Telecommuting Essay

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With the recent decision by Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo Inc., to end work-from-home arrangements, companies cannot help but question their own policies of “telecommuting”, as Jack Nilles coined the term in 1973. As a young child rearing woman as CEO of a major corporation, Marissa Mayer turned from a role model to a disappointment for many working moms. Best Buy immediately followed suit a week later and ended its own program of telecommuting. Before other companies follow this trend and endure potential consequences, they must consider the extensive benefits telecommuting generates to an organization, its workers, and society as many studies support both domestically and internationally. Prior to the industrial revolution, selected workers worked from home, typically part time, in what was known as the “cottage industry”. Most of these workers were farmers with seasonal occupation, and took up manual labor such as sewing or some other type of manufacturing during the winter for extra income. While today’s cottage industries include such work as envelope stuffers and eBay sellers, the majority of those who work at home morphed from manual labor into two different major characteristics of workers: those with communication links to their office, and those who are knowledge workers such as professionals and managers (Bélanger, 1999). These new types of workers are not merely supplementing their income, but are telecommuting as part of their fulltime professions. The reasons for growth in the new era of telecommuting are due to the numerous expected benefits to both companies and workers, such as increases in productivity, organizational loyalty and belonging, increases in job satisfaction, employee retention and attraction, savings of office space, increased flexibility and improved moral (Bélanger, 1999; Bailey & Kurland, 2002), as well as complying with the

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