Advancement in ICT has brought about the following changes which have impacted the environment:
Change in Working Styles
*What?* 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. \[ICT and Our Society\]
*Origin* 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.
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
Telecommuting has been greatly motivated and enabled as a result of technologies as follows:
- Personal computer – makes it possible for individuals to work on documents from home.
- Mobile phone – added mobility for workers as it is now possible for them to contact anyone, anywhere.
- Internet – 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.
Broadband -- furthered the feasibility of telecommuting by enabling virtual group collaboration to be possible anyplace, anywhere. \[ICT and Our Society\]
Telecommuting and the Environment
One point which environmentalists have cited in advocation to 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.
2)Change in Lifestyles
From Print to Non-print: