Free Essay

Virtual Work

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By angy2012
Words 638
Pages 3
Definition:
Our textbook defines virtual work as, “employees use information technology to perform their jobs away from the traditional physical workplace. The most common form of virtual work, called telecommuting or teleworking, involves working at home rather than commuting to the office” (McShane & Von Glinow, 2010, p. 22).

Summary: In his article, “Unilever Moves Employee Telecommuting to a New Level,” Gary M. Stern writes about how most employers today offer telecommuting and some go beyond that. Unilever is a consumer goods company that in 2010 launched a program titled “Agile Working” that allows its employees to telecommute anytime anywhere. With a 30% participation rate, employees are encouraged to work as long as they are making results. Stern alludes to various advantages of telecommuting such as avoiding commuting, flexible scheduling, and changing work environments. Advantages for the company include cutting global travel costs, office overhead, and achieving a higher level of talent in its employees. “Agile Working” is a flexible virtual work program that offers its employees flexibility, mobility, and challenges them in return (Stern 2012).

Discussion: Virtual work is helping employees essentially blur the line between work and home. By letting employees use information technology and do their jobs away from the workplace they can be connected at home, on the road, or in a coffee shop. Research shows advantages of telecommuting include potentially reducing stress in employees, increase in employee productivity, and of course less pollution. However, the disadvantage is being away from work leads to social isolation and reduces promotion opportunities. (McShane & Von Glinow, 2010, p. 23). While working at home may have its advantages for both the employer and employees it’s possible that it can hurt their career. Employees who spend more time at home are away from supervisors and managers who give them reviews, promotions, and see how they work. In her article, “Why Working at Home Could Hurt Your Career,” Susan Adams describes managers as caring about “ ‘passive face time,’ or simply being in the workplace regardless of what you are doing there” (Adams 2012). Research has shown that supervisors and managers will automatically recall these employees that are in the office positively. However, those who telecommute or do other virtual work away from the office don’t get this advantage. Adams does believe it’s possible to make this time up and offers some advice for employees who need to make up “face time” (Adams 2012). In addition to telecommuting from home more and more employees are using programs like the company Unilever to work remotely. In her article, “Your Next Office: At Home?” Rachel Emma Silverman describes how “84% of workers who worked remotely…did so at least once a week, up from 72% in 2008” (Silverman 2012). She writes of how this trend has truly grown and even expanded into new fields of work. The same advantages and disadvantages that our textbook writes of are included in this article. But, she doesn’t name employees needing “face time” and taking heed to some advice to make some changes on their end. Silverman instead states that management not the virtual working employees should be the ones leading better outcomes (Silverman 2012).

References:

Adams, S. (2012, August 16). Why working at home could hurt your career. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2012/08/16/why-working-at-home-could-hurt-your-career/
McShane, S., & Von Glinow, M. A. (2010). Organizational Behavior, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN- 978-0-07-338123-7
Silverman, R. E. (2012, June 20). Your next office: At home? Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/atwork/2012/06/20/working-from-home-numbers-jump/?KEYWORDS=telecommuting
Stern, G. M. (2012, August 24). Unilever moves employee telecommuting to a new level. Retrieved from http://news.investors.com/article/623433/201208241653/ul-staff-management-program-boosts-global-teamwork.htm…...

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