регистрация / вход

Telecommuting A Supervisory Perspective Essay Research Paper

Telecommuting A Supervisory Perspective Essay, Research Paper Communications and Telecommuting, a Supervisory Perspective Given the recent advances in Technology and the changes this brought to business communications, revolutionary impacts on the traditional workplace are predictable. The modern workplace is truly global in its realm.

Telecommuting A Supervisory Perspective Essay, Research Paper

Communications and Telecommuting, a Supervisory Perspective

Given the recent advances in Technology and the changes this brought to business communications, revolutionary impacts on the traditional workplace are predictable. The modern workplace is truly global in its realm. It is imperative that an organization integrates communication systems that are international in scope. The basic premise remains clear, concise and goal oriented communication. However, today?s supervisors and organizations must come to terms with the use of these new systems.

With the advent of new digital telecommunication systems and networks, it is inevitable that these advances should integrate into business. The new trend is toward a ?virtual workspace,? that is telecommuting or ?telework,? as referred to in Europe. A new telecommunication industry has materialized. Known as Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) this discipline promotes the study and regulation of the industry. Telecommuting is becoming a norm. Alan Cummings stated in this months Vision magazine,

?Small, disparate groups of entrepreneurs now dominate a dynamic, business-oriented culture in which qualifications matter greatly; social status, age, and gender count for little; and actual performance is everything. Most professionals use more productively the time and money they once spent commuting, and many people arrange their working lives around their social needs. The multi-skilled, flexible worker can be of any age; it is common for octogenarians to work to supplement their retirement income or savings. Because professionals work online from home, mobility is a bygone concern and commuter traffic jams are almost unknown.?

To paraphrase Cummings: ?Technophobics? will relegate to the level of unskilled labor. These will emerge as an alienated labor force, stuck in ?neo-dead-end? jobs. This new ?technocracy? brings new inequalities and caste systems, new ?good old boy networks.? The disabled, will lose a disadvantage. The technically incapable will gain a disadvantage. For the supervisor and the manager, there are several new communications issues to address.

Many positions are ideal for the telecommuter. Cyberworkers, a French based trade association, lists these fields as the tried and true ?teleworking? careers:

Communication Multimedia Creation Training

Human Resources Financial Management Art & Culture

Audio-visual Graphics Data processing

Internet Journalism Legal, Paralegal

Marketing Information Technology Transcriptionist

Translation Specialist Telephone Solicitor Collector

Today, via telecommuting, it is entirely probable that the complete career relationship could occur with no more personal contact than a fax or e-mail. Virtually every workspace provides not only a telephone, also voicemail and/or messaging. Most offices have an array of digital devices, such as personal computers, scanners, printers, facsimile systems, and modems. In addition, the workspace has grown wheels and gone mobile. To function, many of us must carry a beeper, cellular phone, even a laptop or palmtop computer. ?There will be no excuse for the technology deficient.?

Telecommuting is growing in popularity. The American Telecommuting Association states on their web page ?telecommuting is second only to “casual days” as the fastest-growing shift in traditional working patterns, and it’s far more helpful than wearing sneakers and tee-shirts for accomplishing more work in less time.? The ATA further States, these advantages:

?One of the most pleasant surprises about telecommuting is that it’s a win-win-win situation for the individual telecommuter, the employer, and society as a whole.

1. The individual benefits from telecommuting because he or she immediately eliminates the time, trouble, and expense of physically commuting to work. This gives the average person an extra hour per day, right off the top, to use for the thinking, the writing, the telephoning, the planning, and the reporting work which keeps the business organization moving forward.

2. The benefits of telecommuting also translate directly and immediately into more discretionary time, more time with the family, less stress, and general health improvements.

3. In addition, because you’re working at home, you have more control over your time, more flexibility to take a short break and change a diaper or drive a child to a friend’s house, more freedom to cook your family a nice meal, and less pressure to keep every minute crammed with useful activities.

4. Commuting costs are much lower for telecommuters, who tend to feel more in control of life than employees who travel to the same (distant) office five days a week.

5. The family generally likes having Mommy or Daddy around for that extra hour each telecommuting work day, and presumably benefits from not getting dumped on by the physical commuter’s unspent frustration accumulated during the trip home.?

The employee and family obviously benefit. What benefits the employer?

6. ?The employer benefits from telecommuting because of the extra productivity that results — consistently clocked at 10-15% in nearly every such study during the past two decades.

7. The organization also saves on expenses. For example, by having half your work force telecommute one day a week, you cut down by 10% on your need for offices, desks and chairs, bathrooms, copy machines, parking spaces, heating and lighting, and all the rest.

8. In addition, telecommuting helps the best employees stay longer, saving on recruiting and training costs, and also makes it practical for the organization to reach out another 10, 20, or 30 miles (or more) in finding qualified people to fill important posts. ?

9. Society benefits from telecommuting because it immediately cuts down on air pollution, use of non-renewable energy sources, and traffic congestion.

On December 23, 1995, President Clinton signed a bill that dramatically changed the terms of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. This legislation defined the responsibilities for mandated State Controlled employer trip-reduction programs. Although implied, there is nothing stated in the Act which required telecommuting. It is a recommended way to meet trip-reduction goals. It is simple to envision how telecommuting applies to this environmental law. It could be a great tool to remove commuting traffic from the roads and the pollution from our lungs. Another advantage, from my own experience, I would like to add that a creative telecommuter could often discover new and uniquely efficient ways to get the job done. When observed from a distance, it becomes less difficult to initiate and incorporate these newfound methods.

To identify the challenges that telecommunications present to the supervisor, let us identify some of the general communication processes in use and their effectiveness in an automated environment. Gil Gordon and Associates, Inc. is a New Jersey based consulting firm that specializes in telecommuting consultation services. They state in the July edition of their online magazine, Telecommuting Review. ?As for managing at a distance, it’s really no different from managing in the office. That is, good managers set expectations, monitor progress, give feedback, and do all the other basic managerial tasks for employees no matter where they work.?

Management by Wandering Around (MBWA) ?is a primary information gathering and decision-making managerial tool successfully used by management.? MBWA will remain effective for the executive and upper level management. In the telecommunication environment, it will primarily be limited to wandering the front line trenches, that is the Corporate Office and facilities. Visiting an employee?s home might have hidden repercussions.

?Many employers deal with this issue in their telecommuting policies or telecommuting agreements. The right to visit an employee’s home office should be clearly stated before telecommuting begins, so the telecommuters know this is a possibility.

There are several points to keep in mind if you’re going to make this visit:

You’re going for a business purpose – to make sure the office area has been set up safely, to conduct a meeting, etc. You’re not going to check for dust, look through the kitchen cabinets, go swimming, etc.

ALL visits to a telecommuter’s home must be announced in advance, preferably with at least 24 hours’ notice.

We all feel differently about having visitors, let alone co-workers or our manager, come into our homes. Respect these differences and be sure you don’t do or say anything to make the telecommuter uncomfortable.

Consider the possibility that a visit by a male manager to a female telecommuter’s home (or vice versa) when they will be the only two people in the home may not be a good idea. It creates the potential for the appearance of impropriety, not to mention sexual harassment. The issue is not only the actions or the intent of those involved, but the appearances. Talk with your Human Resources staff for guidance on this issue.?

It should be obvious that telecommuting does not really pose a new problem to the traditional ?Performance Appraisal? process. Nevertheless, How would a manager determine a telecommuters overall job performance? Especially, consider that the supervisor might only see the employee on an occasional basis, if at all. The appraisal should fairly focus on the results that were expected and achieved. What counts is the product, or the delivered result – not the number of hours the person spent in the office. What about the actual monitoring of the telecommuting employee? Certainly, the employer has that right, although monitoring appears to defeat the performance related focus just discussed. Telecommuting managers have to focus on the results and work products, not on activity levels and presence. In a production-oriented environment, It really does not matter whether the person is there or not. The end product on time and according to specification should be the criteria. However, even in telecommuting, not all tasks are production oriented. Some jobs must be worked according to assigned intervals. Again, Gil Hodges states,

?The direct answer to your question is that as far as I know, there really is no way to actually monitor what people are doing. You can measure the times they log on and off the computer system, but it wouldn’t take too long for a telecommuter to figure that out and (if they want) log on, go back to sleep for four hours, and then log off. Similarly, any attempt to measure keystrokes is subject to various kinds of abuse. And I suggest you not even consider any kind of visual monitoring such as by videoconferencing – that’s a gross intrusion, in my view.?

I differ somewhat, with this point of view. Frankly, there are several systems available to monitor personal computer usage, if needed. In a measurable production oriented environment, I cannot imagine when this need might arise. However, not all telecommuting positions require a personal computer. One example that might require the monitoring of a telecommuter is when the use of a telephone is involved, such as a home-based ticket agent. These agents are required to be available at the prescribed time. The client calls a central office, which switches the call to the available agents business number, in his or her own home. While working in the office, these calls would require continuous monitoring. There is no reason why these calls cannot be monitored remotely, and they are. As stated, these systems are available. There use and monitoring in general must be agreed upon, up front. A supervisor should be reluctant to place an employee in a telecommuting position if the employee is reluctant to enter into this agreement. This is doubly true when monitoring is a stipulation. As in all staffing issues, the correct solution requires matching the correct individual to the job.

Telecommuting is not all fun and games. There are new issues, which I will attempt to address. ?Moonlighting? is an ages old problem. Usually, there is no problem. However, with telecommuting there is a new twist. What if the employee uses his company?s assigned resources for another company? Concerning this exact topic, here is how Dr. Robert Claxton responded to the Gil Gordon survey, ?If the individual is a terrific employee??

“This appears to be a “conduct problem” rather than a “performance problem.” You’ve suggested that the employee’s job performance is satisfactory (a terrific employee) but the problem is in fact the employee’s conduct of using company equipment and working for another employer. This should be handled as a violation of company policy which should have been made clear up front and perhaps as a condition of employment. Depending on how seriously the employer considers the conduct, an appropriate response should be taken, up to and including dismissal (assuming that sufficient evidence is found). Conduct problems are not usually handled in the same way as performance problems.?

Therefore, the managerial response to this serious problem should be appropriate for a conduct issue and addressed in that regard.

What about training? If an employee is strictly home-based, there may not be sufficient resources to provide training. There might not be instructors available or even a proper classroom. Then again, are these not issues that plague the traditional manager? Personally, there is no substitute for the classroom. Even computer based training (CBT) and ?Web based? (internet training), as popular as they have become, are rarely available for trade education. Training the telecommuter is the same issue as training any other employee. Management must provide a place, a time and the proper resources for effective training to succeed.

Effective communication is important in all organizations. ?Communication is the process that links all managerial functions. There is no managerial function that a supervisor can fulfill without communicating.? We have defined communication as the transfer of information. We measure successful communication in terms of mutual understanding. The essence of communication is a two way process. Someone speaks another listens. Is what the second party hears, actually the semantic of what the first party intended to convey? Unfortunately, ?understanding? is nearly intangible. Most supervisors spend the majority of their time interacting. This includes the processing (sending and receiving) of information. The supervisor is frequently a pivot point for information transfer, up and down the organizational structure. In order to be a successful supervisor one must communicate effectively. To be a skilful communicator, a supervisor must master the communication tools provided.

Communications and Telecommuting, a Supervisory Perspective

Given the recent advances in Technology and the changes this brought to business communications, revolutionary impacts on the traditional workplace are predictable. The modern workplace is truly global in its realm. It is imperative that an organization integrates communication systems that are international in scope. The basic premise remains clear, concise and goal oriented communication. However, today?s supervisors and organizations must come to terms with the use of these new systems.

With the advent of new digital telecommunication systems and networks, it is inevitable that these advances should integrate into business. The new trend is toward a ?virtual workspace,? that is telecommuting or ?telework,? as referred to in Europe. A new telecommunication industry has materialized. Known as Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) this discipline promotes the study and regulation of the industry. Telecommuting is becoming a norm. Alan Cummings stated in this months Vision magazine,

?Small, disparate groups of entrepreneurs now dominate a dynamic, business-oriented culture in which qualifications matter greatly; social status, age, and gender count for little; and actual performance is everything. Most professionals use more productively the time and money they once spent commuting, and many people arrange their working lives around their social needs. The multi-skilled, flexible worker can be of any age; it is common for octogenarians to work to supplement their retirement income or savings. Because professionals work online from home, mobility is a bygone concern and commuter traffic jams are almost unknown.?

To paraphrase Cummings: ?Technophobics? will relegate to the level of unskilled labor. These will emerge as an alienated labor force, stuck in ?neo-dead-end? jobs. This new ?technocracy? brings new inequalities and caste systems, new ?good old boy networks.? The disabled, will lose a disadvantage. The technically incapable will gain a disadvantage. For the supervisor and the manager, there are several new communications issues to address.

Many positions are ideal for the telecommuter. Cyberworkers, a French based trade association, lists these fields as the tried and true ?teleworking? careers:

Communication Multimedia Creation Training

Human Resources Financial Management Art & Culture

Audio-visual Graphics Data processing

Internet Journalism Legal, Paralegal

Marketing Information Technology Transcriptionist

Translation Specialist Telephone Solicitor Collector

Today, via telecommuting, it is entirely probable that the complete career relationship could occur with no more personal contact than a fax or e-mail. Virtually every workspace provides not only a telephone, also voicemail and/or messaging. Most offices have an array of digital devices, such as personal computers, scanners, printers, facsimile systems, and modems. In addition, the workspace has grown wheels and gone mobile. To function, many of us must carry a beeper, cellular phone, even a laptop or palmtop computer. ?There will be no excuse for the technology deficient.?

Telecommuting is growing in popularity. The American Telecommuting Association states on their web page ?telecommuting is second only to “casual days” as the fastest-growing shift in traditional working patterns, and it’s far more helpful than wearing sneakers and tee-shirts for accomplishing more work in less time.? The ATA further States, these advantages:

?One of the most pleasant surprises about telecommuting is that it’s a win-win-win situation for the individual telecommuter, the employer, and society as a whole.

1. The individual benefits from telecommuting because he or she immediately eliminates the time, trouble, and expense of physically commuting to work. This gives the average person an extra hour per day, right off the top, to use for the thinking, the writing, the telephoning, the planning, and the reporting work which keeps the business organization moving forward.

2. The benefits of telecommuting also translate directly and immediately into more discretionary time, more time with the family, less stress, and general health improvements.

3. In addition, because you’re working at home, you have more control over your time, more flexibility to take a short break and change a diaper or drive a child to a friend’s house, more freedom to cook your family a nice meal, and less pressure to keep every minute crammed with useful activities.

4. Commuting costs are much lower for telecommuters, who tend to feel more in control of life than employees who travel to the same (distant) office five days a week.

5. The family generally likes having Mommy or Daddy around for that extra hour each telecommuting work day, and presumably benefits from not getting dumped on by the physical commuter’s unspent frustration accumulated during the trip home.?

The employee and family obviously benefit. What benefits the employer?

6. ?The employer benefits from telecommuting because of the extra productivity that results — consistently clocked at 10-15% in nearly every such study during the past two decades.

7. The organization also saves on expenses. For example, by having half your work force telecommute one day a week, you cut down by 10% on your need for offices, desks and chairs, bathrooms, copy machines, parking spaces, heating and lighting, and all the rest.

8. In addition, telecommuting helps the best employees stay longer, saving on recruiting and training costs, and also makes it practical for the organization to reach out another 10, 20, or 30 miles (or more) in finding qualified people to fill important posts. ?

9. Society benefits from telecommuting because it immediately cuts down on air pollution, use of non-renewable energy sources, and traffic congestion.

On December 23, 1995, President Clinton signed a bill that dramatically changed the terms of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act. This legislation defined the responsibilities for mandated State Controlled employer trip-reduction programs. Although implied, there is nothing stated in the Act which required telecommuting. It is a recommended way to meet trip-reduction goals. It is simple to envision how telecommuting applies to this environmental law. It could be a great tool to remove commuting traffic from the roads and the pollution from our lungs. Another advantage, from my own experience, I would like to add that a creative telecommuter could often discover new and uniquely efficient ways to get the job done. When observed from a distance, it becomes less difficult to initiate and incorporate these newfound methods.

To identify the challenges that telecommunications present to the supervisor, let us identify some of the general communication processes in use and their effectiveness in an automated environment. Gil Gordon and Associates, Inc. is a New Jersey based consulting firm that specializes in telecommuting consultation services. They state in the July edition of their online magazine, Telecommuting Review. ?As for managing at a distance, it’s really no different from managing in the office. That is, good managers set expectations, monitor progress, give feedback, and do all the other basic managerial tasks for employees no matter where they work.?

Management by Wandering Around (MBWA) ?is a primary information gathering and decision-making managerial tool successfully used by management.? MBWA will remain effective for the executive and upper level management. In the telecommunication environment, it will primarily be limited to wandering the front line trenches, that is the Corporate Office and facilities. Visiting an employee?s home might have hidden repercussions.

?Many employers deal with this issue in their telecommuting policies or telecommuting agreements. The right to visit an employee’s home office should be clearly stated before telecommuting begins, so the telecommuters know this is a possibility.

There are several points to keep in mind if you’re going to make this visit:

You’re going for a business purpose – to make sure the office area has been set up safely, to conduct a meeting, etc. You’re not going to check for dust, look through the kitchen cabinets, go swimming, etc.

ALL visits to a telecommuter’s home must be announced in advance, preferably with at least 24 hours’ notice.

We all feel differently about having visitors, let alone co-workers or our manager, come into our homes. Respect these differences and be sure you don’t do or say anything to make the telecommuter uncomfortable.

Consider the possibility that a visit by a male manager to a female telecommuter’s home (or vice versa) when they will be the only two people in the home may not be a good idea. It creates the potential for the appearance of impropriety, not to mention sexual harassment. The issue is not only the actions or the intent of those involved, but the appearances. Talk with your Human Resources staff for guidance on this issue.?

It should be obvious that telecommuting does not really pose a new problem to the traditional ?Performance Appraisal? process. Nevertheless, How would a manager determine a telecommuters overall job performance? Especially, consider that the supervisor might only see the employee on an occasional basis, if at all. The appraisal should fairly focus on the results that were expected and achieved. What counts is the product, or the delivered result – not the number of hours the person spent in the office. What about the actual monitoring of the telecommuting employee? Certainly, the employer has that right, although monitoring appears to defeat the performance related focus just discussed. Telecommuting managers have to focus on the results and work products, not on activity levels and presence. In a production-oriented environment, It really does not matter whether the person is there or not. The end product on time and according to specification should be the criteria. However, even in telecommuting, not all tasks are production oriented. Some jobs must be worked according to assigned intervals. Again, Gil Hodges states,

?The direct answer to your question is that as far as I know, there really is no way to actually monitor what people are doing. You can measure the times they log on and off the computer system, but it wouldn’t take too long for a telecommuter to figure that out and (if they want) log on, go back to sleep for four hours, and then log off. Similarly, any attempt to measure keystrokes is subject to various kinds of abuse. And I suggest you not even consider any kind of visual monitoring such as by videoconferencing – that’s a gross intrusion, in my view.?

I differ somewhat, with this point of view. Frankly, there are several systems available to monitor personal computer usage, if needed. In a measurable production oriented environment, I cannot imagine when this need might arise. However, not all telecommuting positions require a personal computer. One example that might require the monitoring of a telecommuter is when the use of a telephone is involved, such as a home-based ticket agent. These agents are required to be available at the prescribed time. The client calls a central office, which switches the call to the available agents business number, in his or her own home. While working in the office, these calls would require continuous monitoring. There is no reason why these calls cannot be monitored remotely, and they are. As stated, these systems are available. There use and monitoring in general must be agreed upon, up front. A supervisor should be reluctant to place an employee in a telecommuting position if the employee is reluctant to enter into this agreement. This is doubly true when monitoring is a stipulation. As in all staffing issues, the correct solution requires matching the correct individual to the job.

Telecommuting is not all fun and games. There are new issues, which I will attempt to address. ?Moonlighting? is an ages old problem. Usually, there is no problem. However, with telecommuting there is a new twist. What if the employee uses his company?s assigned resources for another company? Concerning this exact topic, here is how Dr. Robert Claxton responded to the Gil Gordon survey, ?If the individual is a terrific employee??

“This appears to be a “conduct problem” rather than a “performance problem.” You’ve suggested that the employee’s job performance is satisfactory (a terrific employee) but the problem is in fact the employee’s conduct of using company equipment and working for another employer. This should be handled as a violation of company policy which should have been made clear up front and perhaps as a condition of employment. Depending on how seriously the employer considers the conduct, an appropriate response should be taken, up to and including dismissal (assuming that sufficient evidence is found). Conduct problems are not usually handled in the same way as performance problems.?

Therefore, the managerial response to this serious problem should be appropriate for a conduct issue and addressed in that regard.

What about training? If an employee is strictly home-based, there may not be sufficient resources to provide training. There might not be instructors available or even a proper classroom. Then again, are these not issues that plague the traditional manager? Personally, there is no substitute for the classroom. Even computer based training (CBT) and ?Web based? (internet training), as popular as they have become, are rarely available for trade education. Training the telecommuter is the same issue as training any other employee. Management must provide a place, a time and the proper resources for effective training to succeed.

Effective communication is important in all organizations. ?Communication is the process that links all managerial functions. There is no managerial function that a supervisor can fulfill without communicating.? We have defined communication as the transfer of information. We measure successful communication in terms of mutual understanding. The essence of communication is a two way process. Someone speaks another listens. Is what the second party hears, actually the semantic of what the first party intended to convey? Unfortunately, ?understanding? is nearly intangible. Most supervisors spend the majority of their time interacting. This includes the processing (sending and receiving) of information. The supervisor is frequently a pivot point for information transfer, up and down the organizational structure. In order to be a successful supervisor one must communicate effectively. To be a skilful communicator, a supervisor must master the communication tools provided.

Bibliography of Contacts and References

ОТКРЫТЬ САМ ДОКУМЕНТ В НОВОМ ОКНЕ

ДОБАВИТЬ КОММЕНТАРИЙ [можно без регистрации]

Ваше имя:

Комментарий