Technology is being used and applied in the business organizations of the present era. One of the applications of technology in businesses is the ability to allow the employees to work from home and other locations outside of office. Telecommuting or Telework is defined as making use of computing resources and technology outside of office to execute professional tasks and activities. It is referred as work from home, remote working and e-commuting as well. The organizations are making sure that the employees get the opportunity to maintain the work-life balance and are allowing such flexible options at work. However, there are advantages and drawbacks that are associated with this scheme.
The report covers the concept of telecommuting with its pros and cons and also analyses the decision of Yahoo to stop telecommuting.
Growing Trend of Telecommuting
Employees have the ease of access to high-speed internet connection and the practice of telecommuting reduces the infrastructural cost for the organizations. The employees get the ability to maintain the work-life balance allowing them to showcase higher levels of productivity (Lautsch, Kossek & Eaton, 2009). The organizations also promote the idea of telecommuting after looking at the increase productivity and satisfaction levels of the employees.
Pros of Telecommuting
Telecommuting allows the employees to structure their work in a better manner and as per their productivity cycles. Such a practice promotes organizational agility as the workers have increased freedom and job satisfaction (Shockley, 2014). The time that is spent in daily commute to the office is allocated for the fulfilment of professional tasks and activities leading to better efficiency of the employees.
Cons of Telecommuting
There are also a few challenges that are associated with the practice of telecommuting. It becomes troublesome for the managers and leaders to supervise and control the sub-ordinates that telecommute. The level of team-work, team collaboration and shared understanding may be lesser than the teams physically located in the office (Aon, 2014). Social isolation and lack of workplace environment are some of the other issues that may be associated with the teleworkers.
Difficulties on Controlling/Supervising the Work
Supervision and control of the work of telecommuters and non-telecommuters is a subject of debate that is witnessed in the organizations that have adapted to the idea of teleworking.
The supervisors can observe the work style and behaviour of the non-telecommuters in the office. However, such abilities are not possible in the case of telecommuters. This may lead to the inconsistency in the application of control measures (Cascio, 2010). Also, the telecommuters may feel excluded and isolated at some point of time. The balancing of the supervision with telecommuters and non-telecommuters is one of the primary challenges for the supervisors and managers.
Work hours are believed to be one of the essential parameters in determination of the work commitments of the employees. The calculation and supervision of the work hours of the non-telecommuters can be easily recorded. However, such a case may be difficult for telecommuters. It is not possible for the supervisors to follow the standard work hours for both the categories of the employees (Boell, Cecez-Kecmanovic & Campbell, 2016). Telecommuters may choose to work as per their flexible productivity and work cycles; however, non-telecommuters may choose to stick to the standard working hours.
Telecommuters can show higher levels of productivity and efficiency only when they have complete support of their supervisors. However, such flexibility may not go well with non-telecommuters. The management and maintenance of the expectations of both categories of the employees may also come up as a challenge for the supervisors.
The Case of Yahoo
Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer decided to put a ban on telecommuting in 2013. The decision created a lot of stir in the media and led to a debate on the merits and cons of the practice of teleworking.
Marissa stated that the organization needed to be a single unit and to serve the idea, it was necessary that the employees worked side-by-side. She also stated that the best business ideas came up during the interactions at the workstations, cafeteria and impromptu team meetings. The decision of putting a ban on the practice of telecommuting was taken as it was believed that people are more collaborative and inventive when they physically work together (Tkaczyk, 2013).
There were a large section of employees that experienced great benefits with the practice of teleworking by maintaining enhanced work-life balance with flexible hours of working. However, there were a few employees that abused the idea of teleworking.
The absence of standards was another issue that collaborated in the decision of banning the idea of telecommuting. The use of critical systems and applications outside of the office network also brought of security risks and issues. The likelihood of computer crimes and attacks also increased with the use of varied networks and access points (Bort, 2015).
There were difficulties that were observed in the control and monitoring of the telecommuters. The supervision of non-telecommuters and telecommuters could not be done with same policies and standards. There were inconsistency issues that cropped up.
All of the reasons stated above collaborated in the decision-making of putting a ban on teleworking.
Teleworking is a topic of debate since a long time as there are pros and cons that are associated with the idea of telecommuting. There are specific advantages and disadvantages that are observed with this practice that need to be analysed before making the decision to implement the same. The complexities and mutual dependencies of the work activities shall be considered along with the diversity of the professional tasks. ICT enactment in work practices is another parameter that must be considered. All of these parameters shall be analysed before the implementation of the practice of telecommuting in the organization. The nature of work is the most significant parameter that shall be considered (Richard, 2012).
Once telecommuting practices are adopted in the organization, there are certain modifications that shall be made in the monitoring and control policies. The security plans and policies shall also be explained to the telecommuters so that the security risks and attacks on the critical applications and information sets may be prevented.
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Cascio, W. (2010). Managing a Virtual Workplace. Communicationcache.com. Retrieved 29 November 2017, from
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