Social-Justice Issues

(original study guide)
Study Guide


    Telecommuting as defined by the General Services Administration, of the U.S. government, is work that occurs outside the traditional office space. This definition is given in general terms and has evolved over the years from working at home through the use of a dial-up internet connection, to what it is today. It is now possible to connect to a work site over a broadband internet connection and seamlessly integrate as though you were sitting in an actual office. With the advances in technology it is not only possible to respond to emails and do other necessary tasks remotely, but also phone communication can be fully integrated with the use of voice over IP (VoIP).

    • What issues can be resolved through telecommuting, for both employees and employers?
    • What roadblocks must be overcome in order to reach general acceptance of telecommuting as a viable alternative to the traditional workplace?
    • What circumstances warrant further investigation into telecommuting opportunities for employees to perform job responsibilities remotely?


    Certain jobs lend themselves more readily to telecommuting; they include any position that does not require face-to-face interactions with colleagues and/or clients. These individuals would see obvious savings when it comes to their time, by avoiding the daily commute to and from work. Also, with the increased cost in gasoline, there are benefits that would also be seen from a monetary angle. Employers can also benefit from telecommuting, since if they employ full-time telecommuters; no office space is required for the individual. There is also benefit in the reduction in stress that comes through the added flexibility that telecommuting can provide. For those that are not willing to commit to a full-time situation, employers can agree to a couple of days per week arrangement. In such an arrangement the employee is available onsite when necessary, but still has some added flexibility and cost savings, which can help to increase productivity.

    • What positions work best with telecommuting?
    • What benefits will be seen by both employer and employee?


    With the advantages, also come disadvantages. In many jobs some form of face-to-face interaction is required. This makes it difficult to look at telecommuting on a full-time basis as a viable solution. However, in these situations, it is important to look at the many different arrangements that can be made that still allow some telecommuting, but also meet the necessary face-to-face responsibilities that an employee may have. Additional concerns may include how to go about measuring an employee’s performance in a telecommuting situation, or how to gauge the level of productivity in this type of environment. There are also challenges that an employee faces in a telecommuting arrangement. One such challenge is determining where the work day stops, and home life can begin. Another is ensuring an appropriate work environment that is free of distractions, so that the quality of work is not reduced.

    • What methods should be used to gauge employee productivity in a telecommuting environment?
    • What arrangements must be made in order to ensure that normal work interactions do not suffer?
    • What limits must be in place to ensure that success is found in a telecommuting environment?

    Security Concerns

    With the advances that the Internet has brought to telecommuting, a new concern arises, that of security. Information, both personal and corporate in nature travels over many devices to reach its destination. In the event that this should fall into the wrong hands, it could prove harmful.

    • What are some things that employees and employers should do to protect their information?
    • What measures must be taken to avoid compromise of security systems that may already be in place?
    • When home access is allowed, what guidelines should be set for family members of the employee?