Telecommuting was created out of a necessity to reduce work hours at office, improve productivity and family relationships. On the contrary, as this study reveals, it has proved to increase family conflicts, expanded work hours beyond the standard workweek and given employers more power to increase or intensify work demands among their salaried white-collar employees.

Traditionally, telecommuting is defined as employees who work regularly but not exclusively from home. The idea was that telecommuting could cut commuting time and costs, reduce energy consumption and traffic congestion, and contribute to work life balance for those with care giving responsibilities; especially mothers who could then compete equally at the workplace. If you worked in the hi-tech, financial or communications sector didn’t need to be physically present at work as they could complete their tasks via mobile devices. The only obstacle came from those managers who were reluctant to give up direct supervisory control as they were afraid of employees shirking their work.

On paper, telecommuting seems to boost productivity, decrease absenteeism, and increase retention. However, when it comes to family lifestyle benefits, that’s where holes began to appear in the perfect picture. American employees seemed to work more as they were still continuing with their tasks during family hours. Plus, there were higher levels of stress, which affected their family members as well. For telecommuting to work, it needs to be widely used by workers who need it most AND it needs to be instrumental in substituting hours at home for hours onsite.

Source: Mary C. Noonan and Jennifer L. Glass | The hard truth about telecommuting | June 2012 | Monthly Labor Review (PDF)

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