Telecommuting in Today's Work Environment
30 August 2011
Individuals who have a master’s in communications may know that telecommuting is rapidly becoming one of the main ways that individuals work. More companies than ever are allowing their employees to work from home for a variety of reasons, such as an increase in the demand for flexible working hours and the need for virtual talent. The fact that so many employees are now working outside of the office is an important issue for individuals who wish to pursue a master’s in communication management, as they will need to deal with these special workers on a daily basis. The following articles should provide information on the challenges associated with telecommuting as well as how managers can best handle these virtual workers.
What is remote work?
In order to successfully work from home, individuals need to possess a certain set of skills. Telecommuters can work from as close to their office as down the street or as far away as across the country or world. These resources will provide information on what remote work is and the different types of skills individuals need in order to engage in this type of work. These articles can be helpful for communication managers because they will inform them which types of employees they should allow the privilege of working from home.
Remote work: This document from the state of New Jersey describes the different types of telecommuters and the sorts of jobs that virtual workers take on.
Sample expectations for telecommuters: This hiring letter includes some of the expectations that individuals who wish to work for the government from a virtual location must fulfill. Many of them deal with communication. Managers who are considering allowing their workers to telecommute may wish to use this document as a template to create their own hiring letter.
Basics for employees: This guide, published by Telework.gov, gives a basic overview on telecommuting for both employees and managers. A few topics covered include training procedures, communication of expectations and how supervision and management for telework is best undertaken.
Challenges associated with telecommuting
Working from home can pose a unique set of challenges that those who commute to the office each day do not encounter. Communication managers should be aware of the difficulties that telecommuters have to deal with in order to best supervise these employees. A major challenge that virtual workers encounter is a feeling of isolation. As such, managers need to focus on establishing clear lines of communication with these employees.
Telecommuting and its impact on personal relationships: This article from a journal published by an Arizona-based university discusses how telecommuting can have a negative effect on the personal relationships between virtual employees and those who work in the office. Communication managers can seeks to negate this negative effect of telecommuting by continuously opening lines of communication between all workers.
Telecommuting and job satisfaction: This article, written by a professor at an Ohio-based university, discusses the effects that telecommuting has on job satisfaction.
The advantages and challenges of telecommuting: This article defines the different types of telework and the special challenges that come along with each kind. It also touches upon the many advantages that telecommuters may experience, such as better work-life balance and more flexible schedules.
How to best manage telecommuters
Telecommuters can be a challenge for communication managers as these workers are not always in the office. As such, it may be difficult to discuss issues, new projects or progress on assignments on a daily basis. Individuals who wish to pursue careers as communication managers may find these resources helpful, as they provide tips as to how telecommuters can be best managed. The documents also give information on the importance of communication when managing a virtual workforce.
Managing the flexible workforce: The document, put out by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, discusses communication strategies that managers can use when supervising a virtual workforce.
Communication strategies: This document gives an overview on the basics of telecommuting and includes a few strategies that communication managers can employ to best manage these types of workers.
How to prevent a communication breakdown: This article discusses how both communication managers and the telecommuters they supervise can avoid a breakdown in communication.
Communication strategies for leaders who manage telecommuters: This article from the American Business Review discusses strategies that communication managers can adopt in order to ensure that their remote employees are committed to the company and feel as though they are part of the corporate culture.
Support for communication-based work processes in virtual work: This article from the e-Service Journal outlines a variety of different ways in which communications managers can support their virtual workers.
Building community in the virtual workplace: This article discusses how communication managers can facilitate social interaction between their virtual workers so that they feel as though they are still part of the community. It also offers other strategies that individuals can adopt in order to make sure telecommuters feel in the loop and part of the corporate culture.
How to manage virtual workers: This document provides a telecommuting matrix for supervisors, outlining the different steps they should take in order to properly manage and communicate with virtual workers