Webconferencing and telecommuting
Webconferencing and telecommuting
Telecommutingis a work arrangement whereby employees work without commuting to acentral workplace. Many telecommuters work from their home places.However, there are others called nomad workers. They make use ofmobile telecommunications technology to discharge their obligations.Web conferencing, on the other hand, is a service that enablesconferencing proceedings to be shared with faraway locations. Webconferencing works hand in hand with the telecommuting technology.The telecommuters can communicate with their workmates through webconferencing since they work from their homes. Web conferencing isapplied to events such as training, lectures, and meetings as well asbrief presentations from computers. Many companies have adopted theuse of web solutions to give room for their employees to telecommute.This has become beneficial to both the employees as well as theorganization at large (Amigoni, 2010).
Webconferencing, as well as telecommuting technologies, were enhanced bythe development of internetworking. This internetworking developmenttook place in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The development allowedmultiple networks to be joined to form a network of networks. Thisclearly shows that the web conferencing has its roots in the year1970s. The installation of the web conferencing and telecommutingtechnology might seem high. However, when a comparative analysis isdone of the installation cost and the cost save that will be impactedreveals the necessity of employing the technology. The study was doneconducted in America comprising of two companies which held meetingin two different ways. One company used web conferencing while theother session was carried out at the customer’s site (Henderson,2009).
Thestudy indicated that the meeting conducted at a costumer’s siteexpenses amounted to 455 USD per meeting as opposed to the onlinemeeting that had expenses of 26.4 USD per meeting. The customer’ssite expenses include the cost of time during the travel period whichamounted to 240 USD, travel cost of 200 USD and the meeting roomexpenses of 15 USD. The online meeting expenses included the cost ofonline meeting which amounted to 14.4 USD and 12 USD of cost of theconference call. This reveals that web conferencing is much moreeconomical as opposed to physical meeting. The overall costing of webconferencing varies from one service provider to the other. Forinstance, cisco charges 49 USD per month or 468 USD. Watchitoo, onthe other hand, charges 39 USD of a service holding up to 25peope permonth and 49 USD for a large group of people (Avery & Zabel,2000).
Therea number of benefits attributed to using the web conferencing andtelecommuting technology. The technology allows for a better judgmentsomeone’s reactions especially in a meeting context. The webconferencing gives an excellent coverage of the meeting participantshence one can manage to understand the counterparts’ reactionstowards the subject matter. The technology also plays a veryessential role in time saving. The technology eliminates the need fortraveling from one area to the other so as to serve the purpose be itmeeting or even working. It allows individuals to discharge theirduties from their homes hence saving them time. Time saving can alsobe attributed to an increase in productivity since the time thatwould have been spent traveling will be used in doing someconstructive production work (Amigoni, 2010).
Thetechnology also helps in saving money. This happens to both theemployees as well as the organizations. For example, when a givencompany remote workers will be required to hold regular meeting todiscuss projects. The web conferencing in such a scenario will helpthe organization in saving the organization cash that would have beenspent in paying meeting rooms, accommodation, as well astransportation. The fact that someone can work from the comfort ofhis or her home help the employees to save commuting expenses. Thetechnology also allows work to be done at any time. This is a vitalaspect since it helps in improving response to emergencies. One canrespond to an emergency as soon as possible from wherever he or sheis at any time. The technology also helps in making it possible towork for prolonged times without much fatigue. The aspect, therefore,not only helps in responding to emergency but also helps the companyto increase its production (Avery & Zabel, 2000).
Theweb conferencing and telecommuting technology has its roots in 1970s.However, the technology has been under development slowly by slowly.Telecommuting started being employed in organizations in early 1980s.In this period, home workers and branch offices were able to reachtheir organizational mainframes through their personal terminalemulation and computers. Currently, approximately 40% of the Americanworking population can work from their homes at least part of theirwhole job time. This shows that people have hugely adopted thetechnology. This shows that in five or ten years to come most of theorganizations will be using web conferencing and telecommutingtechnology. The constant advancement in technology will partlycontribute to the huge adoption of the technology as well as peoplerealizing the benefits attributed to the technology (Henderson,2009).
Thetechnology maintenance is cheap and economical. First of all, all theemployees need to have the knowledge of how the technology works.They also need to have the right hard wares and soft wares. The hardwares include devices that can support the system such as computers.These hard wares need to have softwares that can allow the targetedgroup to remain interconnected. The technology also requires thesupport of the service provider. The services providers includeorganizations such as cisco which request some payments from theorganization so as to enable support their network. Technologyadvances day after the other. Every organization has an obligation ofupdating the technology so as to keep it up to date. The customersattain the service through gaining a live coverage of meeting fromtheir computers, iPods, and other devices. This is enabled by webcamspresent in their devices. From their areas, the customers cancontribute to the coverage be it verbally or even instant messaging.However, for one to be able to be accommodated he has to beincorporated in the network (UNESST & Kim, 2011).
Positiveresponses concerning the technology have been achieved from both theusers and the experts. Because the technology has enabled the usersto use to work without traveling to centralized workplaces have madeemployees applaud the technology. Many users noted that working hasbecome not easy and convenient but also enjoyable. Many users alsoindicated that it has helped them to cater for their familiescomprehensively while still working. The experts remarked that thisis the technology that every business needs to employ. This is moreso due to the economic advantages attributed to the technology.However, they advised the users that they have to use it controllablyto help them from facing the adverse effects of the technology(Spielman & Winfeld, 2003).
Theweb conferencing and the telecommuting work through a networkconnectivity. Web conferencing makes it possible for a company tocombine the benefits of a normal phone conversation and those of avideo feed that is live effectively. The technology enables chatsthrough instant messaging (IM) during the web conferencing. Thissimply mean that one can type communicate and text verbally to othermembers of the conference. With prompt access to the internet, onecan access any files that are essential right of his or her desktop.They can also share these files with others members of the conferencein the real time (Zetlin, 2001).
Theweb conferencing also allows for manipulating and sharing of almostevery document and program. For instance, one can share a wordprocessed document with the boss or one can read through a particularspreadsheet with his or her accounting manager easily. One can alsoview or share presentations, programs as well as other materials withall the company’s workers. During the web conferences, one can gainan opportunity of allowing remote access to his or her desktop toother participants. This indicates that people can obtain anyinformation and make any adjustments necessary without meeting(Amigoni, 2010).
Thetechnology has pros as well as cons attributed to it. One of the prosof the technology is that it eliminates the need for spending time aswell as money traveling to meetings. The technology allows people tomake their contribution from their distinctive areas thus saving themtime and traveling cost. The technology also offers the consumers toremain in touch with his or her friends as well family members. Theycan perform their organizational roles from their homes as far as inanother country. The technology has helped the organizations toregister increased production since commuting time becomestransformed to the production time. The technology also provides abetter balance of personal pursuits and work (Hanson & Giuliano,2004).
Onthe other hand, the technology holds a number of disadvantages. Thebusiness level conferencing facilities can be expensive. This isbecause meeting needs essential software and hardware which might notbe affordable to all workers. Similarly, the organization responsiblewill pay heavily for these expenses. Even with fast connections,delays are likely to take place during the conferencing session. Thisshows that the web conferencing is not perfectly effective. In casethe hardware breaks down for a particular participant, he or she willseize from attending the meeting. The technology creates lesspersonal contact of employees with coworkers and managers thushindering effective communication (UNESST & Kim, 2011).
Forweb conferencing and telecommuting to be effective, there arenecessary hardware and software that every participant needs to have.Every participant need to possess an electronic device which canaccess network. These include desktops, laptops, iPhones and iPodsamong others. These devices have to be installed with webcams. Thedevices have to be able to be incorporated in a particular internetprotocol. The devices also need software that will enhancecommunication among the participants. A perfect example of suchsoftware is Skype and eRoom. The Skype enables participants to holdmeeting from far apart though one can view his or her partners. Italso has a provision for chatting instantaneously. E-room, on theother hand, helps people to share documents, files, as well as trackprojects (Zetlin, 2001).
Theconsumers, however, need to gain training on basic hardware andsoftware troubleshooting and primary internet or network connectivitytroubleshooting. They also need to be trained on PC security whichincludes VPN, anti-malware, anti-spyware and anti-virus. They alsoneed to get training on new telecommunication developments. The webconferencing and telecommuting technology effectiveness can be ratedas 75%. This is on the basis of the benefits attributed to the systemas opposed to its disadvantages. Also, the rating is throughanalyzing consumer’s satisfaction in reference to the system(Hanson & Giuliano, 2004).
Inconclusion, web conferencing and telecommuting technology is a goodway to go for organizations. The organizations need to adopt thetechnology so as to enjoy the advantages attributed to it. However,they need to ensure all the employees have the essential knowledgeconcerning the technology so as to make it effective. They also needto develop ways to ensure that the cons of the technology will notimpact adverse effects on the organization.
Amigoni,M. (2010). Managingthe Telecommuting Employee: Set Goals, Monitor Progress, and MaximizeProfit and Productivity.Cincinnati: F+W Media.
Avery,C., & Zabel, D. (2000). Theflexible workplace: A sourcebook of information and research.Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.
Hanson,S., & Giuliano, G. (2004). Thegeography of urban transportation.New York: The Guilford Press.
Henderson,H. (2009). Encyclopediaof computer science and technology.New York: Facts On File.
Spielman,S., & Winfeld, L. (2003). TheWeb conferencing book: Understand the technology, choose the rightvendors, software, and equipment, start saving time and money today!.New York: AMACOM.
UNESST(Conference), & Kim, T. (2011). U-and e-service, science and technology: International conferences,UNESST 2011, held as part of the Future Generation InformationTechnology Conference, FGIT 2011, Jeju Island, Korea, December 8-10,2011.Berlin: Springer.
Zetlin,M. (2001). Telecommutingfor dummies.New York, NY: Hungry Minds.