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Evolution of telecommuting

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In this dissertation, we have attempted to bring out crucial factors that have contributed to the success of telework as a work practice specifically in electronic business to consumer (B2C) context.
Teleworking has become possible recently due to increased affordability and availability of suitable technology coupled with a need to tap specific talent and widen the labor base without compromising, rather significantly improving the output of the organization. For this dissertation, the research was conducted within specific limitations of full-time employees conducting e-business operations using information technology working away from the conventional workplace. It was also ascertained as to which personality types preferred to telework, why they preferred to do so and how the organization derived maximum benefit from their individual traits by providing them with suitable business programs and necessary technology.
Discussions with individuals at various levels in an organization and also between organizations were held for good understanding of the behavior of management and employees, as well as ascertain the dynamics of successful teleworking. The research also included the scope of technology, economy, communication, training, organizational structure, and personal issues as reasons for such success.
The research interviews to ascertain the success of teleworking brought out seven fundamental reasons for teleworking which included individual personality, the satisfaction of employees’ personal needs, the fulfillment of organizational culture, nature of work, commercialism, spread and success of e-business and information-based economy. The study also brought out that developing customer relationship management, having the right technology and user/client acceptance were the most important success factors for both management and employees. However, the suitability of individuals to telework increased level of experience in the organization, motivational talks/ training, and the Internet, was of low importance for the employees and management respectively.
However, while in countries like Hong Kong, China or Singapore, centralized power structures predominate, in the USA or Australia participative structure is encouraged. Hence, the study cannot be uniformly applied to all regions of the world. Another predicament of the study is its limitation to only management and employees of the insurance sector and not that of users/clients of teleworking as such.
Further research is necessitated with other companies incorporating telework in its business across the world and a follow-up study to include users’ or clients’ perspectives. These perspectives too have a considerable share in such successes and failures. Also, future research to explore unsuccessful cases of telework in B2C and other contexts would also be necessary to ascertain genuine and specific success probability of telework over conventional workplace across the spectrum.

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