Home-Based Telecommuting: Technology's Role
Ellen Baker (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia), Gayle C. Avery (Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Australia) and John Crawford (University of Technology, Sydney, Australia)
Copyright: © 2008
This chapter examines the role of technology in home-based telecommuting (HBT), and the implications of this role for organizational IT departments and for managers of telecommuting employees. Specifically, it addresses the question: Does technology both facilitate and hinder home-based telecommuting? Although technology enables HBT, it has also been blamed for HBT’s slow growth. To clarify the role that technology currently plays when employees telecommute, we describe a recent study that investigated the relationship between different forms of organizational support (classified as technology-related, somewhat technology-related and non-technological) and employees’ reactions to HBT. Two technology- related support variables and manager’s trust (a non-technological support) were found to have broad impact on employees’ reactions to HBT; so, while technology plays a crucial role and thus could be a major factor in HBT’s slow growth, we argue that HBT is better understood within a multi-factor rather than a single-factor framework. Other implications are that organizations should emphasize providing IT support and appropriate technology for telecommuters, as well as HBT-related training for non-telecommuting co-workers and managers of the telecommuters.