Perceptions and Expectations: Why People Choose a Telecommuting Work Style

Gregory K. Stephens and Bernadette Szajna
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 3, Number 1, Fall 1998, pp. 70.

Abstract: Telecommuting, the substitution of information technology capabilities for presence at a central work location, creates a host of opportunities and challenges for managers and workers in organizations. The authors used a longitudinal case study of the proposal and adoption of a telecommuting program to explore the motives that underlie the decision to telecommute. Twenty-six interviews were conducted with employees who were being given the opportunity to take part in the telecommuting program of an organization. The purpose of the investigation was to understand the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting from the worker’s perspective.

A decision to telecommute or not to telecommute is highly individualized, but, regardless of the ultimate decision, employees had to consider common issues. Motivations to telecommute were both instrumental and affective. They included: the relaxed atmosphere at home, cost savings, more time to spend with family, lack of a commute, and avoidance of office politics. Motivations to stay at the office were also instrumental and affective, including the need for social interaction, career visibility, need for direct supervision, and the desire to separate home and work life.

Key Words and Phrases
: Career management, telecommuting.