Telework: New Technologies, New Ways of Working



A combination of pandemic related work-from-home practices and advances in information technology is shifting the traditional work location for many employees from the office to remote work locations. Full-time telework, where employees can work from anywhere and at any time, is now offered by 37% of organizations (1).


Common advantages of teleworking include:

  • Reduction of corporate office space needs

  • Attending to government regulations such as clear air standards

  • Enhancing employee retention

  • Improving employee recruitment efforts

  • Increased productivity and flexibility

  • Balancing work and personal life

  • Reducing stress

Depending on personal work styles, preferences, and needs, the advantages of teleworking for some could be viewed as disadvantages for others. For example, less social contact with co-workers may affect morale and may lead to less career development.


Common challenges of teleworking include:

  • Lack of social interaction

  • Managing work/life balance

  • Changes in job autonomy

  • Extended work hours

  • Increased workload

  • Absence of mentoring

Therefore, implementing a macroergonomics work systems conceptual model of telework is important to ensure a healthy work environment at the organizational, group, and individual levels. Some elements to consider when creating telework programs include: establishing formal defined policies, securing commitment from senior managers, providing IT support and maintenance, integrating Human Resource considerations and training, and improving ergonomic workstation set-up.


Telework is just one topic of many to be discussed in the field of macroergonomics. To learn more about systems design and macroergonomics, including the future of telework and planning for the implementation of telework programs, sign up for our upcoming course ERG150 - Macroergonomics: A Systems Approach to Human Factors and Ergonomics (HF/E), led by Michelle Robertson, PhD, CPE.


Learn more & register here: https://www.coeh.berkeley.edu/erg150


The Online HF/E Program is open to the public and does not require admission to UC Berkeley. Program Website: https://www.coeh.berkeley.edu/ergonline




Sources:

(1.) WorldatWork. (2011, Feb.). Survey on workplace flexibility. Scottsdale, AZ: Author. http://www.worldatwork.org/waw/adimLink?id=48160.