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Telecommuting, a workplace phenomenon that stems from organisational embrace of new technology, enables employees to maintain a work-life balance by working from home (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). However, the impact that these ‘mobile’ work arrangements have for interpersonal communication with colleagues in the workplace have been questioned. Studies have found that telecommuting places a strain on the quality of interpersonal relationships amongst co-workers due to the nature of their non face-to-face interactions (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). Thomson and Covert (2007) advise employers to act cautiously when choosing employees that should have access to remote network access, as the negative impacts that telecommuting can have for teamwork are significant. Their research findings suggest that organisations that use telecommuting for complex tasks and projects, should consider using alternative means of communication such as face-to-face methods to increase clarity and overall employee job satisfaction (Thomson & Covert, 2007). If face-to-face communication is not physically possible, they encourage the use of face-to-face video conferencing as another more viable option (Thomson & Covert, 2007). This demonstrates that by utilising different forms of new technology, that are not purely text based like email, organisations can have the capacity to increase productiveness at work and maintain interpersonal connections amongst their colleagues.

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  1. Gajendran, R., & Harrison, D. (2007). The good, the bad and the unknown about telecommuting: Meta-analysis of psychological mediators and individual consequences. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(6), 1524-1541.
  2. Thompson, L., & Coovert, M. (2003). Teamwork online: The effects of computer conferencing on perceived confusion, satisfaction and post-discussion accuracy. Journal of Group Dynamics: Theory, Research and Practice, 2, 135-151.

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