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Professors Richardson and Ezzedeen on rise of telework

Professors Richardson and Ezzedeen on rise of telework

If you have caught on to just one technology fad over the last two decades, chances are you have teleworked in some way, be it to check business e-mails from your personal laptop, schedule an interview over your BlackBerry or send that very important presentation via your iPhone, wrote March 26:

According to Julia Richardson, professor of organizational behaviour in the School of Administrative Studies and the School of Human Resource Management at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], telework, or telecommuting, is increasing dramatically in many countries as organizations seek to reduce costs and individuals look to be more flexible in their working arrangements.

However, while there are many benefits ranging from greater flexibility for employees and improved performance for employers, Richardson also pointed out several concerns associated with telework, including isolation, blurring of boundaries between home and work, and loss of control over employees.

While telework isn't a new phenomenon, thanks to the rapid rise of computer networking, it's one trend that's being watched closely, said Souha Ezzedeen, professor in the School of Human Resource Management at York University. "And the trend is here to stay," she said, adding there's a drive to get more out of workers by not having them commute to work.

"If you look at the best places to work on the Fortune 100 list, most of them offer some kind of flexibility," Ezzedeen said. "It's a reflection of the changing nature of our social values and norms. It challenges our notion of what does it take to produce good work? Is this the end of the job as we know it?"

Best Buy may be lauded for its revolutionary "results-only work environment", which measures performance on output instead of hours spent at the office, but managing a virtual team comes with numerous implications and challenges, including dealing with conflict, managing performance and issues of measurement, Ezzedeen said.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin