Distributed work entails the conduct of organizational tasks in places that extend beyond the confines of traditional offices or workspaces. It can refer to organizational arrangements that permit or require workers to perform work more effectively at any appropriate location—such as their homes or customers' sites—through the application of information and communication technology. An example is financial planners who meet clients during the client's lunchtime at the client's workplace; even though this is an out-of-the-office, meeting, the Internet enables the planner to present financial planning tools and presentations on their mobile computers. Another example is a publishing executives who recommends books and places orders for the latest book offerings to libraries and university professors from the executive's home using e-mail or an online system. If this type of distributed work replaces the worker's commute, it would be considered telecommuting. If not, it would be telework (see §1. Definition).
For companies, telecommuting expands the talent pool, reduces the spread of illness, reduces costs including real-estate footprint, increases productivity, reduces their carbon footprint and energy usage, offers a means of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and possibly earning a tax credit, if they're American, reduces turnover and absenteeism, improves employee morale, enhances continuity-of-operations strategies, improves their ability to handle business across multiple time zones, and augments their cultural adaptability. Some estimates suggest that full-time telework can save companies approximately $20,000 per employee.
1. What They Do With Your Data: Find out what kind of data is collected, how that data is used, how long the company retains it and whom the company shares it with, Mr. Bischoff said. “Giving up your privacy to a data-collection company should not be done lightly,” he warned. “Both iOS and Android alert users when an app asks for a new permission.” That might be permission to access your location, photos or contacts, for example. “Think about whether that permission is really necessary for the app to work or if it’s just using that permission to mine more personal data,” he said.
Work as an online interpreter or translator. If you’re fluent in a foreign language, it makes sense to look for work as an online interpreter or translator. Depending on your individual skillset, you could find work translating blog posts or eBooks, transcribing recorded lessons or speeches for clients, or translating through Skype or another online video service. And, thanks to the increased use of foreign languages in the United States, getting started could really pay off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for interpreters and translators is expected to increase 17% nationally through 2026.
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Some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of telecommuting can be explained by job characteristic theory, which proposes that the traits and tasks of the job itself affect employees’ work attitudes and behavior. If five characteristics of a job are present (skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback), then the employee in that job will experience more internal work motivation, satisfaction with personal growth opportunities, general job satisfaction, higher job performance, and lower absenteeism and turnover. Many studies have provided evidence that job characteristics influence employees’ behaviors and attitudes. Additionally, job characteristics can interact with individual differences to impact employee attitudes and behavior. Of these five job characteristics, telework specifically changes autonomy and feedback compared to face-to-face work and can thus influence employees’ behaviors and attitudes. According to Job Characteristics Theory, changes in autonomy and feedback influence work behaviors and attitudes more than a change in skill variety, task identity, or task significance.
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