Technology was supposed to be the great emancipator. In 1983, the San Jose Mercury News wrote that "home computers are nurturing working mothers." It didn't seem unreasonable to expect that this "electronic cottage" might one day allow, as Karl Marx wrote, "to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening ..." For Toffler, humans would use computers to get more work done in less time while bypassing the experience of a 9-to-5 city job.
Telecommuting has become a worldwide reality. One in five workers worldwide now work from home. Many large companies have downsized their office space as a result. But is this way of working really effective for the company and the employee?
The most recent high-profile failure is a one-year experiment run the U.S. Office for Personal Management (OPM) that allowed employees full flexibility over where and when they worked. A Deloitte report evaluating the pilot program found that OPM senior managers couldn't evaluate performance of their employees, the quality of work deteriorated, and employees had little idea whether they were putting in enough time to get the job done.
A well touted success story is the insurance company, Aetna. It reveals that 47 percent of its U.S. employees work from home every day. But the company notes that telecommuters are heavier, and it now provides an online personal trainer to help them stay in shape.
How can a small-business owner ensure that telecommuters are getting the work done? How can employees keep their work/life balance so their home doesn't become a modern day "sweatshop"? Read more at the North Jefferson News.
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