Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

December 31, 2012

How telecommuting threatens the work/life balance

(Continued)

What also doesn't get nearly enough attention is just what it takes to make telecommuters stay on task. As a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal reveals, more and more firms that have embraced full telecommuting are relying on new and sophisticated tools of surveillance to ensure that their employees are not slacking off. The employers might be taking screenshots of their computer activity or checking their browser history (while also monitoring how much time their telecommuting employees spend on each site). If employees are using their home computers for work, their privacy — and that of their relatives — might be collateral damage: Would their employers also peek, if only accidentally, at what they are browsing during the nonworking hours?

Somehow, what was supposed to be an "electronic cottage" has become an "electronic sweatshop." It's not just surveillance — it's that many employees who telecommute only occasionally end up doing far more work than before their "emancipation." This, at any rate, is what a recent study published in Monthly Labor Review, a publication of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, suggests.

Relying on two data-comprehensive sources (the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 panel and special supplements from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey), the study has traced the evolution of telecommuting practices in the United States in the last few decades. It contains many surprising nuggets.

For instance, it seems that telecommuters (which this study defines as "employees who work regularly, but not exclusively, at home," with or without technology or special arrangement with their employer) are less likely to be married. So much for Toffler's "glued families." But the most interesting finding is that telecommuting, instead of restoring work/life balance, may have resulted in workers doing more work — but from home. As the authors put it, one plausible interpretation of their findings might be that "telecommuting has become instrumental in the general expansion of work hours, facilitating workers' needs for additional work time beyond the standard workweek and/or the ability of employers to increase or intensify work demands among their salaried employees."

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Clinton coming to eastern Kentucky to stump for Grimes

    By RONNIE ELLIS
    CNHI News Service

    GLASGOW — Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is again calling in the “Big Dog” in her quest to unseat five-term Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

    July 27, 2014

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks