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Change in Working Styles

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Telecommuting:

Wiki Markup

Telecommuting

refers

to

working

from

home

using

ICT

such

as

phone,

fax

and

computer,

to

electronically

connect

themselves

to

their

offices

during

normal

organizational

working

hours.

The

location

of

work

is

usually

the

home

but

there

are

also

mobile

offices

where

workers

travel

to

a

satellite

office

which

are

located

nearer

to

the

homes.

Telecommuting

therefore

replaces

commuting

by

rail,

car

or

other

transport.

\[ICT and Our Society\]

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Origin

Wiki Markup

The

term

telecommuting

was

first

used

by

the

Center

for

Futures

Research

at

the

University

of

Southern

California,

to

describe

a

geographically

dispersed

office

where

workers

can

work

at

home

on

a

computer,

and

transmit

data

and

documents

to

a

central

office

via

a

telephone

line.

\[ICT and Our Society\]

Telecommuting was initially intended to extend the working day and also to maintain a better work-life balance.

Telecommuting has been greatly
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Trend of Telecommuting:

Due to rapidly evolving ICT, companies in the more information-saavy countries, such as the United States, are considering telecommuting as a means to achieve greater corporate benefits, such as:

  • Reducing amount of office space and thus gaining tax incentives
  • Increased productivity
  • Better retention of workers due to greater flexibility in working hours
  • Improved employee moral and hence reduced sick time leading to better productivity

There is an increasing trend in telecommuting especially in information-saavy countries. Telecommuting has been motivated and enabled as a result of information and communications technologies

as follows:

(ICT) that have materialized, as meted out in the table below:

Technology

Impact/Influence

Personal computer

- makes

  • Makes it possible for individuals to work on documents from home.

Mobile phone

- added

  • Added mobility for workers as it is now possible for them to contact anyone, anywhere.

Internet

- generated

  • Generated the deepest impact, as it allows two-way communication between employers and workers through communication tools such as electronic-mail and instant messaging softwares eg. Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo!Messenger, QQ.
Wiki MarkupBroadband - furthered the feasibility of telecommuting by enabling virtual group collaboration to be possible anyplace, anywhere. \[ICT and Our Society\]

Broadband

  • Furthered the feasibility of telecommuting by enabling virtual group collaboration to be possible anyplace, anywhere.

Companies who consider telecommuting view it as a means to achieve greater corporate benefits, such as:

  • Reducing amount of office space and thus gaining tax incentives
  • Increased productivity
  • Better retention of workers due to greater flexibility in working hours
  • Improved employee moral and hence reduced sick time leading to better productivity
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Telecommuting and the Environment

One point which environmentalists have cited in advocation towards telecommuting is the benefits it could have in easing traffic congestion and hence reduce air pollution. Although this point has not been greatly evidenced, a June 2008 report by The Climate Group on behalf of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI) has studied the positive externalities that telecommuting could have in fighting Climate Change.

Potential Benefits:
Telecommuting could generate up to 260 MtCO2e savings each year. In the United States, given that 30 million people could work from home, carbon gas emissions could be reduced by

Environmentalists have been advocates of telecommuting as the new way to work because of the belief that Telecommuting has an inclination to reduce pressures on the environment. It is reasoned that telecommuting would minimize traffic congestion and also reduce the amount of fuel consumption attributed to travelling.

In a June 2008 report that is conducted by The Climate group on behalf of the Global eSustainability Initiative (GeSI), the Telecommuting concept has been probed into for its potential as yet another means to save the Earth. In the research, US and UK, two leader countries in the world, have been selected for case study.

In US, the percentage of Americans who telecommute in 2005 stood at 1-2%. The report analysed that suppose 3 million Americans chose to telework, there would be reductions in road usage that translate to a drop in fossil fuel consumption, thereby constituting a consequent carbon gas reductions of 75-100 MtCO2e in 2030.

However, the report also highlighted that the

effect of which is comparable to likely reductions gotten from measures such as fuel efficient vehicles.
The June 2008 report also presented the analysis that suppose a significant number of employees telecommute for more than three days a week, it could bring about energy savings of 20-50%, even with greater use of energy at home.In a study conducted by

impact of telecommuting would vary according to the number of days each teleworker spends on telecommuting. In UK, although the UK Department of Transport

, it has been found

study states that telecommuting

reduces car travelling by UK telecommuters by 48-77%, representing reductions in fuel required for transport.

2)Change in Lifestyles

The constant innovations of both existing and new information and communications technology have brought about the information age where the personal living of people in countries with good IT infrastructure is more than ever closely knitted to ICT. The following table presents the various forms of transitions, primarily from 'offline' to 'online' or from print to non-print:

Transitions

Past

Present

Impact

Reading Newspapers                                  

Reading news online
eg. BBC, MSN, Yahoo, Reuters

Writing diaries in books

Writing diaries on blogs
eg. MySpace, Wretch, Blogspot, Wordpress, Diaryland

Manual purchase of goods from shops

Online Shopping
eg. E-bays, E-auctions, Commodities websites

Manual banking, billing

Internet banking, online billing at Government websites, Self-Service Automated Machine
eg. SAM machine in Singapore which provides a variety of 24-hour services ranging from telecommunications, billing, postal to ticketing. http://www.singpost.com.sg/sam/sam_services.htm

Impact on Environment:

  • Reduces paper usage, thus reducing need to process wood pulp which consumes great amount of energy
  • Reduces need for travel - uses less fuel for transportation - reduces amount of greenhouse gases emissions

3)Change in Teaching Styles

  • E-learning in schools eg. Singapore, USA, UK
  • Multimedia softwares/Cd-roms to replace classroom teaching
  • Use of Smart Boards instead of conventional marker boards/chalkboards
  • Online submissions of students' assignments through school portals/platforms eg. NUS- IVLE

Impact on Environment:

  • Reduces paper wastage
  • Reduces resources to make boards
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by its citizens has resulted in the decline of 48-77% of travelling by car, the report explains that the figures might not necessarily bring about a genuine fall in the amount of carbon gas emitted if each citizen only teleworked less than three days in a week, while the other days are spent in the office.

Telecommuting was concluded as having the potential to save on the Earth's resources, but the extent to which it is effective would depend largely on its adoption in each country. Even though the impacts at the moment might not be as significant as other measures, telecommuting remains a plausible concept to be further explored and leveraged on to mitigate Climate Change.

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...

References

...

  1. Yeo,G.K.,Oh,B.B.(2008).ICT and Our Society.(4th Ed.). Singapore:McGraw-Hill.
  2. GeSI.(2008). REPORT:SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age Retrieved on 13 November, 2008 from http://www.gesi.org/index.php?article_id=36