Friday, January 18, 2008

More On Those Left Behind

A nice person from the Telework Coalition left this in a comment on my earlier post, but I felt it was so right on, that I wanted to call your attention to it:

Validity of Conclusions in Research Findings Questioned by Telework Coalition

After reviewing the Study “Telecommuting May Harm Workers Left Behind in the Office” conducted by Timothy Golden, associate professor in the Lally School of Management & Technology at Rensselaer, we question the validity of his research and quite frankly are surprised that it was released. Drawing conclusions on a study based on “a couple hundred people from a single company”, may say more about that company’s policies and procedures, or lack thereof, than teleworking. How can anyone perform a study with his only source of data being one medium size company and imply that his conclusions are valid for any other organization?

In 2006 we, The Telework Coalition, conducted a Telework Benchmarking study of 13 large organizations with mature telework programs. In it we asked about the attitudes of those employees who did not telework. Both our study and two previously conducted studies by other organizations in which there were multiple participants showed that the non teleworking coworkers were both enthusiastically supportive and felt teleworking was good for the organization, or at the least, the situation was a non issue.

In Mr. Golden’s study none of the distributed work program’s many benefits are measured, compared, or contrasted with the grumblings from 'those left behind'. We have seen more employers concerned with transit strikes, the possibility of a bird flu pandemic, terrorism, recruiting and retention issues, rising gas prices, faltering transportation infrastructures, the environment, etc. than the negatives alluded to by Mr. Golden.

Were there no positives in this company’s telework program? Was there top-level support, written policies and procedures, and processes, selection criteria based on the employee and job, a communication plan (so everyone is the “loop”), training, and program evaluation (to identify/resolve any start up issues). Did this company follow these steps?

So many questions, and yet so few answers from Dr. Golden's research.

The Telework Coalition
Washington, DC

To which I say, "Right on!"


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Stella

Chuck Wilsker
President & CEO
The Telework Coalition

Stella Commute said...

No no no no, thank YOU, Chuck. Thanks for all the work you do to get people out of their cars and cubes and into their slippers!