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Wal-Mart Swot Analysis

Essay by review  •  March 14, 2011  •  Case Study  •  3,558 Words (15 Pages)  •  2,645 Views

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Telecommuting as an Human Resource Management Policy

Rajesh Hemnani

Baker College Center for Graduate Studies


Rapid advances in computer, telecommunications, computer networks, Internet and electronic mail have widened the choice of workplace for workers so they can work wherever these tools are available, that is, telecommute. The trend towards telecommuting in work is a very attractive for today's workforce because it offers greater flexibility, reduces costs and allows more individuals to work regardless of geographical boundaries and physical disabilities. Telecommuting is beneficial for employers also as they could attract more diverse, talented workforce to fulfill their business objectives to realize their vision and mission. Telecommuting offers numerous benefits to both employers and employees but is not without issues. This paper discusses the telecommuting and its role in corporations striving to achieve their strategic objectives.

Telecommuting as an Human Resource Management Policy


The face of the workplace is changing with new possibilities created by advances in information technologies in recent years. Computer and telecommunications advances including computer networks, Internet and electronic mail have widened the choice of workplace for workers so they can work wherever these tools are available, that is, telecommute. It has led a trend towards greater worker flexibility and empowerment of employees. Most of the workers benefited by this trend are 'information workers' who focus on the creation, distribution and use of information. Telecommunications services have partially substituted transportation to and from a traditional workplace and this practice is called telecommuting. Craumer & Marshall define telecommuting as "working at home during business hours one or more days a week, using a combination of computing and communications technology to stay productive and connected to the office and clients" (as cited in Scott, Rush, & Rogers, 1999).

Scott et al. (1999) observed that telecommuting is not a new concept and it started in late 1980s when data entry clerks were provided a terminal connected to a mainframe through a phone line. With advancement of IT, computing has moved to networked computers needing broadband Internet connections. Even after presence of many problems with telecommuting, it is a growing trend because of flexibility offered by it, tight labor market, rise of knowledge workers, economic benefits, and advances in information technology. The cost savings of telecommuting arrangement are large but a large initial investment is also necessary. Managers need to learn new ways of managing persons who are not physically present. Employees also need to prepare themselves for difficulties such as differentiating between work and leisure times, feelings of isolation, and lack of adequate technological support.

Telecommuting is being practiced by employees on the basis of once a week to full-time. Currently it is more prevalent in managers and professionals but is most suited to information workers and some other categories of employees. Advancement in corporate IT and public telecommunications infrastructure has increased the viability of telecommuting as it improves the productivity and quality of life of employees. Employers are benefited by productivity gains and by greater success in recruiting and retaining employees (Transportation, n. d.).

According to a report of National Transportation Library (Transportation, n. d.) telecommuting eases transportation congestions and improves air quality, reduces personal stresses due of transportation delays. The "commuting in general and peak-hour congestion in particular are major sources of air pollutants." In addition it benefits society by "conserving gasoline use, fewer highway accidents, and eased transportation infrastructure requirements. Telecommuting also expands opportunities for people with disabilities or tied to the home for any other reason."

This report (Transportation, n. d.) also outlines negative effects of telecommuting like converting employees into contract workers without benefits, and pressure to work excessive hours. The clear distinction between work and home life becomes difficult causing stress and burnout. Concern is also being raised that telecommuters could move into rural areas "negating the energy and emissions benefits and accelerating urban expansion. From the employer's perspective, concerns include the cost and effort necessary to implement a program and the challenge of remote supervision" (Transportation, n. d.).

The main purpose of this study is to address the question: Whether Telecommuting should be used as a part of HR policy wherever possible as it has a very promising future. The rest of the paper discusses management issues related with telecommuting, telecommuting from employees' perspective, economic and legal aspects of telecommuting.

Telecommuting Management Issues

Telecommuting has become a hot topic in corporations for using it as a tool to achieve their strategic objectives. HR and other top managers of company are trying it as a viable work option for their employees, but there are scores of other companies that have too little faith in their employees to try it. Managerial mindset tends to be that "if they can't see their employees, they must be lolling around in your pajamas watching daytime television" (Scott et al., 1999). There is a feeling that managers just do not like the telecommuting issue because they feel that they are not in control.

Scott et al. (1999) advise that managers need to look at telecommuting from financial view also because managing workers in the office is normally more complex and financially draining than managing telecommuters. It is an attractive option for companies working in areas where real state cost is high like New York, New Jersey, and California etc. Companies offering telecommuting could attract talented and creative people who are not able to work continuously for eight hours because of a complex family life. Talent is difficult to find these days and any way to tap into some new talent should be given



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