- Telecommuting is consistently mentioned when it comes to increasing worker flexibility, as it has taken its place as a "viable option" and "a tempting perk" among many employers, according to the New York Times.
- The Times article says giving workers more choice and the chance to spend more time with family and cutting out commutes can be a good thing. It also saves money on real estate and means employers can hire talent around the globe.
- However, the Times reports, an academic research study found that the employees who chose to continue working in the office often end up feeling "lonely and disconnected," a somewhat unexpected telecommuting by-product.
Professors from George Mason University and Boston College, whose work appears in latest edition of The Academy of Management Discoveries, studied a Fortune 100 company in Silicon Valley that freely allowed off-site work. Many of the employees who primarily chose "face time" in the office reported doing so for "desired social interaction," but those opportunities were far and few between with so many of their peers choosing to work remotely.
“The office essentially became this isolated wasteland,” Kevin W. Rockmann, an associate management professor at George Mason, told the Times.
According to his study, the work-from-home trend at this specific company became "contagious," as many of those who chose that path really didn't "want or need" to work from home, the Times reports, adding that the research found one manager who said that “in some ways, teamwork no longer existed” at the company.
Rockmann told the Times that the study is not meant to be dissuade telecommuting, but employers should consider the what might happen to team unity, collaboration and other desirable workforce traits. Technology in the form of video chatting can help lessen the negative impact, the Times reports.