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Telecommuting or working from the house, thanks to advanced communication technologies like wireless Internet, has grown tremendously across the United States in recent years. Today, American commute in cars, buses, planes and trains while travel thanks to the possibility to send and submit files to and from the office. Many reasons have been advanced for the growth of this practice, and some of them include high transportation costs, ageing work force and technological advancements. This paper is going to examine a number of reasons why it is beneficial for employers to use alternative work schedules and telecommuting.
Some of the reasons this paper will examine include, but are not limited to, the cost of energy and transportation, more productivity, work safety and ageing workforce Although energy utilization will continue to grow as we expand our industry and improve our standard of living, efficient use of energy will always be of prime importance. By telecommuting to work instead of using more conventional methods, there is a great potential to save energy. Telecommuting brings about increased productivity and commitment from employees (Edmondson, 2001).
The flexibility working from home offers to employees who have to care for children or other relatives allows them to perform better at their job. They require less time off, and are generally better focused and more productive. Many employers will discover their employees are accomplishing more and better quality work. Employers can establish goals and benchmarks that employees must meet and there are also ways that employees can be monitored online to ensure they are working during agreed upon hours. Good managers can come up with excellent plans to measure employee performance.
One of the major advantages of telecommuting to employers is the reduction of office rental and real estate expenses. The company needn’t maintain the overhead costs of offices and in many instances actual real estate. AT&T for example saved approximately $550 million dollars simply by eliminating or consolidating office space alone with their telecommuting program (Hamer, 1991). It also minimizes parking requirements. In addition to office space savings, companies also can reduce parking requirements. Telecommuting also leads to a reduction in benefits expenses.
For companies that choose to work with independent contractors even more expenses such as benefits and social security may be eliminated. In fact, employers are likely to find that the majority of their employees would choose telecommuting over pay raises (Christensen, 1990: PP. 5). There is also an easier and even more effective recruitment process. There is a much larger pool of applicants for jobs that human resources has to choose from. Many well qualified applicants won’t apply for a job simply based on location and companies have no choice but to hire applicants that aren’t the right fit for the job.
The practice leads to better employee retention success. When a good employee needs to relocate due to personal circumstances, the company is much more likely to be able to retain their service. A tremendous amount of energy is required to produce transportation equipment such as automobiles, buses, trains and jet aircraft. If telecommuting is promoted, there will be less use of this equipment and less energy will be required for production, maintenance and repair of this equipment.
Fuel resources needed to operate this equipment will be reduced, as well The building and repair of highways and maintenance requires a large consumption of energy, not only in the operation of the highway construction and repair equipment, but also in the manufacture and transportation of the required materials (Janal, 1991: PP. 4). An increase in the percentage of people telecommuting to work will decrease the need for expanded highways and associated road maintenance. The first two areas related to getting to work.
Once a person arrives at work in a central office location, he or she represents another energy consumer; often times magnified many times over what would be required at home. The office building has heating, cooling and lighting needs, and the materials to build it and maintain it require energy in their production and transportation. Working from home requires only modest incremental demands on energy for heating, cooling and lighting needs, and makes effective use of existing building space and facilities.
It helps employers to preserve our environment by reducing land use requirements for highway expansion and by reducing slow-moving automobile emissions. Highways and parking lots are continuing to consume large quantities of our land surface area. If a larger percentage of people telecommute to work, existing highways could be reduced in size and parking lots could be converted to parks. One of the largest sources of pollution is the automobile. This is especially true of slow-moving automobiles that often exist in heavy, congested rush hour traffic (Resnick, 1991, PP. 2).
Of course, one solution to this problem is increasing the size and number of our roads, but an even better solution is to encourage those who can to telecommute, so we will not need additional highways, parking lots, and airports in the future. And, when we do choose to drive our cars, it will be in fresh air, on less crowded streets, when we are not in a hurry to get somewhere. Telecommuting promotes safety by reducing highway use by people rushing to get to work. There are thousands of traffic-related deaths every year and thousands more people severely injured trying to get to work.
In addition there is substantial property loss associated with traffic accidents that occur as people take chances in order to make the mad dash from home to the office (Crabb et al, 1991: PP. 6). Often, people have made the trip so often that they are not really alert, often fall asleep and frequently become impatient by traffic jambs and slower travelers. More and more people are becoming frustrated by the insistence that they come into the office every day, when, in fact most, if not all of their work could be accomplished from their home or sites much closer to their home (Huws, 1991: PP. 11)