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QUEEN MARGARET UNIVERSITY

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND MANAGEMENT

MBA Dissertation

"Working from Home a Social Phenomenon An investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based
Tele-working"

By
BINNIES P. CHACKO

Matriculation Number: 09005939


9th September 2011

"Working from Home a Social Phenomenon An investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based
Tele-working"

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I like to acknowledge my gratitude to my Supervisor Ms Majella Sweeney for her guidance
and feedback throughout the research and Mr. Mike Pretious for his support.
I wish to appreciate and thank all the research participants who contributed towards the
completion for this research
I want to thank my parents Rev P.A. Chacko and Mrs Aleyamma Chacko for their prayerful
support and my sisters Grace and Glory who have been a constant encouragement.

ABSTRACT

Tele-working and the role of technology in the success and development of working
from home initiative is the area of research. Though Tele-working is cost effective and
improves the productivity and employee satisfaction there is sluggishness in the embracement
of the initiative. The research focuses on how the Technology plays a vital role especially the
role of wireless technology in the success of Tele-working.
Management issues are included in the study to comprehend the pros and cons of the
management perceptions and the change needed for the effectiveness of Tele-work
implementation. Requirement of effectual policies and procedures are discussed as well as the
job description with detailed description of roles and responsibilities which will contribute in
the productivity and will help in identifying the Tele-workers boundaries and expectations.
Researcher has used the mixed method of research approach in order to achieve the realistic
outcomes that will appropriate findings. Survey questionnaires are used to gather the research
data and are quantified to analyse the quantitative data. Also the semi structured interview
was conducted with Tele-working team leaders to absorb the understanding of management
challenges and effectiveness of Tele-working within the spectrum of their experiences.
Tele-work is the future of employment, however not all the jobs can be performed by
working from home but a great number of jobs can be performed from home or a remote
location thus help coping with the challenges of Socio-Ecological predicaments. Also Teleworking can be a great social tool in combating the natural disasters and emergency
situations. There are still further areas of research identified.

Table of Contents

COVER PAGE
TITLE
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
ABSTRACT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES
LIST OF FIGURE
LIST OF ABBREVIATION

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 RESEARCH FRAMEWORK
1.2 RESEARCH RATIONAL
1.3 AIMS & OBJECTIVES OF THIS RESEARCH
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 OUTLINES OF THIS RESEARCH STUDY

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW


2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 BACKGROUND TO TELE-WORKING APPROACH
2.3 TELE-WORKING
2.4 TELE-WORKING AND TECHNOLOGY
2.4.1 INTERNET
2.4.2 REMOTE ACCESS
2.4.3 MOBILE TECHNOLOGY
2.4.4 RECENT TECHNOLOGIES
2.4.4.1 DESKTOP VIRTUALIZATION
2.4.4.2 CLOUD COMPUTING
2.5 TELE-WORKING AS AN EMERGENCY ALTERNATE
2.6 RISING FIGURES OF TELE-WORKERS IN UNITED KINGDOM
2.7 TELE-WORKING AND PERSONAL LIFE BALANCE
2.8 TELE-WORKING AND MANAGEMENT
2.9 OBSTACLES IN TELE-WORKING INITIATIVE
2.10 ADVANTAGES OF TELE-WORKING
2.10.1 ADVANTAGES FROM THE TELE-WORKERS STANDPOINT
2.10.2 DISADVANTAGES FROM THE TELE-WORKERS STANDPOINT
2.10.3 ADVANTAGES FROM THE BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS STANDPOINT
2.10.4 DISADVANTAGES FROM THE BUSINESS ORGANISATIONS STANDPOINT
2.11 CONCLUSION

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY


3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 RESEARCH PARADIGMS
3.3 QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.3.1 STRENGTH AND LIMITATIONS OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS
3.4 QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.4.1 STRENGTH AND LIMITATIONS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS
3.5 RATIONAL FOR ADOPTING THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.6 RESEARCH METHODS
3.7 PRIMARY DATA
3.7.1 SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE
3.7.2 SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEW
3.8 SECONDARY DATA
3.9 CONCLUSION

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CHAPTER 4 FINDINGS AND DISCUSSIONS


4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 RESEARCH POPULATION AT A GLANCE
4.3 ANALYSIS OF SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES
4.4 SEMI-STRUCTURED INTERVIEW
4.4.1 ANALYSIS OF SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW
4.4.2 DISCUSSION OF THE SEMI STRUCTURE INTERVIEW
4.5 CONCLUSION

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS


5.1 THE FUTURE TELE-WORKING
5.2 TELE-WORKING AND THE IMPEDIMENTS
5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
5.4 CONCLUSION

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CHAPTER 6 REFERENCES
APPENDICES
APPENDIX A1 LETTER FOR SURVEY PARTICIPANTS
APPENDIX A2 QUESTIONNIAIRE CONSOLIDATED RESULTS
APPENDIX B- SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW LETTERS TO INTERVIEWEES
APPENDIX B-1 INTERVIEW RESPONSE ON INTERVIEWEE A
APPENDIX B-2 INTERVIEW RESPONSE ON INTERVIEWEE B

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TABLES AND FIGURES


Table 4.1: Number of Responses from Survey Questionnaire
Table 4.2: Respondents of the Survey (Male Female Participation)
Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (A)
Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (B)
Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (C)
Table 4.4.1: Tele-working Experience - Gender based Comparison
Table 4.4.2: Availability of Internet access
Table 4.4.3: Internet connections used by Tele-workers
Table 4.4.4: Devices used for Tele-working
Table 4.4.5: Preferred Programs used by Tele-workers for communication
Table 4.4.6: Programmes for accessing and transferring the files
Table 4.4.7: Tele-Working and Tele-workers productivity
Table 4.4.8: Tele-working and Job satisfaction
Table 4.9: Adaptation and transition from one technology to the advanced technology
Table 4.10: Wireless Technology and Tele-working
Table 4.11: Willingness to Tele-work in future
Table 4.12: Tele-working and interference with personal Life
Table 4.13: Tele-working and Personal Life
Table 4.14: Tele-working and opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work
Table 4.15: Flexibility and Autonomy in Tele-working

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Figure 2 (a): Virtual Office Connectivity, Tele-working and Technology


Figure 2 (b): Desktop Virtualization
Figure 2 (c): Cloud Computing
Figure 2 (d): Rising figures of Tele-workers in United Kingdom
Figure 2 (e): Advantages and Disadvantages from the Tele-workers standpoint
Figure 2 (f): Advantages and Disadvantages from the Business Organisations standpoint

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Figure 4.2 - Respondents of the Survey (Male Female Participation)


Figure 4.4.1- Tele-working Experience - Gender based Comparison
Figure 4.4.2: Availability of Internet access
Figure 4.4.3: Internet connections used by Tele-workers
Figure 4.4.4: Devices used for Tele-working
Figure 4.4.5: Preferred Programs used by Tele-workers for communication
Figure 4.4.6: Programmes for accessing and transferring the files
Figure 4.4.7: Tele-Working and Tele-workers productivity
Figure 4.4.8: Tele-working and Job satisfaction
Figure 4.9: Adaptation & transition from one technology to the advanced technology
Figure 4.10: Wireless Technology and Tele-working
Figure 4.11: Willingness to Tele-work in future
Figure 4.12: Tele-working and interference with personal Life
Figure 4.13: Tele-working and Personal Life
Figure 4.14: Tele-working and opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work
Figure 4.15: Flexibility and Autonomy in Tele-working

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ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE DISSERTATION

DSL

Digital Subscriber Line

DTI

Department of Trade and Industry

FTP

File Transfer Protocol

ICT

Information and communications technology

ISDN

Integrated Services Digital Network

ISP

Internet Service Provider

ITAC

International Tele-work Association and Council

ONS

Office for National Statistics

SME

Subject Matter Experts

SSL

Secure Sockets Layer

VoIP

Voice over Internet Protocol

VPN

Virtual Private Network

WAN

Wide Area Network

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
Tele-working has been revolutionised by the technological advancement which enables and
facilitates the staff with the flexibility and options of alternative work environments and
possibilities with advanced and improved means of communications and file transfer
protocols. Tele-working is an initiative wherein the staff member works from a remote
location enjoying the flexibility of operational hours and site (Vega 2003). The task is carried
out by the staff by replacing the requirement of travelling by the technological means of
telecommunication and computer with the help of internet connectivity. The use of
Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) is widely seen in Tele-working which
involves the handling of exchange of electronic information in digital format. This makes the
transfer of information and the completed task faster and efficiently with the help of
technological advancement. In this section of the research the researcher will delve into the
details of the history of Tele-working, Emergence and the grounds for the implementation of
Tele-working, the transitions Tele-working has come through and also the social change Teleworking has brought through the advancement of the technology. The term Tele-working or
Telecommuting was first used by Jack Nellies in 1973, who is also known as the father of
Tele-working (JALA 2011). Tele-working is also considered to be the Management by
Objectives style of management (Drucker 2007). Therefore it can be said that Tele-work is the
use telecommunication and internet enabled devices in order eliminate the travelling involved
to accomplish the work (Nillies 1998).
This initiative is highly cost effective and has proved to be very effectual in increasing the
productivity of the staff, enhances staff contentment and staff retention. It causes a great and

steady diminution in the sick leaves among the Tele-working staffs (PRNewswire 2011).
Since the travelling is reduced Tele-work helps in reducing the environmental impacts caused
by the carbon emissions (Stuart 2008). A great amount of increase is witnessed in the field of
Tele-working in the past few decades (Smith 2011). There are many factors that have caused
the rise to the Tele-working trend among the professionals. The availability of technologically
advanced equipments that is available at affordable prices. Availability of communication
systems and technologies which are free or very affordable, mobile technologies that allows
the professionals to work while on the move and the flexibility and change in the management
style has contributed to the appreciation of the Tele-workers. Working from home or Teleworking also reduces or eliminates the requirement of the journey thus reducing the risk of
pollution and congestion. Studying the possibilities of working from home or the remote
places is an advantage for the people working mainly in the sector of Information
Technology. Hence the possibility of Tele-working can be attributed to the technological
advancement made available by the enhancement in the fields of telecommunications and the
internet technologies have made this an absolute possibility.

1.1 Research Framework


Working from Home or Tele-working has been carefully reviewed and examined in the real
operational situations and has been found to be positive in many senses. There has been many
technological advances that has made Tele-working more effective such as the Virtual Private
Networks (VPN), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Internet, Intranet, Voice Over Protocol
(VOIP), Video Conferencing, Voice Chat and text chatting that helps the organization to get
connected with Tele-workers in the remote location virtually. Concerns that gave thought to

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this alternative working initiative were a list of factors such as environmental and ecological
reasons, infrastructural reasons, cost effectiveness, decentralisation of operations, flexibility
working conditions and off shoring etc.

Tele-working cannot be generalised to all the

occupation and professions as the not all the tasks can be performed from remote location
hence this pattern is viable for those who are engaged with responsibilities which involves
analysis of data, writing and reviewing of documents, grants, proposals, reports, regulations,
course planning; roles of customer or project support through telephones, chats and emails
and computer based jobs such as software programming, designing, word processing etc.

1.2 Research Rational


The researchers intension is to underpin the part played by the technological and its
advancement in the expansion and successful increase of Tele-working. Also to understand
the changing trend of working from remote location and how this trend is socially being
accepted and the change in the management approaches and the policies adopted by the
organisations that leads to the successful implementation of working from home initiative. A
research survey is intended to be organised in Spitfire Studios in London. The offices in the
Spitfire studios office complex include diverse operational businesses that primarily require
Technology for the accomplishment of the projects or the assignments. A questionnaire is
designed to get the responses from the research participants that draws the conclusion and
directs to the aims and objectives of the research. Semi structured Interviews are also planned
with the managers of two companies to understand the underlying technical, operational and
management aspects of Tele-working.

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1.3 Aims & Objectives of this Research


1. To evaluate and analyse the implications of Technology in the expansion and
advancement of the home based Tele-working.
2. To analyse the role of wireless technology in the success of Tele-working
3. To investigate the implication of management issues with the Tele-workers in terms of
Supervision and appraisal.

1.4 Research Questions


1. Does Technology have a role in the advancement of the home based Tele-working?
2. In what ways the wireless technology has proven to be an advantage for the Teleworking?
3. What are means of resolving the management challenges in relation to the Teleworkers?

1.5 Outlines of this Research Study


The research is organised in the following structures as follows;
Chapter 1 deals with the Introduction of the research wherein the researcher discusses the
research topic and states the aims and objectives of the research and also posts the research
questions that is aimed to conclude this research with the findings. A brief framework of the
research is provided along with the research rational.

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Chapter 2 deals with the critical review of the available literature on the different aspects of
the Tele-working in order to understand the previous researched made under this topic. The
works reviewed include the published books on Tele-working, articles published in journals,
news articles and reports of the companies that have adopted Tele-working and work from
home option.
Chapter 3: In chapter 3 the researcher discusses the methodology adopted to undertake and
research and also the various paradigms and approaches are examined. Methods of data
collection are explained by highlighting the sample research population, reliability and
validity of the data is discussed. Researcher also explains the reason of selecting the
methodology.
Chapter 4: This chapter informs the findings and discussions of the research. All the collected
data from research survey is converted into quantitative data and is represented in graphical
format. The presentation and analysis of the collected data is presented here with the help of
tables and graphs. The results of the semi structured interview is also analysed and compared
to get the outcome of the interview.
Chapter 5: deals with the research outcome and the synthesis of the findings from reviewed
literature and the survey and semi structured interview. Researcher also recommends the
possible areas of research.

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CHAPTER 2
Literature Review

2.1

Introduction

In this chapter researcher presents a critical review of the collected literature published by
subject experts, text books of academicians, the research papers by the researchers, and
journal articles by experts and critics on the topic of working from home a social
phenomenon, an investigation into the role of Technology to the success of home-based Teleworking. News articles were also reviewed to see the changing trends and the impact of
Technology in the expansions and developments in Tele-working. The Literature review will
look into the functionality of Tele-working, responses of Tele-workers and the Organizations,
Technological advancements, governments initiative and involvement in the development of
Tele-working. The review of the literature will narrate to the research aims & objectives and
the formulated research questions in chapter 1 by analysing the impact wireless technology in
the growth of Tele-commuting and the management challenges of supervision and appraisal.
The researcher discusses the term of Tele-worker and Tele-commuting and also discusses the
definition and explores the various aspects and areas of Tele-working and the Technologies
exclusively used by the individuals while working from home or a remote location. The
researcher also reviews the literature to explore the management issues with the supervision
and the apprehensions of the management and the Tele-workers and also investigated into the
emotional and career balance of the Tele-workers.

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2.2

Background to Tele-working Approach

Tele-work practice has been operational for last 5 decades however there is still no particular
definition laid for the term Tele-work or Tele-working. A general understanding about the
Tele-work is an initiative wherein the worker accomplishes his or her task from their homes
or a remote location (Beasley 2000). Jack Nellies who is also called the father of
Telecommuting is the one who first used the term Tele-work and Telecommuting,
according to him substituting the need of travelling for work with IT and Telecommunication
devices (Ellison 2003). Tele-working in UK was first witnessed during 60s when Freelance
International started the freelance project of software programming; chiefly women Teleworkers were the working from home (Korte and Wynne 1996). Many of the Tele-working
pilots and initiative were taken by big corporations and business organizations. In 1979 the
Telecom Department of France successfully experiment Tele-working (Monod 1983) and
IBM experimented with allowing their employees to work from home (Olsen 1985). These
initiatives from the major corporation motivated many other business organizations and
corporations to start Tele-working experimentation within their operations.

The 80s saw the beginning of acceleration in the Tele-working initiative in Europe however
the researchers saw it as an era of testing with uncertainty (Johnston 1994). There were
prominent companies that decisively started to experiment the Tel-work operation within their
businesses. In 1981 there were eleven companies that introduced Tele-working as part of their
operational strategy (Pratt 1983) and Xeroxs United Kingdom operation initiated the Teleworking pilot project in 1982. The other sector that experimented with Tele-working initiative
was the Banking and Insurance sector (Kelly 1984, pp. 48). Department of Trade and Industry

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piloted a project for disabled people to work from home using a microcomputer which
became a big success, this initiative was later taken over by Manpower Services Commission
(Korte and Wynne 1996)

2.3

Tele-working

Tele-working was the term first introduced by Jack Nellies in 1973 (JALA), Nellies has
differentiated Tele-working and Telecommuting differently by defining the two terminologies
which gives us a clear understanding of the usage as well as it help us in the research ahead.
There are many other words suggestively used for working away from the traditional work
place. The other words used are: Telecommuting, Flexible Work place, Remote working,
Mobile work,
Definition of Tele-working: Tele-working ANY form of substitution of
information technologies (such as telecommunications and/or computers) for
normal work-related travel; moving the work to the workers instead of moving
the workers to work. (JALA 2011)
Tele-working defines by Cambridge Dictionary [Online]: the activity of
working at home, while communicating with your office by telephone, fax or
computer. (Cambridge 2011)
Definition of Telecommuting: Periodic work out of the principal office, one
or more days per week, either at home, a client's site, or in a Tele-work centre;
the partial or total substitution of information technologies for the commute to
work. The emphasis here is on reduction or elimination of the daily commute to
and from the workplace. Telecommuting is a form of Tele-working. (JALA
2011)
Definition of Flexible Work place: Work practice (explained by the employer
in employment policies and contracts) that allows the employees a certain
degree of freedom in deciding how the work will be done and how they'll
coordinate their schedules with those of other employees. The employer sets
certain limits such as minimum and maximum number of hours of work every

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day, and the core time during which all employees must be present. (Business
Dictionary 2011)
Definition of Mobile Working: the employees those who, perform their work
in multiple locations such as customer sites, company offices, their homes,
vendor offices, planes, and hotels (Richman, Noble, and Johnson, 2002, p.
9).
Definition of Remote Working: the employees those who, perform their work
from home full-time, although they may occasionally go into a company office
(Richman, Noble, and Johnson, 2002, p. 9)

Tele-work is substituting the need of travelling to and from the office for accomplishing the
assigned work rather completing the task from home or a remote location using the
technological devices and tools. Tele-working is the flexibility given by the employer to work
from a location different from the operational office with the help of technical tools and the
access to the required information online. This is what gives liberty to the Tele-worker to
function as virtually in the office when the individual has access to the secured areas as other
employees.

2.4

Tele-working and Technology

There are many technologies found as contributing to the development and widened
possibilities which made the Tele-working a possibility. Some of the prominent technologies
that always have been referred Virtual Private Network (VPN), Intranet, Wide Area Network
(WAN), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Broadband and Wireless Technology, Smartphone,
Laptop (Ann 2008). These are the important tools and technologies that the Tele-workers
prominently use. The technological advancements that supports the Tele-workers is backed by

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the Information and communications technology that helps individuals to work using the
same platform from different places at different time zones (Jessup and Robey, 2002).
According to Robert Morgan the technological advancement helps in enhancing the smooth
operations of Tele-working by providing the needful access and connectivity to the
individuals beyond the business hours thus allowing the organizations to be competitive and
profitable (Morgan 2004). Availability of the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is instant as
everyone is online thus making the possibility of speedy responses and virtual teams of
experts can be formed to benefit the Tele-workers and the office workers for the consultation
(Furnham 2000). Tele-working by utilising the available advanced technology and the
technological devices can bring about a huge variety of advantages to both the Tele-workers
and the organization by implementing the work from home initiative thus utilising the full
potential the Tele-working has to offer.

2.4.1

Internet: Internet is the network that connects the all the computers around the world

Figure 2 (a): Virtual Office Connectivity, Tele-working and Technology

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connected to the network.


Merriam Webster defines Internet as an electronic communications network
that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities
around the world (Merriam Webster 2011).
There has been a significant improvement in the way internet has been accessed. The changes
from dial up internet connection to DSL and now to broadband connection has seen a drastic
change, wherein Wireless broadband has added a greater impact on the Tele-working as
whole (Athow 2006). Internet is the fundamental layer on which the entire technological
infrastructure is operational thus all the Tele-working operational tools or devices operate on
one technology that is Internet.

2.4.2

Remote Access: Remote access is the term used for the technical capability of a

computer to interact with the networks to exchange information from a remote location or the
capability of accessing the organization's electronic resources from a remote location or home
using the technological devices outside the physical perimeter of the office. This technology
is useful for individuals on the move, Tele-workers and officials from offshore locations who
have the requirement to access information and important files from the main office (Boldwyn
et al 2000). The Tele-workers get the connected to the network of the main office through the
Internet Service Providers network. Traditionally the remote access was established using the
dial up service and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) which with the means of a
wired connection, however with the technological development faster mode of connections
like cable modem, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Wireless technologies.

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2.4.3

Mobile Technology: Mobile Technology as the name suggests is a technology that

can be operated and used on the go. The machines


machines categorised under mobile technologies are
those devices that are portable and wireless and communication technology enabled. These
devices are highly useful for working from home or while on journey. Increasing number of
wireless hot-spots enables the
he individuals wishing to work from remote locations in public
spaces as well. The new technology seen introduced recently is the named Cloud
Computing this enables the individuals to saves their files and reports in the internet space
which can avoid thee carrying of extra storage devices thus helping the Tele
Tele-workers and
workers on the move to be effective (Business Link 2011).

2.4.4 Recent Technologies


2.4.4.1
.4.1 Desktop Virtualization: Desktop Virtualization is the recent development introduced
in the market for the workers on the move which enables the Tele-worker
Tele worker to access the
information from anywhere and anytime with added security features and cost effectiveness
also called as Clientt Virtualization (Lamb 2009, pp 95-97).
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Figure 2 (b): Desktop Virtualization

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The desktop or the client virtualization technology permits the access of virtual system by
authorised users from their personal computers, laptops, or portable devices to the centrally
placed server. The authorised clients might be accessing from the different parts of the world
and can be connected to the centrally located servers by the network connections available to
them such as WAN, LAN or Internet connectivity. This offers high level of flexibility to the
authorised
horised user in accessing the personal desktop and network from any approved device
(Microsoft 2011). This technology works effectively with the wireless technology. According
to Sudhir Verma this new technology Desktop Virtualization - "......
...... offers inc
increased
manageability, enhanced data protection, and new capabilities such as anywhere, anytime
access for Tele-workers,"
," (VMware 2011).

2.4.4.2
.4.2 Cloud Computing: Cloud computing is delivered to the clients as a facility and not
as a product which includes computing, mandatory supporting software, access to data,
storing space etc for which the clients are required to have the operational knowledge of the
Cloud Computing and information of the where about of the hardware
h
(Stevens and Pettey

Figure 2 (c): Cloud Computing

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2008). This is very user friendly as the services are provided to the clients externally through

internet and are operated on the Web Browsers while the main software and the data is saved
on the Server in an offshore location. The Cloud computing offers the data storage and
processing capacity thus becoming a one stop consultation for all the computing requirements
for the clients (Weiss 2007). The use of Cloud computing is highly encouraged by the
corporations as this reduces the cost of IT infrastructure and enabling them to use the
advanced infrastructure at a comparatively low cost (Boardman 2011). This technology offers
flexibility and being cost effective has potential to attract the small and medium businesses
(Microsoft 2009).

2.5

Tele-working as an Emergency Alternate

Tele-working can be an implementation as an emergency operational alternate for the


organizations in the time of natural disasters and civil unrest. Thus the security of the staff is
ensured as they are working from home as well as the productivity of the organization is
guaranteed. Hence flexi work place can be viewed as an effective strategy for the flexi work
place as well as a crisis response (Joice 2000). The increase of demand for the role of support
services for its work from home initiative was seen on a rise in the Japanese
Telecommunication company following the earthquake in Japan (Fitzpatrick 2011). This is
viewed as a strategy by the businesses in Japan due to the infrastructural crisis following the
natural disaster (Fitzpatrick 2011). Considerations are shown for the clause to be added in the
employment agreement of utilizing the Tele-workers during the crisis and emergency
situations in order to keep the operation functioning while the corporate office is not
operational (HR Focus 2011). Apart from being a catalyst in the continuation of operations

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they can also can be used as the primary response unit in the time of disaster and emergencies
assisting the government and communities (Online Exclusive 2011). In the United States a
designated person needs to be the leader for the Tele-working programme who is required to
assist in carrying on the emergency facilitation in the course of disaster or emergency (Long
2011).
Gerry Connolly states that the - "Tele-work improves recruitment and
retention, improves emergency response preparedness, and saves taxpayer
money. We just had another snow event in late January where Tele-working
enabled thousands of Federal employees to keep working even when roads
were covered in ice and snow" (Global Warming Focus 2011).

John Berry the director of the Office of Personal Management (OPM) proposed to offer
direction on incorporating Tele-work as part of the crisis management during the times of
emergency (Newell 2010).

2.6

Rising figures of Tele-workers in United Kingdom

There has been a significant growth noticed in the trend of working from home among the
work force in United Kingdom. The number of Tele-workers has grown seen a tremendous
growth of almost two folds in the last decade due to the advancement of the technology (BBC
2005). Ulrike also contributes this momentous growth to the role of technology played in the
increased demand of Tele-working (Hotopp 2002). According the Labour Force Survey (LFS)
the number of the Tele-workers have grown from 4% in 1997 to 8% of the total working
population in United Kingdom by 2005, there was a tremendous growth of among the Teleworkers wherein the percentage of the Tele-workers grew from 41% in 1997 to 78% in 2005
(Ruiz and Walling 2005). There is undoubtedly an increase in the number of Tele-workers as

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represented in statistics of ONS that shows the increase in the working from home initiative
among the work force thus totalling the number of Tele-workers 5 million (BBC, 2011).

Figure 2 (d): Rising figures of Tele-workers in United Kingdom


Data Source: Adapted from Labour Force Survey (LFS)

There is an ascendant movement in the Tele-working initiative among both the genders
however interestingly the number of male Tele-workers is higher than the female Teleworkers (Ruiz and Walling 2005). 65% of the Tele-workers were noticed to be male Teleworkers as opposed to the whole Tele-working community as per the Labour Force Survey
(BBC 2002). The accessibility to the internet service is also a major cause for the increase in
the number of Tele-workers with in UK (Bertin and Denbigh 2003). Tele-workers rely on the
internet to perform their day to day job and most of the applications used by them are web
based which is accessed through internet with the help internet browsers, the web based
communication requires internet for using the program (BBC 2007). Majority of the Teleworkers rely on the Technological devices to accomplish their tasks while working from

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home (Felstead et al 2000 and Huws et al. 1999). The availability of the Technological
infrastructure is required for the successful Tele-working (Hotopp 2002).

According to International Tele-work Association and Council (ITAC) predicted a


phenomenal growth in the number of Tele-workers, the estimation was 24 million Teleworkers by 2000 (Wells 2001), however by the 4th quarter of the 2005 the number of Teleworkers grew to 45 million and the working place was much diverse than the conventional
Tele-working which included Aeroplanes, Train, Cars and parks and wireless hotspots (Smith
2005).

2.7

Tele-working and Personal Life Balance

The studies have shown that there are great positive impact on the personal life and work life
balance through Tele-working (Maruyama et al, 2009); the study conducted among the Teleworkers of British Telecom 74% of the Tele-workers agreed that Tele-work helps them in
maintaining a personal life and work life balance. The control over the working hours was a
satisfactory for many of the Tele-workers. Proper time management can help the Teleworkers to have more flexibility which in turn can result in greater job contentment and
futuristic commitment to the organization due to the intrinsic satisfaction. This balance also
has positive effect on the productivity and efficiency of the Tele-worker. Tele-working also
helps in improving the quality of life (Cisco, 2009), this could be due to various reasons such
as extra private time, more time for parenting and the evasion of commuting (Hilbrecht et al,
2008). A distinct definition is not available for the Tele-work and Personal Life balance as it

25

may vary from individual to individual based on their understanding about the topic. The
factors leading to Tele-work and personal life balance may differ for each Tele-worker based
on their perceptions (Balteo & Heydens-Gahir, 2003). Still there is a an agreement on the fact
that the Tele-working does provide a healthy balance due to the recognition of professional
sphere and personal life sphere (Aryee et al., 2005; Peeters et al.,2005). Identifying the two
spheres and their expectations can lead to a greater balance in the professional and personal
spheres. This factor has caused an improvement in the physical health of the Tele-workers
(Steward, 2000).

2.8

Tele-working and Management

Managing the Tele-worker has been an area of concern for the managers and supervisors
(PYRI 2011); this may be due to being distrustful of the Tele-workers or the lack of
relevant guidelines and procedures in place that lets the Tele-workers Tele-work. There is
also a need of change in the outlook of the management and shift is required from procedure
focused management to result focused management (Watad & DiSanzo, 2000, p. 86). The
possible reasons of the managers being very reluctant of the change may be due to the
apprehension of the unexpected or simply unwilling to succumb to the change in the
management style (Leonard, 2001, p. 31). The reluctance in the managers can be due to the
fear moderation in the role of people management and diminishing control (Daniels, Lamond,
and Standon 2001). This change of management style changes the role from mere monitoring
to evaluating and measuring the productivity and quality of the outcome (Mills, 2001). For the
effective operation of Tele-working the management and the Tele-workers need to be aware
of the objective of the organization. Clear statement of the policies must be in place for
reference and the Tele-work must be aware of the policies for better output (Knowledge

26

2011). The Policy statement must include the role and responsibilities of the managers and the
Tele-workers, thus enabling the Tele-workers meeting the requirements and benefiting from
the training provided (Peters et al. 2009). Once the Tele-worker is empowered with the
training and technological devices they must be evaluated on the productivity and output and
thus building up the confidence among the Tele-working staff and the management (Victoria
2011).

2.9

Obstacles in Tele-working Initiative

There are many barriers and obstacles notice in the Tele-working. Max Stier pointed out the
need of the system of measuring the purposes, assignments, and results of the Tel-workers.
Stier said - "Without a clear understanding of what the objectives are and how to measure
them, and how each individual contributes to common organizational goals, there is no system
in place that will allow managers to effectively determine whether someone is doing their job
right this is regardless of whether they are working in their office, at home, or from another
remote location," (Stier 2009).

On the other hand the unable to trust the Tele-worker while they are working from home is a
factor that plays a negative role in the success or the failure of this initiative (Klie 2008). The
mistrust is the underlying issue of the relationship between employee and the manager hence
taking steps to build up confidence and improve interactions can be basic ground work
leading to an efficient Tele-worker and manager liaison (Kacmar et al 2003; Kim, Ferrin, and
Cooper 2004). The psychological pressure generated due to the lack organizational interface

27

leading to the concerns among the Tele-workers may result in feeling of seclusion (Kaye,
1992). Hence the organizations must continually strive to keep the Tele-workers in the
communication allowing the interaction between the organization and the Tele-workers
(Warburton, 1993). Some of the apprehensions that can be caused due to the psychological
pressures are concerns about the career advancement (Prieto 1989).

2.10 Advantages of Tele-working


There are many advantages of working from home and it may differ from gender to gender
and the individuals involved. Out of many advantages of Tele-working Fortin & Dennis and
Hamilton exhibit the many advantages and disadvantages of Tele-working from individuals
and Organisations stand point (Fortin & Dennis-Escoffier 1986). There is also a view that the
Tele-working is more advantageous for the Tele-workers rather than the organization (Prez
et al., 2002). For the better understanding of the topic of Tele-working, researcher critically
looked into both the Tele-workers and Employers perspective keeping the organizations
standpoint of productivity and profitability.

2.10.1 Advantages from the Tele-workers standpoint: There are many advantages pointed
out by the researchers from the Tele-workers perspective such as Saving the Commuting
Time to and from the work place which can be positively used for the productive work at
home. Working from home also offers a greater equilibrium in work & family life due to the
constant presence within the house. Tele-working helps in the reduction of mandatory
expenses such as fuel, parking and reduces the traffic jam on the highways thus contributing

28

to the environmental protection. This leads to a better management of stress and work
atmosphere allowing the Tele-worker to be proactively involved in community activities.
While working from home it permits the Tele-worker evasion from office politics and other
distraction in the work place by the colleagues. Tele-work makes it possible for the
individuals to work from home with health conditions & disabilities engaging them in
productive and creative atmosphere. Child care and possibility of working on the move is
another great advantage of working from home. Flexibility is the most important aspect of the
Tele-working which helps the individuals to be productive and profitable to the organization
(Hamilton 1987).

Greater
Productivity
Personal Life
& Professional
Life Balance
Flexibility

Commuting
Time Saved

Better Health

Advantages of
Tele-working for
Tele-workers

Reduction in
mandatory Expenses
Fuel, Parking etc

Seclusion from
the peers and
colleagues

Disadvantages of
Tele-working for
Tele-workers

Possible
deterioration of
inter personal skills

Over working

Career
Development
Prospects

Interruptions at
home from
visitors & family

Figure 2 (e): Advantages and Disadvantages from the Tele-workers standpoint

2.10.2 Disadvantages from the Tele-workers standpoint: There are certain drawbacks of
Tele-working as opposed to the working in a traditional workplace. The Tele-worker while
working from home or a remote location will be disconnected from the business operational

29

environment which results in seclusion from the peers and colleagues. This also reduces the
communication with the staff, encouragement and emotional support that is possible when
present in the office. While the Tele-worker is away from the office they will always have
concerns about their professional progression due to minimal or no involvement in the
decision making process. Staying away from the corporate working environment can also
weaken the inter-personal skilfulness of individual. There is a great possibility of over
working and working beyond the working hours which may lead to the emotional drains due
to seclusion and societal contentment. Interruptions at home are greater in comparison to the
office; this also tends to lessen the possibility training, development, supervision and advice
from the managers and supervisors. It has also been noticed that an impractical expectancy is
laid on the Tele-workers due to the fact that they are working from home.

2.10.3 Advantages from the Business Organisations standpoint: Tele-working brings a


lot of advantages to the organization. The firms savings on the dedicated space to the Teleworkers is an advantage as they are working from home and in the instance of their
requirement of coming to office they can use the common space in the office to work with the
use of wireless technology thus giving the option of an office that is highly flexible (Robert
and Borjesson 2006). However the diminution in operational expenses and flexible can cause
a chaos if the Tele-workers are not managed and given a set time to the set group, failure to
which will be contributing to operational and productive loss. The flexibility does provide
higher level of productivity than compared to the regular office worker (Michie and Sheehan,
2005) though there is more scope of research both on the basis of theory and practice as this is
only the flexibility of place of work rather than the time of work as in most of the cases the

30

work time is fixed hence it is partially flexible. The organization gets better quality and
quantity of output from a Tele-worker as they work from a less stress environment due to the
higher level of job satisfaction from the workers. There is steady reduction in the absenteeism
among the Tele-worker as opposed to the commuting employees (Butler et al 2007), and also
lessens the employee turnover which exhibits better quality of work in comparison (Golden,
2006). Tele-working has proven to be an effective strategy in minimising the employee
turnover and effective on retention of employees (Silva, 2007). Cost is minimal for the
returning Tele-worker in comparison to the recruiting a new staff, this also becomes an easy
strategy to retain and reduce the employee turnover, if presented as an alternate option for the
retention of the staff thus effectively reducing the rate of attrition. The flexibility of working
from home will also enhance the individual Tele-workers commitment towards the business
organization as well as help reduce absence from work and reduce the infrastructural cost per
head (Barth, 2011).

Cost reduction
on
Infrastructure
Compliance
with
Government
Regulations

Productivity
Increase in Teleworkers

Advantages of
Tele-working for
Organization

Productivity
Loss

Disadvantages of
Tele-working for
Organization

Increased
expenses on Data
Security

Providing
Technical
Support

Flexibility
Reduced
Employee
Turnover

Connected with peers


and Management
through Internet

Concerns over
Data
Protection

Supervision
&
Monitoring

Figure 2 (f): Advantages and Disadvantages from the Business Organisations standpoint

31

2.10.4 Disadvantages from the Business Organisations standpoint: Protection and


privacy of company data and business information is a major area of concern for the
organization. However the advanced security systems and Secure Sockets Layers can be
effective way to secure the data (Brandsttter 2011), but the threat of sabotage cannot be
assured unless the proper measures are taken to have the employee satisfaction and the loyalty
towards the organization. These concerns which are raised by the authors are not something
that can only be caused by a Tele-worker as the data can be misused by the employee at office
as well.

The other disadvantage that has always surfaced when the Tele-work is discussed is the
apprehension of the supervision of the worker working from home by the relevant section
managers (Warburton, 1993). Productive output of the Tele-workers and setting up deadlines
for the completion of task can be an effective way of tackling this apprehension (Victoria
2011). Since the Tele-working is performed with the aid of technical devices and in case of a
technical problem resolving is a priority to ensure the productivity of the Tele-worker which
is seen as concern as the identifying the problem and troubleshooting has to be done for a
remote location. However the assessment and the measurement of the output have not been
addressed, which is a key area and by which the output of the Tele-workers can be assessed
and motivated and managing them by applying the Management by Objectives style (Drucker
2007, Mills 2001).

32

2.11 Conclusion
Tele-working has been seen as a solution for many issues that corporate and society is facing.
The congestion on the roads can be minimised by working from home. Threats can be
reduced during national and international events as advised by UK Government to work from
home during the 2012 Olympics to avoid journey disarray (BBC 2011). Tele-workers can be
utilised effectively during the time of crisis and disaster as they are working from home and
can operate safely. Research and policy developments are needed for the greater effectiveness
of the operation of Tele-work initiative. Sluggishness in the performance in the Tele-workers
can be avoided during the recruitment process by identifying the potential of the prospective
Tele-worker. Tele-working must a voluntary option and not a mandatory posting. Proper
training and guidance prior to the start of Tele-work will always bring desired output from the
Tele-workers. There is a need of unlearning and relearning in terms of the management and
supervision of the Tele-worker and getting in terms with changing the outlook of management
objectives from being procedure focused to output or productivity focused by engaging in
enhanced communication and coaching.

33

Chapter 3
Research Methodology
3.1 Introduction
In this section of the research the researcher intends to authenticate the methodology used for
the study. The intent of using the planned research method is to present the overall study in a
practical and presentable way and also to ensure that the collected data is valuable to the
objective of the research and efficient. The intent of a research is establish the research aims
and objective by the answering the research questions through the findings. Research is
defined according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary is "studious inquiry or examination;
especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts,
revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such
new or revised theories or laws" (Merriam Webster 2011). Hence the aims and objectives of
the research have to be authenticated by the findings and outcomes of the research. The
primary objective of this study is to investigate the impact of technology in the development
and expansion of Tele-working and about the changing trend in the mind set of people about
working from home. This research is centrally focused on the contribution of technological
advancement in the development and expansion of Tele-working and also its implications on
the management aspects. The other research conducted on the various related topics are
reviewed in chapter 2 and hence this methodologically and coherent research will help
gaining the in-depth perceptive into contributions of technological advancements in contrast
to the growth of Tele-working and the inclination and the increased tendency of opting to
working from home.

34

3.2

Research Paradigms

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Paradigm as:


A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of
viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual
discipline (The American Heritage, 2009. pp 122)

Paradigm originates from "Paradeigma" a Greek word meaning prototype, model, illustration.
The root Greek word for paradigm is formed of two words Para meaning alongside, ahead
of or further than Deiknumi meaning to direct or to exhibit. In 1960 Nobel Laureate David
Baltimore was first use Paradigm in line with Science to co-relate a hypothetical outline. The
word paradigm is exclusively used in science to elaborate distinctive theories in the context of
epistemology. Kuhn provided the word Paradigm its current connotation by referring this to
the usual procedures which characterises the scientific order in set time frame. Kuhn defines
paradigm as an integrated set of assumptions, beliefs, models of doing good research, and
techniques for gathering and analyzing data. It organizes core ideas, theoretical frameworks,
and research methods (Neuman 2007). Hence it can be said that Paradigm is unanimously
acknowledged methodological findings which becomes a representation for a time span for
the scholars for the subjective predicaments and resolutions (Kuhn 1996). Covey in his book
interprets Paradigm as the individuals perception at an object or situation based on the
fundamental morality and ethics (Covey 2002).

35

3.3 Qualitative Research Methodology


Qualitative Research Methodology is defined as:
"Qualitative research is a relatively unstructured research method such as
focus groups where the results are open to subjective interpretation" (Edmunds
1999 pp. 132)

In this type of research methodology greater emphasis is laid on to understand and appreciate
the behaviour of human being and the rationale for the expressed behaviour. These findings
are mainly based on why and how along with the investigation based on what, when and
where questions to get the understanding of the background of behaviour. Qualitative is
expressive and employs the interpretivistic approach wherein the understanding of the
perspective of the research subject is a key factor. Emphasis is given to the surroundings of
the research subject to understand the perspective and it is mandatory that no fabrication is
applied to the subjects surroundings. For this research samples selected can be small yet
decisive and resolute to get effective outcomes. Qualitative research is often used and
considered appropriate for educational and society based researches (Denzin and Lincoln
2005). The main concern with this methodology is getting the interpretations of the study and
surroundings right and stay with the contextual frame in order to get the correct outcome. The
researchers under this research approach frequently depend on interpretive & crucial societal
knowledge and use the verbatim of case & context. This form of research is adaptable and
along with the progression of the research, the research topic remains centric (Neuman 2007).

36

3.3.1 Strength and Limitations of Qualitative Research Methods


Collected data is the research partakers views based on the individuals experiences as the
collected data is principally addressing the inherent nature of the sample population, hence
this outcome can only be only applied to the relevant study group and it cannot be used or
generalised to the other research population. With this outcome comparative study can be
done among the cases since it throws sufficient information of the researched sample. This
method is useful in explaining the typical occurrences which cannot be represented or
explained by numerical expression, thus this method can be utilised to explain the
surroundings and experiences of occurrences in the sample. The expressions can be rich in
order to provide the contextual details of the sample which helps the researcher in
understanding the dynamic progression in terms of developments and changes and the causing
agents to the change. The possibility of changes in the research direction is possible according
to the responses received and changes in the condition are noticed.

There are certain limitations with the qualitative research such as the research outcome cannot
be applied to another sample population due to the difference in the surroundings and
conditions. Since the research methodology is descriptive and deals with the details of the
nature and surroundings hence the collected data cannot be converted into numerical values.
Also since the research population is smaller in size therefore the research hypothesis cannot
be applied to the larger population. The credibility of such a research may not be acceptable in
the bureaucratic reports. The time taken for the collection of the research data and the analysis
of the collected research data is much more compared to the quantitative research. The
possibility of manipulation due to the influence of the interpretations from the individuals

37

preconceptions and prejudices can affect the course of research outcome (Johnson and
Christensen 2010).

3.4 Quantitative Research Methodology


Quantitative Research Methodology is defines as:
"Quantitative research is a structured research method designed to provide
statistically valid results in the form of numbers and percentages" (Edmunds
1999 pp. 132)

This type of study relates to the empirical research based on the numerical values using the
mathematical and statistical procedures. The aim of employing the quantitative research is to
apply numerical representations, hypothesis & assumption which are relevant to the research
subjects. The measuring procedure of the data is essential in quantitative research
methodology as this endows the basic correlation linking the pragmatic study and numerical
representation. As opposed to the qualitative methodology the researcher follows a linear
approach of and accentuates neutrality. They prefer employ precise, uniformed measures and
underlying rationalization. The procedures in this approach are frequently deductive by means
of the progression of distinct steps that pave the way for the collection of data. The possible
coherent errors must be avoided during the formation of hypothesis and the explanation of
contributory explanation (Neuman 2007). In quantitative research methodology the societal
disparity is documented in numerical form and the summary of the collected data is
represented in statistical form. The variables used in the research are in fact quantitative

38

instruments which are measured in ratio considered as the premier rank of measurement as it
is evident that the data analysed by the means of quantitative way is the most refined and
sophisticated analysis (Ruane 2005). The outcomes and the findings based on the quantitative
research are widely comprehensible to a research population as the outcome is based on
numerical representation of the research sample population (pp 14).

3.4.1 Strength and Limitations of Quantitative Research Methods


The quantitative research makes it possible to test & authenticate the existing hypothesis with
recent collected research data and a valid explanations and reasons can be stated for the
occurrences. The research findings with the data collected for one research population can be
applied to the other research populations and this finding can be reproduced or applied on
many other research populations. This type of the methodology can be applied on the larger
population due to the statistical nature of data which cannot be influenced by the surrounding
as possible in the qualitative research. Quantitative research method provides the quickest
way of collecting data and it is represented in the numerical format hence the findings is
accurate and acceptable for the government reports. Due to the numerical nature of the
research outcome the possibility of researchers preconceptions and prejudices cannot affect
the research outcome causing the deviation, also this numerical data is useful in gaining the
quantitative outcomes. The analysis of the data does not take much time in comparison to the
qualitative research methods. In Quantitative methodology it is possible to isolate the
variables to find the grounds and consequences of the influencing variables and their
associations.

39

The categorization used by the researcher may not reveal as per the perception of the research
population. There is a possibility that the hypothesis applied by the researcher may not equate
or resemble to the surroundings and the perceptions of the sample. The research outcome is
broad and can be applied on a wider population hence the application of this research outcome
on more specific situation or contextualization of personal issues of the entity may not be
possible. Due to the excessive importance and priority given to the assessment of the existing
theory rather than focusing on generating theory or hypothesis the researcher may ignore or
fail to spot the occurrences in the innate surroundings which may prove to be the researchers
confirmatory partiality (Johnson and Christensen 2010).

3.5 Rational for adopting the Research Methodology


For this study the researcher has opted to use the amalgamation of both qualitative research
methodology and quantitative research methodology. The approach of the use of blended
research methodology has been seen very usual among the researchers. Johnson,
Onwuegbuzie, and Turner said about the use of qualitative research method, quantitative
research method and the combination of qualitative and quantitative research method as, We
currently are in a three methodological or research paradigm world, with quantitative,
qualitative, and mixed methods research all thriving and coexisting, (Johnson et al., 2007, p.
117). The benefit of applying both the research methodology provides a greater precision to
the collected data; this also helps in avoiding any prejudices that may appear by the use of
both the research methods thus overcoming the weaknesses in any particular methodology
(Collins et al. 2006).

40

3.6 Research Methods


The main objective of this research is to get an understanding of the role technological
advancements play in the development and expansion of the home based Tele-working and
how it is becoming a phenomenon and a social trend and is accepted by both the employees
and employers. The researcher is also trying to get and in depth understanding of the
management issues involved in the favour or against the Tele-working. Therefore the research
population includes individuals working in areas where in the requirement of the commuting
is not essential and also those who are already Tele-working either from home or remote
locations using the technology for accomplishing the task. The research sample was taken
from the office complex in London with multiple small offices that are all utilising
technological devices to do their work.

A questionnaire consisting of 15 questions were prepared and were handed out to the survey
partakers with a covering letter to the potential survey partakers. The prepared questionnaire
was included with the closed ended questions and multi choice questions (Cohen et al 2007).
The questionnaire handed to the partakers of the survey and 10 questionnaires were sent to the
participants by email. The design of the questionnaire was done carefully to achieve the
research outcome corresponding with the aims and objectives of the research as mentioned in
the chapter one by analysing the collected data from the survey.

41

3.7 Primary Data


The data collected by the researcher in the natural settings of the research population by
observing them and getting their views and expressions first hand is Primary data (Kalof et al
2008).

3.7.1 Survey Questionnaire


The finalised survey questionnaire was distributed among the Tele-workers in the office
complex in London. These survey partakers were all Tech savvy and have been using the
technological devises to do their works. All of the survey partakers were able to perform their
jobs with the use of technology and wireless technology on the move as well as from any
location. Total fifteen questions were finalised which consisted on close ended questions with
Dichotomous type of questions. Dichotomous questions help the respondents in selecting the
right answer from the give multiple choices with getting the advantage of knowing the degree
of their choice and perception in the selected answer (Tharenou et al 2007 pp. 109). This
method of collecting data is comparatively economical and straightforward in quantifying the
data (Tharenou et al 2007 pp. 102). Another advantage of using the questionnaire is the ease it
brings to utilise this as a data collection tool as it can be managed online, through email, by
post and by hand as well.

3.7.2 Semi-Structured Interview


Semi Structured Interview is a widely used in the research for the social sciences and
academic researches. This type of interview is provides more flexibility to the interviewer

42

allowing them to formulate the questions during the interview while remaining within the
subject (Lindlof and Taylor 2002). Making an outline of the topic and areas to be covered
prior to the interview is better as this gives the interviewer the leverage and scope of getting
wider response (Corbetta 2003 pp. 279). This method of interview provides the possibility of
collecting a finer empirical data useful for the research. Since the importance of the
contributing factors and surroundings of the research population is very important so the non
structured form of interview becomes beneficial as this gives explanatory details during the
interview (Rothkopf 2009).

3.8 Secondary Data


Secondary data is the data collected by the other researchers in the past through surveys,
interviews, censuses and organizational published reports. The analysis of the secondary data
is highly used by researchers for comparative studies between the research samples and gives
research areas for further investigations that the principal researcher may have left unseen
(Neuman 2007). The caution of using the secondary data is the appropriateness of the
published data for the researchers investigation. For this research various sources were
considered for the secondary data such as the previous researches conducted on the topic of
Tele-commuting or Tele-working, the surveys conducted by Office for National Statistics and
the articles published in Journals and Newspapers.

43

3.9 Conclusion
In this study the researcher is using the combination of both the research methodologies to
understand the impact of technology on the Tele-working sector, in order to carry out the
study research questions were drafted and staying within the confinement of the research aims
and objectives. Researcher opted to collect the primary data through the survey questionnaires
and semi structured interviews and the collected data was quantified in order to further
analyse and find the research outcome. The analysis of the secondary data was conducted
from different sources to benefit the study. The collected data will be analysed and studied in
the following chapter.

44

CHAPTER 4
FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION

4.1 Introduction
As cited in the first chapter the researcher aims to explore the role of technology in the
popularity and rise of Tele-workers and Tele-working initiatives by the organisations and also
tends to explore the changing social trends and the acceptance of the working from home as a
social phenomenon. In this section of the dissertation the research associate will examine the
and evaluate the collected data through the survey conducted in the offices of Spitfire studios
and the semi structured interviews carried out with the managers of companies that are IT
based as has Tele-workers in operation within the organisation.
The questionnaire designed consists of 15 questions with the combination of closed end
questions such as Likert Scale questions, multiple choice questions and questions to be
answered in Yes or No. Total 60 questionnaires were sent to the potential survey participants
in Spitfire Studios. All the questionnaires were made available to the participants with the
introductory letter describing the purpose of the research in brief and also the indistinctness or
the inconspicuousness was promised to the every person who volunteered to partake in the
survey. 50 questionnaires were handed over to the employees working in different offices, 43
questionnaires were filled and handed back. The response received from the sample range was
86%. 10 questionnaires were emailed to the people who either work from home or a remote
location; these people are known to me. Out of the 10 questionnaire total 7 questionnaires
were emailed back thus giving a total 70% response from the email sample range. Please refer

45

the appendices for the Questionnaire and Questionnaire outcomes in Appendix QB1 and
Appendix QB2 respectively.

Number of Questionnaire Distributed and the Responses received


Questionnaire Distribution
approach

Total Number of
Questionnaires Distributed

Responses received

Distributed in person
50
43
By Email
10
7
Total
60 Questionnaire
50 Respondents
Table 4.1: Number of Responses from Survey Questionnaire

Male Female Participation in the Survey


S. No.

Gender Participation

Total Responses Received

Male Tele-Worker

32

Female Tele-Worker

18

Table 4.2: Respondents of the Survey (Male Female Participation)

Figure 4.2 - Respondents of the Survey


(Male Female Participation)
46

During the research in order to avoid the gender based prejudice equal response were
expected from both the genders however the expected equilibrium could not be achieved.
Female responses were outnumbered by responses from their Male counterpart. Out of the
total 50 Questionnaires which were handed out, 43 responses were received. 10
questionnaires were sent by email from which 7 responses received, out of which 32
responses were received from men and 18 responses from women.

4.2 Research Population at a glance


The model of the population selected for the survey is the offices that involved in various
businesses wherein Information Technology is the integral part of the day to day operations.
The types of businesses in the Spitfire Studios operational are engaged in businesses such as
apparel designing, Media production, Architect, Fashion Agents, Financial Advisers,
Computer Consultants and Television & Radio Production Services etc. The individuals
work is IT and Computer based which can be performed irrespective of the location provided
they have the connection to internet and upon the completion of the task the project can be
electronically submitted to the centralised electronic storage for review. The individuals who
have volunteered have identified themselves as the individuals who are IT savvy and
constantly perform their work with the help of computers and telecommunication equipments.
These individuals work from home as well as from the office as per the requirement and enjoy
high flexibility in their professional life.

47

Survey
Question

Multiple Choice Questions

Q1

6 months
M
F
12
7
19

6 12 months
M
F
8
5
13

Q2

Yes
50

No
0

Q3

Wireless Internet
32

DSL
14

Laptop
46

Q4

Desktop
4

Instant messenger
50

Q5

Q6

1 2 years
M
F
7
4
11

3 4 years
M
F
4
1
5

Cable
2

Satellite
2

Fax Machine
8

Web Conferencing
43

Web Camera
42

Blackberry
29

E-mail
50

Skype
45

5 + years
M
F
1
1
2

Smart phone
21
VoIP
10

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

Virtual Storage Space

56

48

6 questions were closed ended Multiple option questions to extract the precise information
needed for the research

Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (A)

Survey
Question

Q7

Q8
Q9
Q 10
Q 11

Likert Scale
Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

23

24

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

20

Strongly agree
27

Agree
16

Neutral
2

Disagree
3

Strongly disagree
0

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

21

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

24

21

5 questions designed to get the degree of agreement on the issue raised


Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (B)

48

Survey
Question

Likert Scale
Very Unimportant

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

Very Important

20

26

Q 13

Very Unimportant

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

Very Important

28

19

Q 14

Very Unimportant
3

Unimportant
8

Neutral
4

Important
21

Very Important
14

Very Unimportant

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

Very Important

23

21

Q 12

Q 15

4 questions designed to get the degree of Priorities on the issue raised


Table 4.3 Survey Questionnaire Results (C)

4.3 Analysis of Survey Questionnaire Responses:


The results of the survey conducted are analysed and are converted into quantitative data and are
presented in the table format and also presented graphically to get the understanding of the responses
of the survey partakers. The responses reflect the aims and objectives of the research conducted on the
topic of Working from home a social phenomenon, an investigation into the role of Technology in the
success of home based Tele-working.

Q1 Please indicate your Tele-working experience


Tele-Workers
Male Tele-Workers
Female Tele-Workers
Total Tele-Workers

Up to 6
Months
12

6 12
Months
8

7
19

1 2 Years

3 - 4 Years

5+ Years

13

11

Table 4.4.1: Tele-working Experience - Gender based Comparison

49

Figure 4.4.1- Tele-working Experience - Gender based Comparison

Tele-work has been gaining popularity in the past two decades, and many more are opting to
work from home with the advantage of available technology (Martino 2001). Some have been
very cynical about the concept of Tele-working (Meyer 2009), however there is also seen a
trend of increase in the number of Male candidates in the Working from home or Teleworking (Stredwick and Ellis 2005). As represented in the Figure 4.3, out of the survey
partakers it is quite obvious that a growing number of men have the inclination towards
working from home. Out of the 50 survey respondents 19 people are who are working as
Tele-workers for last one year and total 13 people are working as Tele-workers for two years,
11 individuals are working as a Tele-worker for three years and 5 people from the research
sample have been working for 5 years. The survey outcome shows the male individuals
outnumbering the female Tele-workers. There is a steady increase in the number of female
Tele-workers when compared with the female Tele-workers in the past years. So it can be
understood from the survey outcome that working from home is a preferred mode of working
in the new breed of professionals.

50

Q2 Do you have Internet connection at your residence?


Yes
No

50 = 100%
0 = 0%
Table 4.4.2: Availability of Internet access

Figure 4.4.2: Availability of Internet access

100% of the survey respondents said yes to the availability of internet at their homes this
could be either provided by the employer or may be having Broadband be a part of the
employment requirement. This can also be due to the highly competent pricing strategy and
the competition among the broadband providers, the availability of wireless internet
connection and wireless hotspots with free access is also a contributing factor to the rise of
Tele-working culture. All the 50 respondents of the survey had internet access at home as well
as easy access to wireless internet through coffee shops and wireless hotspots. Some of the
workers were getting allowanced for them to be able to work from home this may be
contributing towards their expenses to the internet and telephony bill. The positive aspect of
the small businesses; as highlighted by Jackson and Van Der Wielen is the quickness in the

51

implementation of the new technologies and decision making such as providing the
allowances for IT which reduces the bureaucratic hassles and contributes towards the
profitability and increased productivity (Jackson and Van Der Wielen 2001). The results in
Figure has proven that most people favour broadband technology as it faster in comparison to
other available services and also it gives much ease to perform the work.

Q3 Which type of Internet connection you have at your residence?


Wireless Internet
DSL
Cable
Satellite
32
14
2
2
Table 4.4.3: Internet connections used by Tele-workers

Figure 4.4.3: Types of Internet connections used by Tele-workers

From the survey outcome the result shows that 32 Tele-workers are using wireless internet
connection as this is faster and without wire connection makes it easy to move around. The
connectivity of the devices with the wireless is seamless and instant as opposed to the other

52

connections. 14 Tele-workers are using the DSL internet connection at home provided by the
phone line and is wired. The reason for the use of DSL usage was found due to the
requirement of upgrade in the computer system that they are using. The speed is good and the
work goes uninterrupted as informed by the DSL users however they have an inclination
towards moving to wireless technology. 2 research participants were using the Cable Internet
connection and Satellite internet connection. The results in Figure V.V has proven that most
people favour broadband technology as it faster in comparison to other available services and
also it gives much ease to perform the work. Reasons could be that the user will have the
freedom of working without wire secondly the connection speed is higher in wireless.

Q4 Which of the following technological devices you use while Tele-working? (Tick
maximum 3 devices that are used the most)
Laptop

Desktop

46

Fax Machine

Web Camera

Blackberry

42
29
8
Table 4.4.4: Devices used for Tele-working

Smart phone
21

Figure 4.4.4: Devices used for Tele-working

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As the Figure V.VIII shows the details of the technological devices used by the Tele-worker
while Tele-working. Each respondent was asked to list the most useful technological device
that the individuals use while Tele-working on a daily basis. Each respondent had selected at
least one device and maximum 3 devices. Total 150 responses were received for this question.
The outcome does relate to the research of Alan Denbigh (Denbigh & Bertin 2003) which
agrees to the survey made by BBCs news survey about the preference for Laptops shown by
people (BBC 2008). Laptops are more mobile when compared to the desktop and hence the
demands for laptop are on rise. The use of Smartphone and Blackberry are also greatly
increased as it helps to be in contact on the move as well as it solves the problem of accessing
emails and the World Wide Web. There are limitations when using the laptop on the move as
space is required and after continuous use charging will also become essential as opposed to
the Smartphone. Web camera has also gained the place in the top priority list which helps is
video conferencing and helps the management to be in touch with their work force as in the
office. Definitely the desktop and the fax machine has been ruled out as a friendly tool for the
Tele-worker as the e-fax and portable document format (PDF) has made the transfer of the
document quicker, easier and great quality.

Q5 Which of the following programmes you use as communicating method?


Instant messenger
50

Web Conferencing
43

E-mail
50

Skype
45

VoIP
10

Table 4.4.5: Preferred Programs used by Tele-workers for communication

54

Figure 4.4.5: Tele-worker and the communication


technologies

15 people our 50 has confirmed that they are using video conferencing this somehow agrees
to the views presented by Denbigh and Bertin as well as Jackson and Wielen that people wish
to be a part of Virtual Office (Denbigh & Bertin, 2003; Jackson and Van Der Wielen 2002).
74% of the respondents believe that the increase in the Tele-workers is due to the attitude of
management. Though the fact is acceptable that the technology has made the procedure and
application easy however the attitude of the management cannot be overlooked because it is
ultimately the consent of management that has given the probability; the projected
profitability through this probability has led the management to change. This is a great
example of Management by Objectives. Management by Objectives (MBO) is the procedure
of identifying the purpose within the business so that Executives Board and workforce concur
to the purpose and comprehend the expectations laid upon them (Drucker 2007).

55

Q6 Which are the main programmes used to transfer and access of files with the office
while Tele-working?
VPN - (Virtual Private Network)
5

FTP - (File Transfer Protocol)


56

Virtual Storage Space


48

Table 4.4.6: Programmes for accessing and transferring the files

Figure 4.4.6: Programmes for accessing and transferring the files

The accessibility of the files required for the workers and the completed work to be saved in a
secure location thus accessible to the relevant department is necessary, thus it can be said that
the access to the important files to the staff is mandatory (Denbigh & Bertin, 2003). Out of the
total 50 respondents 5 people stated that they have access and they use VPN, 56 people said
they are using File transfer Protocol while working from home and 48 respondents stated that
they are using the Virtual Storage Space for transferring the files while Tele-working. The
total responses expected from the respondents were one hundred and fifty however total
responses received were 112. The reason for such number of responses was due to the usage
multiple technologies simultaneously by the Tele-workers while working from home of a
remote location. Tysons recommendation for the secure network for the Tele-working is
given with force (Tyson and Crawford 2011).

56

Q7 Working from home does increases my productivity


Strongly agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
23

24

Strongly disagree

Table 4.4.7: Tele-Working and Tele-workers productivity

Figure 4.4.7: Tele-workers and Tele-workers Productivity

The response to this question was highly positive as 94% of the respondents said that working
from home helps to be more productive. The Tele-working women agreed that the working
from home increases the productivity as they are not cut off from the family affairs and hence
they can contribute more. These result do show that the traditional thinking of working from
home is only for women is confirmed to be incorrect as from the sample majority of the Teleworkers are men. Only 1 Tele-workers shows the disagreement on the productivity as related
to the working from home. 2 Tele-workers maintained a neutral attitude towards this question,
24 Tele-workers agreed that the productivity increases while working from home and 23 Teleworkers strongly agreed about the increase of productivity when working from home or a
remote location (Walrave and Marijkedebie 2005). The data collected from the questionnaire

57

definitely confirms that working from home increases the productivity of women in
comparison to men.
Q8 The possibility to work from home would/does develop my job satisfaction:
Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

20

Table 4.4.8: Tele-working and Job satisfaction

Figure: Tele-working and Job satisfaction

In response to the Job satisfaction the response were highly enthusiastic as 47 out of the 50
respondents voted for Tele-working to be a factor for the job satisfaction. 27 participants
strongly agreed the Tele-working leads to Job satisfaction and 20 people answered agreed. 3
people opted to maintain a neutral state for the question relating to the Job satisfaction. The
reasons for the Job satisfaction can be due to the time the Tele-workers get to be with the
family and the amount of flexibility they enjoy (Gajendran & Harrison, 2007). Kathryn and
Michael give some insightful thoughts for the greater Job satisfaction among the Teleworkers. The larger benefits pointed out by them are the office politics which can negatively
affect the minds and cause displeasure, the frequent office meeting that breaks the

58

concentration and the stress caused by the personal problems of the co-workers in the office
(Fonner and Roloff 2010).
Q9 My adaptation to the transition from one technology to the advanced one was:
Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

16

Table 4.9: Adaptation and transition from one technology to the advanced technology

Figure 4.9: Adaptation and transition from one technology to the advanced technology

This question was an important question as it dealt with the Technology in future and how
this will incorporate with the Tele-working in years to come. There has been a lot of
significant changes happed in terms of technological developments and these developments
have only helped the Tele-working industry to propel to the next stage. Total responses from
female were 18 out of which 2 female gave neutral response, 8 female felt the adaptability
was easy and 4 female felt the transition was very easy however the negative response was 4
from the female. In contrast to the female response 26 responses were position and 6

59

responses were negative. Opposite to the conventional thinking women are getting savvier
technologically, whereas for men stand out technically more well versed.

Q10 Do you think that the wireless technology would boost your Tele-working?
Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

21

Table 4.10: Wireless Technology and Tele-working

Table 4.10: Wireless Technology and Tele-working

Total 32 responses were received by the respondents for this question. Probably the existing
wireless users didnt have to answer since they were already using the technology. One
respondent disagreed assumingly he must be content with the DSL broadband service the
respondent is have, however 18 DSL users felt that an upgrade is worth as they have
experienced the comfort of working wireless in the office. 3 respondents gave a neutral
response which shows that they are happy with the existing service that they are receiving. 1
respondent who is currently using the cable service also desired to get the wireless connection
for more comfortable and fast service. Those who responded with disagreement and neutral

60

may have considered that an upgrade will not enhance their work by upgrading. The response
of the DSL users does support the argument of D. Athow that the wireless broadband boost
Tele-working (Athow. D. 2006).
Q11 I am willing to Tele-work in future
Strongly agree
24

Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly disagree
21
5
0
0
Table 4.11: Willingness to Tele-work in future

Figure 4.11: Willingness to Tele-work in future

The outcome of the research question 19 shows the willingness to work as a Tele-worker
among the new generation of employees. The statistics collected by the office of National
Statistics shows an increase of 2.1 million which is the 8% of the total employee populace
(BBC News 2005). These finding also suggests a change in the perception in the employees
as 2/3 of the employee populace are men (BBC News 2003), which can be seen as a change in
the traditional thinking of home to be seen as a workplace for women only. In the research
carried out 76% has shown the willingness to work from home in future as, where the 16
women and 22 men have shown their interest by agreeing to work in the future. 9 people
stayed neutral, during the further informal interviews it was found that as 7 people out of the 9

61

were already have been working fulltime as Tele-workers. However 3 men had shown their
disagreement towards working from home, they did not give any further clarification on their
decisions though. The general notion received from the research was the employee seeking a
balance in the family and work-life (BBC 2004). There is change in the attitude towards the
Tele-working, more and more people are willing to work from home as it keeps them
emotionally healthy thus letting them to be more productive.

Q12 While Tele-working the job that interferes with my personal life is:
Very Unimportant
20

Unimportant
Neutral
Important
Very Important
26
4
0
0
Table 4.12: Tele-working and interference with personal Life

Figure 4.12: Tele-working and interference with personal Life

In this question where the respondents were required to present their views on the interfering
demands of the job and demands placed by the responsibilities of the job. 46 people were
unwilling for such a job that may interfere with their personal lives. Out of the 46 people 20
Tele-workers voiced against such job more loudly by choosing the superlative response
however 26 stated that such a job is unimportant to them. 4 Tele-workers took a neutral stand

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on this question. The Tele-workers are expected and required to set sound boundaries so that
they can only allow certain things to intrude while Tele-working.

Q13 Working for a company that values a balance between personal life and
career is:
Very Unimportant

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

3
28
Table 4.13: Tele-working and Personal Life

Very Important
19

Figure 4.13: Tele-working and Personal Life

The survey response shows a very clear outcome as 94% of the Tele-worker stated that a
balance between work and personal life is an absolute requirement. 28 people selected the
answer as important and 19 people said that the work life balance is very important. 3 Teleworkers selected their response as neutral. Kathryn and Daniel suggests that the organizations
must have policies in place that addresses the balance between Job and personal lives, which
according to them reduces the conflict between the Job and personal life as well as increases
the productivity by making the work environment stress free and positive (Fonner and Roloff

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2010). The Tele-worker has to proactively discipline themselves to avoid certain negative
mannerism that which may affect the balance also need to adopt certain mannerisms that may
help in balancing the work and life (Joshi et al 2002).
Q14 Having the opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work is:

Q14 Having the opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work is:
Very Unimportant

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

Very Important

21

14

Table 4.14: Tele-working and opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work

Figure 4.14: Tele-working and opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work

There was a mixed approach towards this question, 50% of the survey partakers responded
that they must have the liberty of doing things that of their personal interest outside the
working hours, but 22% of the survey partakers stated that this is not very important for them.
It seems that these 11 people who selected the answers as unimportant seems to be work
oriented. However 4 people maintained a neutral stand towards this question.

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Q15 A position that permits flexibility and autonomy in the work is:
Very Unimportant
0

Unimportant

Neutral

Important

Very Important

23

21

Table 4.15: Flexibility and Autonomy in Tele-working

Table 4.15: Flexibility and Autonomy in Tele-working

88% survey participants responded as the flexibility and the autonomy is important for them
while Tele-working however 6 people said they were neutral on this issue. There were no
negative responses received for this question which gives an understanding that flexibility and
autonomy is a great motivating factor and leads to greater productivity (Thompson et al
1999). Autonomy is a decisive and crucial aspect of Tele-working which gives more sense of
fulfilment (Clear and Dickson 2005).

65

4.4 Semi-Structured Interview


The researcher contacted the organizations that have Tele-workers as employees for the semi
structured interview; brief information was provided to the contact person concerning the
research. Two Team Leaders consented for the interview however they did not wanted to
disclose the information pertaining to the organization and themselves. After a careful
assessment five questions were chosen.

4.4.1 Analysis of Semi Structured Interview


Q1. How long have you been handling Tele-working and what was your experience so
far?
Team Leader (A): I have been working in this position for last five years and have been
managing the project with the Tele-workers and non Tele-workers both. I have seen the
Tele-working to be useful as they are found to be more dedicated and quicker in
accomplishing the task as compared to the non Tele-workers. This could be due to no
distractions which is constant in the office.
Team Leader (B): I have been associated with Tele-working for a long time and I have
enjoyed working as a Tele-worker and now managing the Team of Tele-worker is exciting
and challenging. Tele-working is cost effective and also with off shoring the operations for

66

massive organizations can be converted into 24/7 with much lesser cost. Productivity is
also comparatively better than the non Tele-working staff.

Q2. Do you think Technology has a vital role in the development of Tele-working?
Please elaborate.
Team Leader (A): Oh yes, Indeed. The Technology has just taken it swiftly to the
greater heights. Tele-working has eliminated the requirement of commuting for the
accomplishment of the task and has replaced with the Information and Communication
Technology. With the help of Internet and communication tools majority of operational
functions can be achieved and that what Technology has exactly done.
Team Leader (B): Yes I agree that as technology has revolutionised the entire world so
also it has positively impacted the Tele-working. The advancement of the Information
Technology and the communication technology has brought about a massive
transformation in the Tele-working. Availability of wireless broadband connections and
the Laptops are other major contributors in the possibility of working on the move as
well as working from home.

Q3. Which main technologies will you acknowledge for the success of Tele-working?
Team Leader (A): Internet, Wireless technology, Laptops, Communication tools
(Mobiles, Skype, VoIP), and Virtual tools for the transferring of the files

67

Team Leader (B): Developments in the Information Technology and Communication


sector are the main broad technological areas that can be attributed for the expansion of
Tele-working. The free software that enable people to communicate (Voice & Video) and
the advancement in the computing world are key aspects. Broadband and wireless
technology plays the most significant part as well.
Q4. What are the main dynamics that promotes Tele-working?
Team Leader (A): There are many things that can be pointed out, nevertheless it is
highly circumstantial and may differ from person to person. Flexibility, avoidance of
commuting, less distraction and Autonomy are just few of the factors.
Team Leader (B): The main dynamic can be attributed to the intrinsic values and
benefits a Tele-worker can achieve through Tele-working. Work and family balance,
flexibility, away from office politics, no travel are some of the other causes for people
embracing Tele-work however there may be more depending on the individuals.

Q5. What are the challenges you face as a Manager about Tele-working?
Team Leader (A): The supervision is always a concern, measuring the productivity is
another area of concern. Providing the technical support in case of technical problem
with the operational tool which can hamper the productivity if the support is not
provided on time also the support can only be provided over the phone if the instructions
are not precisely followed then the resolution will not be effective.
Team Leader (B): Communication is a concern, mainly because you cant see the
person whom you are communicating and hence you cant see the body language of the

68

person. Appraisal, supervision and monitoring of the Tele-worker are also key concerns.
Meeting the deadlines and completing the projects assigned is the main expectation laid
on the Tele-workers. Providing support is another area which is time consuming.

4.4.2 Discussion of the Semi Structure Interview


Both the Team leader interviewed were well informed and technically sound, they also had
a good knowledge of management. The importance of the technology was appreciated by
both and discussed the factors that encourage people to undertake Tele-working as
profession and also the challenges were pointed out by them (Madsen 2003).

4.5 Conclusion
After the reviewing of the available literature by the authoritative researchers, academicians,
the news, articles, the text books and journals on one hand and the survey conducted within
the Tele-working community and the semi structured interview revealed the importance of the
Technology and the benefits the advancement has brought. Tele-working though is not
suitable for all the positions however it is cost effective, environmental friendly, employee
friendly. The management challenges which were raised are a matter of further research. The
differences of genders and how that can be linked to productivity and profitability is another
area of study. But it is quite evident that the technology has played a vital role in the
expansion of Tele-working.

69

Chapter 5
Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Tele-working Now and Beyond:


Tele-working has a great potential to be the most profitable operational strategy by instating
policies and procedures in practice. Though there are various concerns that are voiced but the
benefits and profitability outweighs the concerns. However these concerns need to be
addressed and a positive solution needs to be found for the Tele-working to be more effective.
Tele-workers may face seclusion from the main operational team and the other colleagues in
the other departments, yet the possibility of the growth of working from Home or a remote
location is growing rapidly and becoming a social phenomenon with the advancement of the
technology which has made the video and audio interface for the communication. The
superior and ever developing technology is the key success factor for the working from home
or Tele-working. By enabling the employees to work from home or a remote location helps in
reducing the infrastructural costs for the businesses. The change in the attitude of the
management is another very strong reason for the future of the Tele-working to be considered
as very bright.

Working from home allows people of all walks of life to be able to work from their comfort
zone for the organizations with the technological advances. Having the availability to the
technological upper hand and the nature of work which enables the freedom of Tele-working
either from home or a remote location will attract more people for employment.

70

Communication and monitoring becomes easy with the advanced technology. Some of the
preferred ways of communication is online web conference, online instant messaging services
etc.

During the research on the field it was noticed that most of the contributors in the research
were intermittent Tele-workers. From the gathered responses it was found that in ten years
time it is very likely to see an increase in the number of mainstream Tele-workers. This
outcome was registered from the responses to the question posted at the participants that
whether they thought that employees would be eager to take Tele-working as a full time
vocation in the future. The importance and requirement of in-person communication was
emphasised by the research participants. An increase in the interest to work from home or
Tele-working will be seen in the years ahead was response gathered from the two managers
interviewed.

5.2 Tele-working and the Impediments:


The research shows a steady rise in number of Tele-workers and employers keen to allow
their employees to work from home or remote locations but there are still some areas which if
improved the difficulties can be tackled (Stredwick 2005). The areas of concern addressed are
the expenditure in employing the technology required for the Tele-workers to be able to work,
size of the organization etc. The advancement in the technology in the past 2 decades is the
main contributing factor which has caused a steady growth in the Tele-working within the UK
or UKs offshore operations; however same factor was an obstacle for many organizations

71

that were reluctant to embrace the advancement of technology (Hotopp.U. 2005; Denbigh
2003). Alan Dixie differentiates the willingness of corporations to adapt to the pace with the
pace of change in the marketplace in comparison to the positive positioning of the
corporations to meet with the challenges lying ahead (Dixie 2003). Hence many companies
have instigated the plan for Tele-working within the country and Tele-working overseas
through offshore operations. Allocation of well defined time span is a requirement as there are
multiple factors involved such as the capital, the infrastructure and resources especially for
small and medium sized organisations (Denbigh 2003).

Introduction of the new technology is always encountered with an element of fear for those in
the advanced aging group. Tele-working was also advancement in the employment from a
traditional outlook. The shift of the working areas from traditional office space to the remote
locations and working from homes created another possibility with the help of technological
advancement were viewed as shifting of powers who were tech savvy (Huws 1993). Though
this idea is old but is still prevalent today as the technological advancement is much faster and
the employees are required to be updated with the latest advancements. Thus the
technological hindrance could still be prevalent if not continuously updated with the
advancement. There have been apprehensions about the technological assistance provided by
the organisations for the Tele-workers. These concerns are temporarily addressed by the
technical device suppliers in the market which are not up to the expected standards, hence
many enhancements need to be done in the devices that help the Tele-workers to carry out
their tasks (Athow 2006; Stredwick 2005). Further concerns of security are also alarming.

72

5.3 Recommendations for Further Research

There is a possibility of further research in the Tele-workers gender based differences


in the productivity and the factors that that enhances the productivity leading to the
profitability.

The management challenges as a subject for further research.

Training and Coaching - The gap between the technological advancements and the
opportunities for training within the organisation.

Growth prospects of the Tele-workers within the organisation as a Tele-worker

Health and safety of the Tele-worker at home and the insurance coverage while
working from home for the Tele-worker

Tele-working as alternate to tackle emergency situations, State and Corporate


partnership for better handling of Crisis management is another area of possible
research with in UK.

5.4 Conclusion
The research study made to investigate the contributory role the technology and the
technological advancement has made in the development and expansion of Tele-working was
of an immense significance. The greater impact was seen after the wider availability of
wireless technology and its implementation. However there is a possibility of further study in
the relational technological impact on the Tele-workers. There is also seen a greater demand
in terms of greater balance in job and family, interference of the work into the personal space

73

and having the freedom while working with the organization. The studies does show the fear
of social seclusion however on the other hand participants have shown a greater enthusiasm in
working from home and opting for a greater balance in job and family equation. The
managers have been concerned about the issue of supervision and productivity, there are
technologies available to monitor the Tele-workers activity of the computer or the
technological devises but that is not economical. But the frequent communication and meeting
the deadlines and completion of the assigned task within the provided time frame is a way out
of this problem.

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82

QUEEN MARGARET UNIVERSITY


SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND MANAGEMENT

MBA Dissertation

RAW DATA
"Working from Home a Social Phenomenon An investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based
Tele-working"

By
BINNIES P. CHACKO

Matriculation Number: 09005939


9th September 2011

83

APPENDICES
Appendix A1 Letter for Survey Participants

MBA
Letter for Survey Participants for the Topic "Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An
investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based Tele-working"

Queen Margaret University, UK

Subject: Completion of Questionnaires for the final year project


Thursday 15th November, 2010

Dear Participant,
My name is Binnies P Chacko and I am the final year student of the Masters Program at Queen Margaret
University undertaking my degree in MBA. As part of my masters program, I am carrying out a research on
Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An investigation into the role of technology to the success of
home-based Tele-working. In order to allow me to deepen my understanding of the topic in question, I have
constructed a questionnaire, which I would be extremely grateful if you could complete.
Please may I ensure you, your responses will only be used for the purpose of my project and the only people
with access to the responses provided will be myself and my supervisor. If you do wish to include your name and
email address, then this will only be used to conveniently arrange interview schedules, however, please do not
feel obligated to provide such details. To ensure full confidentiality and anonymity, the handling of the
questionnaires adhere to the Queen Margaret Universitys ethical examination checklist.
Could you please ensure that you have completed the questionnaire by Wednesday 13th December, 2010? If you
have any queries and/or problems completing the questionnaire, then please feel free to contact me.
Thank you in advance for agreeing to contribute your responses to the questionnaire.

Yours truly,
Binnies P Chacko

84

Appendix A2 Questionnaire Consolidated Results

MBA
Survey Questionnaire for the Topic "Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An
investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based Tele-working"

Queen Margaret University, UK


Name: ..........
Position: ....
Name of the Organisation: .....
(Instructions: Kindly select the right answer and click Bold)
Personal information of the Research Participants:
Age Group:

25-35

35-45

45-55

Gender:

Male - 34

Female - 18

55-65

Q1 Please indicate your Tele-working experience:


Up to 6
Months
12

6 12
Months
8

12
Years
7

3-4
Years
4

Female Tele-Workers

Total Tele-Workers

19

13

11

Tele-Workers
Male Tele-Workers

5+ Years
1

Q2 Do you have Internet connection at your residence?


Availability of Internet access
Yes
No

50 = 100%
0 = 0%

Q3 Which type of Internet connection you have at your residence?


Types of Internet connections used by Tele-workers
Wireless Internet
32

DSL
14

Cable
2

Satellite
2

Q4 Which of the following technological devices you use while Tele-working(Tick 3 devices that are used
the most)
Technological devices used whilst Tele-working
Laptop

Desktop

Fax Machine

46

Web Camera
42

Blackberry
29

Smart phone
21

85

Q5 Which of the following programmes you use as communicating method?


Preferred Programs used by Tele-workers for communication

Instant messenger
50

Web Conferencing
43

E-mail
50

Skype
45

VoIP
10

Q6 Which are the main programmes used to transfer and access of files with the office while Teleworking?
Programmes for accessing and transferring the files

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

Virtual Storage Space

56

48

Q7 Working from home does increases my productivity


Tele-Working and Tele-workers productivity

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

23

24

Q8 The possibility to work from home would/does develop my job satisfaction:


Tele-working and Tele-workers Job satisfaction
Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

20

Q9 My adaptation to the transition from one technology to the advanced one was easy
Adaptation and transition from one technology to the advanced technology

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

16

Q10 Do you think that the wireless technology would boost your Tele-working?
Impact of Wireless Technology on Tele-working

Strongly agree

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Strongly disagree

27

21

Q11 I am willing to Tele-work in future


Willingness to continue as a Tele-worker

Strongly agree
24

Agree
21

Neutral
5

Disagree
0

Strongly disagree
0

86

Questions related to Work/Personal life balance


Key: 1. Very Unimportant

2. Unimportant

3. Neutral

4. Important

5. Very Important

Q12 While Tele-working the job that interferes with my personal life is:
Tele-working and interference with personal Life

Very Unimportant
20

Unimportant
26

Neutral
4

Important
0

Very Important
0

Q13 Working for a company that values a balance between personal life and career is:
Tele-working and importance of Personal Life

Very Unimportant
0

Unimportant
0

Neutral
3

Important
28

Very Important
19

Q14 Having the opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work is:
Tele-working and opportunity to pursue personal interests outside work

Very Unimportant
3

Unimportant
8

Neutral
4

Important
21

Very Important
14

Q15 A position that permits flexibility and autonomy in the work is:
Flexibility and Autonomy in Tele-working

Very Unimportant
0

Unimportant
0

Neutral
6

Important
23

Very Important
21

N.B: You are not indebted to respond to any or the entire subject even if you have agreed to answer to
the survey questionnaire. The personal data shall not be disclosed to anyone only the summarised
scrutiny of the survey outcome will appear in the research work. I sincerely express my thanks to you
taking part in the Survey.

87

Appendix B- Semi Structured Interview Letters to Interviewees

MBA
Invitation Letters to Interviewees for Semi Structure Interview for the Topic "Working from Home a
Social Phenomenon - An investigation into the role of technology to the success of home-based Teleworking"

Queen Margaret University, UK

Subject: Completion of Questionnaires for the final year project


Thursday 10th November, 2010
Dear Sir/ Madam,

My name is Binnies P Chacko and I am the final year student of the Masters Program at Queen
Margaret University undertaking my degree in MBA. As part of my masters program, I am carrying
out a research on Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An investigation into the role of
technology to the success of home-based Tele-working. I will be thankful for your kind
cooperation in getting a managerial perspective on the above mentioned topic through an interview.
The interview questions are attached with this letter. Your response to the 5 questions will facilitate
me in carrying out a comprehensive analysis of role of technology to the success of home-based Teleworking.
Please may I ensure you, your responses will only be used for the purpose of my project and the only
people with access to the responses provided will be myself and my supervisor. If you do not wish to
include your details, I will ensure the anonymity. To ensure full confidentiality and anonymity, the
handling of the Semi Structured Interview data adhere to the Queen Margaret Universitys ethical
examination checklist.
Thank you in advance for agreeing to contribute your valuable insights to the interview questions.
Yours truly,
Binnies P Chacko

88

Appendix B-1 Interview response on Interviewee A

MBA
"Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An investigation into the role of
technology to the success of home-based Tele-working"

Queen Margaret University, UK


Q1. How long have you been handling Tele-working and what was your experience so far?

Team Leader (A): I have been working in this position for last five years and have been managing
the project with the Tele-workers and non Tele-workers both. I have seen the Tele-working to be
useful as they are found to be more dedicated and quicker in accomplishing the task as compared to
the non Tele-workers. This could be due to no distractions which is constant in the office.

Q2. Do you think Technology has a vital role in the development of Tele-working? Please
elaborate.

Team Leader (A): Oh yes, Indeed. The Technology has just taken it swiftly to the greater heights.
Tele-working has eliminated the requirement of commuting for the accomplishment of the task and
has replaced with the Information and Communication Technology. With the help of Internet and
communication tools majority of operational functions can be achieved and that what Technology has
exactly done.

Q3. Which main technologies will you acknowledge for the success of Tele-working?

Team Leader (A): Internet, Wireless technology, Laptops, Communication tools (Mobiles, Skype,
VoIP), and Virtual tools for the transferring of the files

Q4. What are the main dynamics that promotes Tele-working?

Team Leader (A): There are many things that can be pointed out nevertheless it is highly
circumstantial and may differ from person to person. Flexibility, avoidance of commuting, less
distraction, Autonomy

Q5. What are the challenges you face as a Manager about Tele-working?

Team Leader (A): The supervision is always a concern, measuring the productivity is another area
of concern. Providing the technical support in case of technical problem with the operational tool
which can hamper the productivity if the support is not provided on time also the support can only be
provided over the phone if the instructions are not precisely followed then the resolution will not be
effective.

89

Appendix B-2 Interview response on Interviewee B

MBA
"Working from Home a Social Phenomenon - An investigation into the role of
technology to the success of home-based Tele-working"

Queen Margaret University, UK

Q1. How long have you been handling Tele-working and what was your experience so far?

Team Leader (B): I have been associated with Tele-working for a long time and I have enjoyed
working as a Tele-worker and now managing the Team of Tele-worker is exciting and challenging.
Tele-working is cost effective and also with off shoring the operations for massive organizations can
be converted into 24/7 with much lesser cost. Productivity is also comparatively better than the non
Tele-working staff.
Q2. Do you think Technology has a vital role in the development of Tele-working? Please
elaborate.

Team Leader (B): Yes I agree that as technology has revolutionised the entire world so also it has
positively impacted the Tele-working. The advancement of the Information Technology and the
communication technology has brought about a massive transformation in the Tele-working.
Availability of wireless broadband connections and the Laptops are other major contributors in the
possibility of working on the move as well as working from home.
Q3. Which main technologies will you acknowledge for the success of Tele-working?

Team Leader (B): Developments in the Information Technology and Communication sector are the
main broad technological areas that can be attributed for the expansion of Tele-working. The free
software that enable people to communicate (Voice & Video) and the advancement in the computing
world are key aspects. Broadband and wireless technology plays the most significant part as well.
Q4. What are the main dynamics that promotes Tele-working?

Team Leader (B): The main dynamic can be attributed to the intrinsic values and benefits a
Tele-worker can achieve through Tele-working. Work and family balance, flexibility, away
from office politics, no travel are some of the other causes for people embracing Tele-work
however there may be more depending on the individuals.
Q5. What are the challenges you face as a Manager about Tele-working?

Team Leader (B): Communication is a concern, mainly because you cant see the person
whom you are communicating and hence you cant see the body language of the person.
Appraisal, supervision and monitoring of the Tele-worker are also key concerns. Meeting the
deadlines and completing the projects assigned is the main expectation laid on the Teleworkers. Providing support is another area which is time consuming.

90