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Home Based Work and Telework:
where home meets workplace
Following from the section on Virtual Organizations, this section will look at teleworking and home based working. The Encyclopedia from CALT at Insead offers a large selection of material that may be of general interest for this and other sections concerned with different types of virtual group.
Telework is a generic name given to work that involves some form of interaction with others but does not necessarily involve being in the same place as them. The literal definition of telework is "working at a distance", however in practice, telework can range from a 'lifestyle choice' to a corporate policy which the teleworker has little choice but to accept. Some people focus exclusively on work done from the home, while others include work done in satellite offices or 'on the road'. Telework is frequently described as telecommuting or home based working, although it is also sometimes called mobile working, location-independent work or, more idealistically, working in the electronic cottage.
Telework is often seen as an example of cold distributed collaborative working. Cold distributed collaborative work can even take place within a single organization where the loose coupling of activities can be a reflection of organizational autonomy, e.g. when collaborative work takes place in different communities or departments within an organization. In such cases, the work takes place at different physical locations and/or at different times, e.g. an individual may work alone to write a report for later use by the rest of the group. Viewed in this way, telework is a form of group work that exploits differences in time and geography. The stress is on doing work anywhere at any time against a pace and sequence of work that is driven by technological necessity or requirements of work-cycle synchronicity.
However we define telework, some fundamental problems remain. Firstly, telework means that there are few opportunities for social or professional interaction, which can lead to isolation, stagnation and poor performance; problems often compounded by the difficulty of effectively managing such work. Secondly, work will not only take place at different physical locations but also at different times. Once work can take place anywhere at any time, home based work need no longer be driven by the rhythms and cycles of the physical office. Thus, the co-ordination of a group activities and the effective sharing of knowledge can pose significant problems for telework.
For a further discussion of this topic, see Telework: An example of Cold Distributed Collaborative Work? from the MSc IP HI2 course.
- See any of the books from the MIS books section
- Sproull. L. and Kiesler. S. Connections: New ways of Working in the Networked Organization. MIT Press, 1992.
- Hiltz, S.R. and Turoff, M. The Network Nation: Human Communication via Computer. MA: MIT Press, 1993.
- Hiltz, S.R. and Turoff, M. The Network Nation: Human Communication via Computer. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1978.
- Mantovani, G. (1994) Is computer-mediated communication intrinsically apt to enhance democracy in organizations? Human Relations, 47(1), 45-62.
- Markus. M.L. (1994) Finding a happy Medium: Explaining the Negative Effects of Electronic Communication on Social Life at Work. Communications of the ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Vol. 12(2), April, pp. 119 - 149.
- Drucker. P. (1992) The New Society of Organizations, Harvard Business Review, September - October, pp. 95 - 104.
- Lyon. D. (1986) From Post Industrialism to Information Society: a New social Transformation?, Sociology, 20(4), pp 577 - 588.
- Zuboff. S. (1982) New Worlds of Computer Mediated Work, Harvard Business Review, Sept. - Oct, pp. 142 - 152.
- If you wish to search for additional sources of information, use the MIS links page
General - (links to links)
Home Based Work
- Telework - Telecommuting
Provides links to material associated with teleworking and telecommuting from different parts of the world broken down by geographical area. Also includes a section on Virtual Organizations
Provides links to several papers that deal with various ethical issues associated with teleworking
- Telework in the UK: Who's doing it?
This article examines recently published official figures from the UK, and uncovers the underlying stories.
- What's happening to work?
List of articles and papers on telework maintained by the journalist Andrew Bibby
- Love and the Teleworker
"Working from home is a great challenge to us. If we are to enrich our lives by adopting this increasingly popular way of working, if we want to integrate our work and home lives, those aspects of behaviour which harmlessly enriched our office working lives may not seem so harmless when brought into the domestic arena."
- Women and the Knowledge-Based Economy and Society
This paper defines what is meant by the Knowledge-Based Economy and Society (KBES), particularly as it relates to women. It then explores the possibilities, and the dangers, associated with the KBES for women, as entrepreneurs, as self-employed and other non-standard workers, and as home based workers.
- Teleworking: conceptual and implementation problems
Tele-cooperation occurs when groups of spatially-distant people interconnect on a work related common task, within a specific time frame, to share ideas, information, exchange documents, co-author documents etc. and are supported in their workgroup activities by computer-supported cooperative work tools. The management of such a spatially distributed work-force within a virtual office environment poses unique managerial and organizational challenges.
- Health and safety for home-based worker
Whilst teleworking can offer considerable benefits to both companies and the individuals involved, a successful homeworking policy does have to get the details right, and health and safety is certainly one of the major items which should be on the agenda.
- Extreme Telecommuting
Jack in, wire up, drop out! The internet is all about freedom -- freedom from soft-walled cubicles, freedom from bad coffee, freedom from rules that just don't apply anymore. Why do you need to be in a corporate business park when there's a whole wide, wired world out there?
- The new workplace
A paper on the future of work (work anywhere, anytime) and how some companies are making it happen. "O'Neill's own favorite hangout is the kitchen, where he and his staff nuke take-out food, huddle, and talk work ..."
- Telework and people with disabilities
"See the Ability not the Disability". An opportunity to work with people who have disabilities that may inhibit their participation in conventional work and social activities but whose use of the Internet is empowering them to participate in and shape the development of the Information Society and the emerging Global Networked Economy, by the European Telework Online.
- The Economics of Teleworking
"With the very large investments being made and with continuous advances in the power and user friendliness of equipment, we are all being forced to accept change. But why are these changes seen by Government as "a good thing" for society? The vision can be illustrated as follows ..."
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