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  • The authors are Steve King and Carolyn Ockels. Steve and Carolyn are partners at Emergent Research and Senior Fellows at the Society for New Communications Research. Carolyn is leading the coworking study and Steve is a member of the project team.

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« Harvey Mackay on Small Business Technology | Main | Crowd Funding and Small Business »

January 19, 2008

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Pinny Cohen

I saw that article also, and while I do think some people will miss the workplace social scene, I don't think it was one that improved productivity, nor was it usually based on anything except boredom and lack of previous friends at the work location.

If employers are truly concerned about the happiness of their employees fading as telecommuting becomes more common, they should start by reviewing their strict policies banning chat, social networking, and webcam use during company time. All would serve to "connect" the worker with those who matter to him/her.

Chuck Wilsker

Validity of Conclusions in Research Findings Questioned by Telework Coalition

After reviewing the Study “Telecommuting May Harm Workers Left Behind in the Office” conducted by Timothy Golden, associate professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer, we question the validity of his research and quite frankly are surprised that it was released. Drawing conclusions on a study based on “a couple hundred people from a single company”, may say more about that company’s policies and procedures, or lack thereof, than teleworking. How can anyone perform a study with his only source of data being one medium size company and imply that his conclusions are valid for any other organization?

In 2006 we, The Telework Coalition, conducted a Telework Benchmarking study of 13 large organizations with mature telework programs. In it we asked about the attitudes of those employees who did not telework. Both our study and two previously conducted studies by other organizations in which there were multiple participants showed that the non teleworking coworkers were both enthusiastically supportive and felt teleworking was good for the organization, or at the least, the situation was a non issue.

In Mr. Golden’s study none of the distributed work program’s many benefits are measured, compared, or contrasted with the grumblings from 'those left behind'. We have seen more employers concerned with transit strikes, the possibility of a bird flu pandemic, terrorism, recruiting and retention issues, rising gas prices, faltering transportation infrastructures, the environment, etc. than the negatives alluded to by Mr. Golden.

Were there no positives in this company’s telework program? Was there top-level support, written policies and procedures, and processes, selection criteria based on the employee and job, a communication plan (so everyone is the “loop”), training, and program evaluation (to identify/resolve any start up issues). Did this company follow these steps?

So many questions, and yet so few answers from Dr. Golden's research.

The Telework Coalition
Washington, DC
www.TelCoa.org
Info@TelCoa.org

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