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Telework: Not Business as Usual

Author: Yvette Blount

Telework is not ‘business as usual’ for many organisations. Organisations need to develop a business case for adopting telework programs that will provide a competitive advantage.

Conceptualising telework by incorporating the human resource elements (eg. job design, management, how to measure productivity), the socio-technical elements (how the technology infrastructure and the social systems evolve together) and the service quality elements (what are the implications for customers) can provide guidance for managers in how to adopt sustainable telework programs that provide competitive advantage.

Hence, there is a need to develop conceptual frameworks to guide Government policy makers and managers in organisations (SMEs, not for profit and large organisations) on how to adopt telework so that telework is sustainable, service quality (customer service) is maintained or exceeded and telework contributes to an organisations bottom line.

The components of the conceptual framework are examined in this article by considering the potential technical, human resource management and service quality issues that inhibit or support managers and employees in adopting sustainable telework programs. Findings from qualitative case studies illustrate the issues and limitations of telework programs in a not for profit and in a large multi-national organisation. The study provides some potential solutions to overcoming the perceived limitations and suggests areas for future research.