Is your commute time to the office longer than 30 minutes outside of rush hour traffic? Do you maintain weekday accommodations to reduce your commute time to and from work? Do you find yourself either getting to the office earlier than necessary or staying at work later than you should just to beat the traffic? This post examines some of the merits and challenges of teleworking.
In the Caribbean region, many of us experience considerable challenges to get to work on time. For most of us, it is traffic congestion, which we might try to minimise by leaving home even earlier in the mornings and/or staying at the office later in the evenings. For others, whose primary residence might be an appreciable distance away, they might secure secondary accommodations closer to work, which they use during the work week. These and other similar situations highlight the fact that the daily commute to and from work often consumes significant portions of our time and money, and might not necessarily be efficient or productive.
“Teleworking”, which is also referred to as “telecommuting”, “remote work”, “virtual work”, “flexible workplace” and “mobile work”, is an arrangement where employees work from home for either a portion or all of a work week, but maintain contact with their offices via electronic means. It is rarely used exclusively. Regular face-to-face meetings are usually scheduled.
Policymakers across the region have bandied about the concept of teleworking since the late 1990s/early 2000s. It was seen as natural progression of liberalisation and competition in the telecoms sector. However, over a decade later, teleworking is rarely an option available to employees in the region, but there are a number of benefits that can be realised.
Increased productivity. When teleworking arrangements are established, employee productivity can increase. Employees are less distracted by office commotion and interruptions. They can also be more rested and less stressed, since there is no commute time on the days they are working from home.
Reduced expenses. This is benefit to both employer and employee. With regard to the employer, securing and maintaining sufficient office space for all of its employees is a considerable ongoing expense. Depending on the teleworking arrangement that is established, an organisation may permanently decrease the size its accommodations, which in turn could reduce its operating expenses. With regard to the worker, employers rarely compensate their staff for transportation costs to get to the office where they are based. Employees usually foot those expenses out of their earnings. With teleworking, some savings could be realised that could be put towards other personal needs. – Read More