation be made to any areas of concern? 9
  11. 11. Employee Assessment for Telecommuting Suitability In order to decide on the employees who would be telecommuting, management must, according to (ucsf.edu), evaluate the employee on the basis of whether he or she has: 1. A history of reliable and responsible discharge of work duties; e.g., at a performance level of “meets or exceeds expectations.” 2. Full understanding of the operations of his/her department. 3. Has the trust of his/her manager. 4. Is able to establish priorities and has demonstrated effective time management habits. 5. Pursues high-quality work production. 6. Can maintain a safe and ergonomically sound home work area, free from distractions. 7. Is reachable by phone during assigned work hours. Manager’s eligibility for telecommuting Managers suited to manage employees with virtual-work arrangements have the following characteristics (Cascio2000): 1. An open, positive attitude that focuses on solutions to issues rather than on reasons to discontinue virtual-work arrangements. 2. A results-oriented management style. Those who need structure and control are unlikely to be effective managers in virtual-work environments. 3. Effective communications skills, both formal and informal, with employees working remotely and at the primary business location. 4. An ability to delegate effectively and to follow up to ensure that work is accomplished. While these characteristics apply to be progressive. 10
  12. 12. 5.2 ADVANTAGES OF TELECOMMUTING There are many advantages associated with adopting a virtual workplace both for the employee and for the business. The advantages for the employees as mentioned in (jobs.lovetoknow.com) are: 1. Time is saved: Using telecommuting employees will not have to travel to work. Rather they will be working from home. As a result the time the employee needs to get dressed, to travel to and from work is saved. Also, if the employees are for some reason unable to work for the morning hours they will be able to make it up in the evening 2. Transportation Cost: Since the employees do not have to travel to work the cost of transportation is saved. This may be the cost of petrol for their personal car or the fare of public transportation. 3. Flexible timings: Many telecommuting jobs allow employees to choose to work at any hour of the day according to their convenience. Even if the positions require fixed schedules then the employees will be able to select the best timing according to their preference. (Chron.com) mentioned some additional advantages such as: 5. More personal time: Since the employees decide on their own working hours, the employees are able to spend more time with their family and friends. For working parents, the parents will be able to take care of their children on their own without relying on day care services. 6. Personal space: Employees are able to concentrate more on their work. They will be away from office problems such as office politics, morale damaging gossip or distracting co-workers In addition, workers with health problems who find it difficult to work in the office will be able to work more comfortably at home. 11
  13. 13. The advantages for the business as stated by (Cascio 2000) with the help of statistics are: 1. Reduced Real Estate: 40 to 60 percent of money is saved per site by IBM, per year by the removal of offices except for those who really need them. Northern Telecom estimated that to make an employee work in a 64 square foot space it costs around $2000 per employee annually if only rent and operating costs are taken into consideration. 2. Increased Productivity: Studies conducted by IBM internally has shown an increase of productivity of 15 to 40 percent as result of telecommuting. US West have also reported an increase in productivity by 40 percent by its teleworking workers. 3. Higher Profits: Revenue per person had doubled for Hewlett-Packard after telecommuting was adopted by its sales people 4. Improved Customer Service: 25 percent more time was spent with customers by Anderson consulting after adopting a virtual office. 5. Environmental Benefits: 13 percent of Georgia Power‟s employees at the headquarters are teleworkers. A U. S. government study showed that if 20,000 federal workers could telecommute just one day a week, they would save over two million com-muting miles, 102,000 gallons of gasoline, and 81,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each week. The emissions savings for one week under this arrangement are equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the average car over 9.3 years. 5.3 DISADVANTAGES OF TELECOMMUTING Every type of workplace has some advantages as well as some disadvantages. Considering the negative aspects of teleworking, the problems faced by employees are: 1. Setup and maintenance cost: (Cascio 2000) mentioned that for employees the extra cost incurred to purchase a home office ranges from $3000 to $5000 approximately with $1000 more in upgrades and supplies per year thereafter. 2. Loss of cost efficiencies: (Cascio 2000) stated that if expensive equipment or services are located in one place then multiple people are able to use it. However if the equipment and services are located in multiple areas the cost efficiencies are lost. 12
  14. 14. 3. Feeling of isolation: (Ford, Butts 1991) mentioned that interaction with co-workers in the office give employees the opportunity to learn about what is happening within the organization and enhances the feeling of being part of a work group. This loss of interaction results in the isolation of employees from their co-workers and they lose sight of the company‟s goals and values 4. Career advancement hindered: “The old saying "out of sight, out of mind" comes into play when selecting personnel for promotions.” (Ford, Butts 1991). Employees who work in traditional offices are more likely to be known and hence have a higher chance of promotion than teleworking employees. The adoption of a virtual workplace has negative consequences for not only for employees but also for the organisations. Problems faced by organisations as stated by (Ford, Butts 1991) are given below: 1. Loss of control: Perceived or actual control over employees is lost. Homeworking employees can put personal projects and problems above their work. Also, employees can use the proprietary information or company equipment while working part-time for another company. 2. Loss of security: Allowing the connection of external computer terminals with the company databases may cause unauthorised people to gain access to the company‟s private information who may then misuse this information by giving it to the company‟s competitors. 3. Misdirection: Many managers stated that interaction with employees is essential for the successful completion of projects. The lack of frequent feedback from the supervisor may lead to misdirection, unnecessary errors or the duplication of work. 13
  15. 15. 5.4 COSTS OF TELECOMMUTING Before any organisation establishes teleworking it has to undertake a feasibility study considering the costs that the organisation will face as a result of teleworking and weigh those costs against the money saved due to office space, overhead costs, etc. The costs, as mentioned in (libstaff.library.edu), associated with teleworking would be: 1. Technical Costs: In order to implement telecommuting for the first time an organisation must purchase telecommuting equipment such as computers, webcams, projectors, microphones, etc. 2. Internet Cost: In telecommuting, communication may need to occur through the internet. As a result, to be connected to all teleworkers organisations must install high-speed internet connection. Also in order establish these connections special wiring must be done within the organisation 3. Software Cost: Since adopting a virtual workplace involves transfer of data through a network, a network version of the software must be used which are generally more expensive than the regular version. 4. Security Cost: Since through telecommunication private company information is accessed by external terminals, the company must purchase anti-virus software and firewall to keep the data safe from unauthorised access and corruption. 14
  16. 16. DISCUSSION As you read through you will be able to see that the advantages of telecommuting far more outweigh its inconveniences. This is due to the fact that a. The employees in our company are mostly married with family thus telecommuting would be for their best interest. b. The company has already bought necessary equipments for all its employees thus there will be no additional costs incurred for this. Just the initial cost of setting up the systems in every employee‟s homes. c. With most employees telecommuting we will not be needing the current 3 floors of office safe, rather one floor of office for the managers and weekly meeting would be more than enough. Also with employees telecommuting less parking space has to be provided. This will reduce our rent expenditure immensely. d. As everyone can work from home, our chances of retaining or hiring employees are higher as the extra work load that comes from working in a traditional office, would decrease. This is due to the fact that they do not have to be bothered with travelling expenses, office norms and appearances, and can put their complete focus and energy on the getting the actual work done. e. Due to heavy traffic jams in the city as well as the inconsistent weather, if employees do telecommunicate than work efficiency will definitely rise as the major reasons for inefficiency are absent. f. The costs of telecommuting, as in the internet bill and system running charges, are lower than that of the utility bills incurred by running a full-fledged office. g. And as transportation fuel is being saved we will be able to present a more “green” image of our company to the society. And with intense training for our managers to be able to keep employees up to date and efficient, we will be able to execute this new method of working in our office. We will employ a company-initiated part-time telecommuting. 15
  17. 17. CONCLUSION& RECOMMENDATION Advancements in information technology are making it easier for employees to telecommute. Hence, such advancements are also changing the lifestyles of people and making them more reluctant to work in the traditional method and be more flexible with their work. Telecommuting is one such way which would increase the productivity and flexibility of employees allowing them to work more efficiently and effectively. Telecommuting has pros and cons both for the organisation and for the employee. If looked closely, then the task or the job of the employee would decide whether the disadvantages weigh more than the advantages or the advantages weigh more than the disadvantages. Even though, telecommuting has some costs involved for installation, it will benefit both in the long run as other costs such as commuting cost or office space cost will reduce. Therefore, telecommuting is a very sensitive issue, which if implemented properly, will benefit both the organisation and the employee. 16
  18. 18. REFERENCES& ATTACHMENTS Bairnsfather S. &Ringelberg A. Proc Telecommute. PharmaNet, Inc. pp. 2 [Accessed on 10/08/212 01:58] Butts, Michael A., Ford, Robert C. (1991) Telecommuting (Analysis). SAM Advanced Management, Society for the Advancement of Management, Vol 56 No.4 [Accessed on 08/08/12] Cascio, W. F. (2000). Managing a Virtual Workplace.Themes: Structure and Decision Making , The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 81-90 [Accessed on 30/07/2012 at 03:10] Chron.com(n.d).Advantages of Telecommuting Jobs.[WWW] Chron.com Available from: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-telecommuting-jobs-765.html [Accessed 08/08/12]. Hamilton, E. Bringing Work Home: Advantages and Challenges of Telecommuting. The Center for Work & Family, BOSTON College Carroll School of Management,pp. 6. [Accessed on 09/08/2012 12:58] Jean and Alexander Heard Library (n.d) Technology Requirements and Specifications [WWW]Jean and Alexander Heard Library Available from: http://libstaff.library.vanderbilt.edu/rs/techserv/Administrative/Policies/TSTelecommTechSpec.html[Acc essed 09/08/12] Love to know jobs &career(n.d). Telecommuting Advantages and Disadvantages [WWW] Love to know jobs & career. Available from:http://jobs.lovetoknow.com/Telecommuting_Advantages_and_Disadvantages [Accessed 09/08/12]. University of California San Francisco(n.d) Telecommuting Considerations[WWW] University of California San Francisco Available from: http://ucsfhr.ucsf.edu/index.php/policies/article/telecommutingconsiderations/[Accessed 09/08/12]. Hamilton Elizabeth.(n.d), B r i ngi n g W O R K H O M E. Center for Work & Family, Boston College HillJ.David (2012). U.S. Being Left In The Dust Of The Global Telecommuting Revolution.Singularity Hub. Available from: http://singularityhub.com/2012/02/21/u-s-being-left-in-the-dust-of-the-globaltelecommuting-revolution/ [Accessed 10/08/12 4.28pm] 17
  19. 19. Figure 2: Different Types of Telecommuters (Hamilton n.d) Figure 2: Telecommuters being more productive Hill(2012) 18

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