Although the concepts of "telecommuting" and "telework" are closely related, there is a difference between the two. All types of technology-assisted work conducted outside a centrally located work space (including work undertaken in the home, outside calls, etc.) are regarded as telework. Telecommuters often maintain a traditional office and usually work from an alternative work site from 1 to 3 days a week. Telecommuting refers more specifically to work undertaken at a location that reduces commuting time. These locations can be inside the home or at some other remote workplace, which is facilitated through a broadband connection, computer or phone lines, or any other electronic media used to interact and communicate. As a broader concept than telecommuting, telework has four dimensions in its definitional framework: work location, that can be anywhere outside a centralized organizational work place; usage of ICTs (information and communication technologies) as technical support for telework; time distribution, referring to the amount of time replaced in the traditional workplace; and the diversity of employment relationships between employer and employee, ranging from contract work to traditional full-time employment.
According to an article from New York Times, telecommuting now takes about 2.6 percent of the American workforce not including remote works like drivers. The article also mentions an experiment done by Nicholas Bloom. Nicholas Bloom is an economics professor from Stanford University. During this experiment, 250 workers were picked randomly from Ctrip to work either at home or at an office. Ctrip is a large China travel agency. The result showed that those who telecommuted worked longer hours than those who worked at an office. The telecommuters were also more productive and happier. Ctrip saved around 2K from telecommuting. Although the quitting rate decreased for telecommuters, the promotion rate also decreased. Many telecommuters asked to be back in the office at the end with reasoning like loneliness and desire for promotion. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, came to the conclusion that most workers prefer telecommuting and office work combined. Telecommuting increases efficiency and workers’ flexibility. America has an increasing trend of using teleworking due to its strong economics and multimedia services. Among the top 10 telecommuter countries, U.S is ranked number one; however, developing countries like China is also catching up to the trend. An article from money.163.com states that the number of telecommuters in the Asia pacific region exceeds region like America, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific region has about 37% telecommuters while the others have about 23-4%.[dubious – discuss] Chinese citizens also favor the combination of telecommuting and office work due to reason like disturbance at work and increase in flexibility. Not all workers have the chance to telecommute. One of the ethical issues behind telecommuting is who should have the chance to telecommute? One may have more chance to work at home because he/she has young children. The other one may argue he/she also has personal problems. It is favored by most workers to combine telecommuting and office work. Many think that telecommuting once or twice a week is a reasonable schedule. Businesses also favor this suggestion because workers are more satisfied and companies save money from it.
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