One of the most notable aspects of contemporary existence is its speed of advancement. From technological innovations to the evolution of how daily tasks are performed, there is an ever increasing drive to constantly adapt and change methodology to improve performance. Though this can rarely be considered a damaging state of affairs, it is at least challenging to society and its generations, as individuals are constantly being asked to react and amend their behavioral trends to suit new demands.
Employment is one such example, and the way in which many individuals now find themselves working is evolving to meet employer requirements. Remote working from home, or telecommuting as it is often referred to, has become an increasingly common activity, so much so that the number of telecommuting opportunities available have risen by over 400 percent in the US over the last three years. Though there are obvious benefits to both employers and employees, there are also potential issues that could result from this practice.
Why is Telecommuting such a Frequent Occurrence?
Telecommuting positions have arisen as a direct consequence of the global recession. Though the US economy is in the midst of a recovery, it corporations and organizations are still cautious in their expansion plans and keen to save money wherever possible. To that end, telecommuting provides an opportunity for employers to hire staff to work from the comfort of their own home, negating several expensive and time consuming aspects such as gas or electric usage and health and safety precautions.
However, the reasons for companies hiring telecommuting staff run deeper than mere expenses and labor saving concepts. It is part of a brand new and relevant ethos, which consists of largely web based companies hiring virtual staff to perform all of the operational tasks that their business requires. The growth of the Internet has seen the creation of many website brands and virtual organizations, allowing companies to develop a service or product without having to purchase or maintain a large physical premises and expensive equipment such as computers, printers and furniture.
As well as benefiting entrepreneurs and virtual businesses, potential employees are often keen to embrace the idea of telecommuting. For individuals feeling the financial restraints of the recession and looking to combat unemployment, telecommuting provides the dual benefits of offering an avenue back into work while saving crucial money in travel and food costs. Working from the comfort of their own home, employees are also able to save potential childcare fees and work to a flexible schedule.
Ensuring Motivation and Social Consequences
As with anything, there are also several potential issues that could result from telecommuting. Although these mostly relate to problems for businesses and employers, there may also be a social consequence amongst employees who work remotely from home. The obvious thing to note with telecommuting roles is that there is an inherent level of trust in order for the relationship to be successful and mutually beneficial, and this can be difficult to foster in a short space of time while recruiting.
It can be difficult for employers to outsource work to candidates, especially if the business in question is one that they have developed by themselves. In this instance, it is more of a personal project than a mere corporate organization, and while hiring staff to work remotely may prove cost effective it requires applicants to perform tasks unsupervised and at the mercy of their own motivational skills. This makes output and methodology difficult to monitor, and requires excellent communication to prosper.
In terms of social consequence, there are potential dangers that those who telecommute between roles may find themselves isolated from their peers and contemporaries. The social aspects of work and human interaction are often underestimated, and the human psyche is known to develop through discourse and learning. Therefore, where individuals are forced to spend a working day by themselves and without dialogue or physical interaction, they are vulnerable to hindered social growth and reduced inter personal skills.
An Inevitable Consequence of Evolution
Telecommuting and remote working is an inevitable consequence of the times, especially in a financially restrictive age where saving money is a significant priority to businesses and individuals alike. While it provides economical benefits and convenience to both parties, it must be considered that these may not outweigh the potential for communication difficulties and issues relating to social interaction and skills. Companies and individuals have a duty to consider all aspects of telecommuting prior to committing to it, and ensure that the reasons for undertaking it are not solely financial.