Flexible Work Arrangements and Telecommuting Risks

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 3
Words: 586
Reading time:
2 min

Flexible work arrangements can trigger a risk of potential burnout. For instance, employees who work under this arrangement have to deal with compressed work hours, which might result in complete burnout due to long working times for successive days without rest. In reality, burnout is associated with slowed productivity since it makes the employees susceptible to inaccuracy errors, unable to concentrate on assigned tasks, and behave moody towards other team members. The flexible work arrangement interferes with the social aspects of an employee’s life. For instance, a nursing mother might not get adequate time for childcare.

The unavailability during scheduled hours due to child care needs results in the compilation of work or reduced productivity. Moreover, a scheduled work arrangement exposes an employee to external and internal perceptions. Although the worker is aware or even comfortable with a compressed work schedule, the families, co-workers, and friends may not be familiar with this arrangement. The employee can be subjected to ridicule from friends and family members about the nature of his or her job. On the other hand, co-workers may get jealous if they are denied the same arrangements. In the end, employees under flexible work arrangements experience stress due to friction between co-workers and family members.

Employees under a flexible work environment, especially when working away from the company, have to set up a home office. This office requires computers and a connection to a company’s intranet to be able to access files relevant to completing work schedules. This arrangement incurs extra costs since the IT department has to carry out the setup. In addition, the cost of teleconferencing for virtual employees may not be sustainable, especially when many workers execute their tasks under the scheduled arrangement. Lastly, a flexible work schedule is associated with availability concerns in addressing the needs of an organization that falls outside the compressed schedule.

The telecommuting arrangement has the demerit of decreasing human interaction among co-workers. This means that employees of an organization are not able to create strong bonds through direct socialization. It is almost impossible to form sustainable relationships via phone calls, e-mails, and video conferencing. For an organization to be holistic, employees should be encouraged to form inter-and interpersonal relationships that build on trust and teamwork. Under the telecommuting arrangement, the virtual world is weak and cannot address the interactive needs of the employees.

Unregulated telecommuting has a negative impact of blurring the personal and work life of the employees. For instance, working from home reduces the magnitude of direct interaction, and an employee might not be in a position to smoothly transition from work-life to social life. They are specifically balancing the ‘off-the-clock’ and ‘on-the-clock hours’ present a cycle of confusion to the employee. Since the home environment doubles up as the workstation, the temptation of mixing social and work life becomes a distraction in executing duties.

Lastly, the telecommuting arrangement presents a challenge in the actual demonstration of a workload. For instance, a telecommuter working in a traditional company is perceived by the office-based workers as contributing less to the organization. These perceptions could be attributed to the dynamic nature of a home office and the flexibility of the working hours. This means that a telecommuter must continuously showcase his or her workload to co-workers or managers to fit in the organization. It is equally difficult to demonstrate the workload due to the virtual nature of a telecommuting environment.