Telework, It works!


I find the idea of telework, astounding! While one could highlight some thoughts in favor of teleworking model, it is also important to think about management of teleworkers, of accountability of teleworkers.What about their privacy and freedom? I would not debate much on this question. I think that teleworkers need to be persons animated by self-commitment, responsible-self, love of work, autonomy, and the search of personal and common good.

I have enjoyed hearing the zoom meeting of Dr.Joy Lopez and Bill Powers on telework. I have also read the article of World at Work by Jim Fickness. Both reflections are among the first to enlighten my thoughts in favor and in disfavor of teleworking. Prior to these work I have a tiny experience in teleworking. I however have been benefiting from the works of some tele-workers when for instance I’m working on my blogs and find a tele-digital worker.These are most of times real persons not robots. They would asking me if I need any help. Some have even send me messages or calling me for a follow-up on this or that application I made on internet. I was sometimes trilled by their availability and their welcoming spirit.Most of these people do not have formal offices. They are freelancers working from their homes. Moreover I enjoyed some flashes of tele-working in Rwanda, my native country. Tele-working in Rwanda is still rudimentary, but administrative such as Irembo which help local people to upload and send administrative documents online, instead of going to established administrative offices are doing the same jobs of telework. Many people have found their problem solved just in few hours, and without crossing miles and mountains to reach to administrators. Another example applies to my personal job in Rwanda. Some days I was obliged to do telework without knowing it! I was sending bills to my accountant through a smart phone when the accountant was unable to attend the office due to a terrible rainy seasons. With the office laptop taken at her home,She would do the financial reports and we send projects just by working from homes.That shows me that telework can work, even with some difficulty of internet connection.

The reading in teleworking has let more articulated ideas, balancing its pros and cons. While the roots of teleworking could be traced many centuries ago, I think it will increase with the incidence of the rising of fast internet connections and the development of technological tools. Why should one be bothered of travelling everyday to work with many hours of in traffic jams and difficulties of finding parking lots in megacities of Johannesburg and Nairobi, to name just few of the most terribly congested cities of the world, when there are possibilities to work and send reports online just from home or from the neighborhood’s telecentre? The choice is pretty rational.And always it will pay. The post-modern worker would hardly resist the hot waves of liberalisation. Of course not everybody would embrace teleworking as another and rational choice of being employed, but everyone would see the advantages it may offer, in spite of the comfort in some conventional offices, in spite of being away from the manager, – but digitally productive.Of course not every works could enjoy to be teleworked. Being at the site of construction to raise up some walls would not be teleworked. But there are plenty of works which could be teleworked. If telemedicine works, if e-learning works, if videoconference works, if tele-marketing works, if tele-vision works; these are not less works, telework works.

I would assert with the proponents of teleworking on the fact that teleworking reduces stress accumulated by intense works, transport, and sometimes unsafe places of work. And no one would enjoy nowadays a work that gives him/her opportunities that refuse him or her to be with her/his family, to be far from his/her friends and relatives. Everyone needs a job, yes, but a job for life, for flourishing. Perhaps teleworking would conciliate both quests.

Telework, in my opinion, offers flexible workspace, either at home or to other appropriate place like tele-centers. I would like to highlight some of its benefits. (1) Ecology. Telework could contribute in reduction of Carbone footprints. (2) Economy. Telework would enhance savings by reducing the cost of individual or public transport. (3) Health. Telework could help manage fatigue as one work at home or in the neighborhood. (4) Social justice. Telework could recruit disabled individuals who may be incapable to cross distance but can work from their homes. (5) Productivity and efficiency. A teleworker could work more hours than a conventional worker. Being at home or in the neighbourhood of the telework place offers large room to be at work many hours, what can increase productivity.
However, a teleworker could face many challenges, such as distractions and inevitable emergencies at home. In very communitarian cultures as in Africa, it would be rude to tell somebody that you are at home but too busy to welcome a guest. Being at home equates to being available for the guests whenever they enter under your roof, and cooking and sharing with them meals and drinks, and talking to them. How would one conciliate these big or small talks in families and paid services? How could one avoid these when one stay at the same time at home and the telework place. How would a teleworker manage that tension? How do would measure telework productivity Vs conventional productivity. These are some of the questions which experts in telework need to answer, so that telework become more and more a policy that may help people flourish.

References:
– https://www.worldatwork.org/docs/benefits-focus/2014/01-13-2014/the-411-on-telework-technology.html

– Dr Joy Lopez, Bill Powers. Zoom Meeting. https://usfca.zoom.us/recording/play/N2DFYeHUJMV3__0o7DWDWDJ4HsacKL0IHt1zfwkEPj-_YdAzAk9_NsdW-RllDjT_
– Eric Pilgrim,Fort Knox News, April 24, 2019. https://www.army.mil/article/220798/need_to_know_what_are_the_inner_workings_of_telework

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