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telecommuting, an arrangement by which people work at home using a computer and telephone, accessing work-related materials at a business office, or transmitting materials to an office, by means of a Internet connection; it is also known as telework. Telecommuting hours can range from the occasional morning or afternoon to nearly full-time work. Although the term "telecommuting" was coined in the early 1970s, the practice only became popular in the 1990s as personal computers became more affordable and the Internet became more accessible. Initially conducted using a modem and telephone lines, telecommuting was made more feasible by cable and fiber-optic Internet connections. The development of lightweight portable computers and, later, smart phones also increased the ease of telecommuting. Government agencies and environmental groups have encouraged telecommuting because it reduces pollution, saves gasoline, and creates a less congested commuting environment. Companies have used telecommuting as a way of keeping valued employees who might otherwise be lost due to relocation or commuting stress. Although some people feel they can be more productive when working at home, others prefer an office environment.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Managing Teleworkers and Telecommuting Strategies
Gina Vega.
Praeger, 2003
Telecommuting in the 21st Century: Benefits, Issues, and a Leadership Model Which Will Work
Gibson, Jane Whitney; Blackwell, Charles W.; Dominicis, Peter; Demerath, Nicole.
Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 8, No. 4, Spring 2002
Telecommuting: The New Wave of Workplace Technology Will Create a Flood of Change in Social Institutions
Raines, J. Patrick; Leathers, Charles G.
Journal of Economic Issues, Vol. 35, No. 2, June 2001
Telecommuting's Impact on Corporate Culture and Individual Workers: Examining the Effect of Employee Isolation
Gainey, Thomas W.; Kelley, Donald E.; Hill, Joseph A.
SAM Advanced Management Journal, Vol. 64, No. 4, Autumn 1999
The Flexible Workplace: A Sourcebook of Information and Research
Christine Avery; Diane Zabel.
Quorum Books, 2001
Developing Successful Organizational Telecommuting Arrangements: Worker Perceptions and Managerial Prescriptions
Hartman, Richard I.; Stoner, Charles R.; Arora, Raj.
SAM Advanced Management Journal, Vol. 57, No. 3, Summer 1992
Integrating Work and Family: Challenges and Choices for a Changing World
Jeffrey H. Greenhaus; Saroj Parasuraman.
Praeger, 1999
E-Sphere: The Rise of the World-Wide Mind
Joseph N. Pelton.
Quorum Books, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The World of Telecommuting: Electronic Immigrants and Teleworkers Unite"
Technology, Employed Mothers, and Corporate Colonization of the Lifeworld: A Gendered Paradox of Work and Family Balance
Edley, Paige P.
Women and Language, Vol. 24, No. 2, Fall 2001
Gender and Home-Based Employment
Charles B. Hennon; Suzanne Loker; Rosemary Walker.
Auburn House, 2000
Teleworking in the Public Sector: A Four-Part Series to Help Federal Managers Implement New Requirements by Congress for Enabling 100 Percent of Eligible Agency Employees to Telecommute by 2004. (the Evolving Workplace)
West, Harriet.
The Public Manager, Vol. 30, No. 3, Fall 2001
Teleworking in the Public Sector: Results of a Recent Federal Government Study on Home-Based Telework Technology Barriers and Efforts at the Department of the Treasury to Provide Employees with Remote Access Capabilities. (the Evolving Workplace)
West, Harriet.
The Public Manager, Vol. 31, No. 2, Summer 2002
Telework and Social Change: How Technology Is Reshaping the Boundaries between Home and Work
Nicole B. Ellison.
Praeger, 2004
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