Telecommunting: The Problems & Challenges During Covid-19 (2020)

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Telecommunting: The Problems & Challenges During Covid-19 (2020)

Dr. Rushina Khan *

Deogiri Institute of Management Studies

Dr. Siddiqui Lubna Javed Hasan**

Millennium Institute of Management

Abstract: The Telecommuting concept is not a recent trend in India. The idea has developed since Work from Home seen as the new element in human resource strategy. Flexible employment can be implemented in India by considering technology, rules set up by employers and employees preference. Telecommuting, where individuals primarily work from sites that are miles away from central offices, is making inroads into Indias work practices. This practice carries several promises but also confronts many hurdles in its adoption.

The paper specially focus on the problems and challenges of telecommuting during this crucial period of COVID 19 where every employee is forced to work from home . The major problems it confronts include structural and cultural issues such as lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of motivation and organizational culture of command and control along with household congestion and non reliability. This article also proposes numerous conceivable arrangements & recommendations to empower working from home.

Keywords: Telecommuting, Technology, COVID 19, congestion, internet connectivity

  1. INTRODUCTION

    Telework is variously referred to as telecommuting, work from home, e-work, virtual work, and remote work, distance working, distributed work, work shifting or flexible working. Telecommuting is the act of working at a remote location, usually at home, rather than traveling to and from an office. Telecommuters typically telecommute one to three days a week and commute to the office for the balance of the time. The advantages of Telecommuting for employees are decrease in time and stress of commuting in congested areas and increase in flexibility in coping with family demands. But the potential drawbacks may be absence of social contact what the normal office provides. Technology development in India is in line with Indias goal to attain high income status in 2024. High technology is a priority to India to improve the economic growth. India rose from 48th put in 2018 to 44th rank this year as the nation has progressed generally in all components information, innovation and future preparation as compared to the previous year's ranking. India has advanced four places to 44th position in terms of digital competitiveness in the world as the country has made improvement in terms of knowledge and future readiness to adopt and explore digital technologies, according to a global report. The increasing of smart phone users allows them to communicate through email, online message and video.

    "India advanced four places to 44th position in 2019, with the biggest improvement in the technology sub-factor level, holding first position in telecommunications investment," according to the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2019 (WDCR). The US was ranked as the world's most digitally competitive economy, followed by Singapore in the second place. Sweden was ranked third on the list, followed by Denmark and Switzerland in the 4th and 5th place, respectively.

  2. OBJECTIVE OF STUDY:

    1. To study telecommuting and its overall impact on behavior of employees during Covid-19.

    2. To study the problems and challenges they faced during this quarantine/lockdown period.

    3. To study the various factors that helped them to work effectively.

  3. HYPOTHESIS:

    Hypothesis No. 1

    H0: There is unfavorable relationship between High Performance and poor internet connection. H1: There is favorable relationship between High Performance and poor internet connection.

    Hypothesis No. 2

    H0: There is no significant relationship of household congestion (noise) and having kids H1: There is a significant relationship of household congestion (noise) and having kids.

  4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

    This study further dealt with sample, research tools, and administration of the tools and analysis of data. An incidental sample of 200 respondents was collected from the full time working professionals. Care was taken that tests must be reliable and valid to a considerable extent. The paper deals with the analytical study using mean, ANOVA & Chi square analysis.

  5. LITERATURE REVIEW

    1. Acharya, P., Mahanty, B. (2007). Manpower shortage crisis in Indian information technology industry, Indian IT industry has drawn attention of the world for its spectacular growth over last decade. Concurrent emergence of global economy and boom in Information Technology industry has brought unexpected opportunity for India. Because of a variety of reasons, Indian IT industry has become globally competitive and a frontrunner in software services exports. However India's position as a leading IT nation could be seriously endangered soon for want of adequate skilled manpower. This paper assesses the manpower scenario of India's IT industry and its effect on the industry's long term prospects.

    2. André Fernandes Bernardino I; Karina De Déa Roglio II; Jansen Maia Del Corso III (August-2012), this article is to identify guidelines for the implementation and management of telecommuting, as an alternative to overcome the shortage of qualified professionals in Information Technology (IT). The results, based on a case study of a Brazilian subsidiary of a multinational organization that provides IT services, show that telecommuting (1) contributes to attracting and retaining qualified professionals in IT, (2) should be based on trustworthy relationships, (3) has to be supported by a strategy of decentralization of both structure and organizational assets.

    3. Bailey, D.E., Kurland, N.B. (2002). A review of Telework research, findings, new directions, and lessons for the study of modern work., this paper focuses on Telework has inspired research in disciplines ranging from transportation and urban planning to ethics, law, sociology, and organizational studies. In our review of this literature, we seek answers to three questions: who participates in telework, why they do, and what happens when they do? Who teleworks remains elusive, but research suggests that male professionals and female clerical workers predominate. We suggest three steps for future research may provide richer insights: consider group and organizational level impacts to understand who telework affects, reconsider why people telework, and emphasize theorybuilding and links to existing organizational theories.

    4. Golden, T.D., Veiga, J.F. (2005). The impact of extent of telecommuting on job satisfaction: Resolving inconsistent findings, Journal of Management, in this study, the authors attempt to resolve these inconsistent findings by hypothesizing a curvilinear, inverted U-shaped relationship between the extent of telecommuting and job satisfaction. Using hierarchical regression analysis on a sample of 321 professional-level employees, their findings suggest a curvilinear link between extent of telecommuting and job satisfaction, with satisfaction appearing to plateau at more extensive levels of telecommuting.

    5. According to Mamaghani, Farrokh (2012), Telecommuting has attracted a lot of attention over the past decade due to its impact on its workers, businesses, and society. Telecommuting can be defined as the practice of working from remote locations using the information and telecommunications technology (ICT). The terms telecomuting and telework can be used interchangeably.

  6. DATA ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATIONS

    Sr.no.

    Demographic Characteristics

    Frequency

    Percentage

    1

    Age-Group

    18-25

    76

    38%

    25-35

    61

    30.50%

    35-45

    43

    21.50%

    45-55

    16

    8.00%

    55 & Above

    4

    2.00%

    2

    Gender

    Male

    135

    67.50%

    Female

    65

    32.50%

    3

    Marital Status

    Single

    103

    51.50%

    Married

    97

    48.50%

    4

    Education

    HSC

    7

    3.5%

    Graduation

    47

    23.50%

    PG

    126

    63.00%

    Others

    20

    10.00%

    5

    Occupation

    Private

    120

    60.0%

    Government

    14

    7.00%

    Students

    32

    16.00%

    Others

    34

    17.00%

    6

    Annual Income

    150000-250000

    85

    42.5%

    250001-350000

    31

    15.50%

    350001-450000

    22

    11.00%

    450001 & Above

    62

    31.00%

    TOTAL

    200

    100

    Sources: Primary dataNote: Total Number of Respondent(T.N.R)

    Interpretations:

    Table 1 reveals that general profile of respondents in the study area. As regards the age of the responders 38% of the respondents are aged 18-25 group, 31% respondents are from 25-35 age group, 21 % respondents are from 35-45 age group , 8 % from 45-55 age group and 2% respondents from 55 & above.

    An analysis of gender classification reveals that 68% approximately from male and 32% respondents are female. The study reveals that 49% are married. An analysis of education qualification revealed that about 4% respondents are higher secondary level, about 86% respondents ranging from graduate and Post graduate level. Others are stated to be Doctorate and post doctorate. An empirical classification and its analysis revealed that 60% respondents are employed in some private organization, 7 % respondents are government employees and 33% are from students and others respectively.

    An analysis of their income revealed that about 43% respondents annual income is between 1.5lac-2.5lac and 31% respondents were found to have annual income of 450000 above.

    Q1. Self Motivation while working at Home

    Sr.no.

    Parameters

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    Neutral

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    TOTAL

    1

    Feel Self motivated while working from home (telecommuting) for first week

    69

    48

    36

    24

    23

    200

    Feel Self motivated while working from home (telecommuting) for second week

    24

    89

    39

    35

    13

    200

    Feel Self motivated while working from home (telecommuting) after 15 days

    30

    50

    21

    27

    72

    200

    Total Average of the samples

    41

    62

    32

    29

    36

    200

    Source: Primary Data (T.N.R)- March 2020

    Self motivation whileTelecommuting

    62

    41

    32 29 36

    62

    41

    32 29 36

    80

    60

    40

    20

    0

    Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree

    Interpretation:

    From the above table, it can be revealed that in first week the employees were strongly agreeing on telecommuting, in the second week they were agreeing and after 15 days employees were strongly disagreeing from working at home due to many reasons.

    It can be inferred on the basis of the averages of the sample, the majority of respondents were read to work from home due to the health issues that population is facing due to COVID-19.

    Q2. Organizational Skills & Job Description

    Sr.no.

    Parameters

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    Neutral

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    TOTAL

    1

    High level of job knowledge and skill is required for telecommuting

    48

    76

    24

    30

    22

    200

    2

    It gives me Independence & confidence

    39

    81

    33

    27

    20

    200

    3

    Provides Comfort with solitude

    54

    69

    41

    22

    14

    200

    AVERAGE

    47

    75

    33

    26

    19

    200

    Source: Primary Data (T.N.R)- March 2020

    Organisational Skills & Job Description

    80

    75

    75

    70

    60

    47

    47

    50

    40

    33

    33

    26

    26

    30

    20

    10 19

    0

    Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly

    Disagree

    Interpretation:

    It was observed that 47% of respondents strongly agree that telecommuting has improved organizational skills & job description, 75 % have agreed, 33% are neutral, 26% have disagreed and 19% have strongly disagreed.

    Q3. Time Management & Reliability

    Sr.no.

    Parameters

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    Neutral

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    TOTAL

    1

    Help me in Time mgt & organization skills

    41

    58

    48

    31

    22

    200

    2

    p>Level of Concentration increases

    29

    50

    49

    48

    24

    200

    3

    Help build Strong communication skills

    29

    61

    56

    36

    18

    200

    4

    telecommuting has helped me to spend more time on my objectives and tasks

    21

    80

    41

    34

    24

    200

    5

    Reduces Trustworthiness and reliability

    34

    67

    57

    26

    16

    200

    AVERAGES

    31

    63

    50

    35

    21

    200

    Source: Primary Data (T.N.R)- March 2020

    Time Manageament & Reliability

    70

    60

    50

    40

    30 63

    50

    20 31 35

    10 21

    0

    Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly

    Disagree

    Interpretation:

    It was interpreted that telecommuting has helped the respondents in time management, Increase in concentration, spending more time on objectives but reduces trustworthiness & Reliability.

    Q4. Team Spirit & Problems faced while telecommuting

    Sr.no.

    Parameters

    Strongly Agree

    Agree

    Neutral

    Disagree

    Strongly Disagree

    TOTAL

    1

    Lack of team spirit

    58

    65

    38

    17

    22

    200

    2

    Finding it difficult to follow a disciplined work routine

    56

    65

    50

    13

    16

    200

    3

    Feeling of disconnectedness from workplace arises

    60

    59

    46

    21

    14

    200

    4

    Lack of stationery and equipments (printers etc.) creates problems

    72

    49

    29

    26

    24

    200

    5

    Increased level of irritation due to lack of face to face meetings

    47

    50

    50

    25

    28

    200

    AVERAGES

    59

    57

    43

    20

    21

    200

    Source: Primary Data (T.N.R)- March 2020

    Team Spirit & Problems Faced while Telecommuting

    70

    57

    57

    60

    50

    43

    43

    40

    30 59

    20

    10 20 21

    0

    Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly

    Disagree

    Interpretation:

    It was interpreted that majority of respondents strongly agree that telecommuting lacks team spirit, its difficult to follow a disciplined work routine, feel disconnected from workplace & irritation due to lack of face to face meeting

    Hypothesis No. 1

    H0: There is unfavorable relationship between High Performance and poor internet connection. H1: There is favorable relationship between High Performance and poor internet connection.

    ANOVA

    Source of Variation

    Sum of Squares

    Degree of Freedom

    Mean Square

    F-Ratio

    Between Samples

    3824

    4

    956

    5.9

    Within samples

    1296

    8

    162

    Interpretation:

    From the above table, for 4 degree of freedom between the samples & 8 degree of freedom within the sample, the critical value of F at 5% of level of significance is 3.84. The calculated value is greater than the table value i.e. 5.90 > 3.84. Therefore the null hypothesis is rejected.

    It can be inferred, that there is a favorable relationship between high performance and poor internet connection.

    Hypothesis No. 2

    H0: There is no significant difference of household congestion (noise) and having kids H1: There is a significant relationship of household congestion (noise) and having kids.

    Contingency Table of Observed Frequency

    Sr.no.

    No. of Kids

    Yes

    No

    Total

    1

    NIL

    56

    52

    108

    2

    ONE

    25

    14

    39

    3

    TWO

    39

    4

    43

    4

    THREE

    8

    2

    10

    Total

    128

    72

    200

    Sr.no.

    No. of Kids

    Yes

    No

    Total

    1

    Nil

    69.12

    38.88

    108

    2

    One

    24.96

    14.04

    39

    3

    Two

    27.52

    15.48

    43

    4

    Three

    6.4

    3.6

    10

    Total

    128

    72

    200

    Sr.no.

    No. of Kids

    Yes

    No

    Total

    1

    Nil

    69.12

    38.88

    108

    2

    One

    24.96

    14.04

    39

    3

    Two

    27.52

    15.48

    43

    4

    Three

    6.4

    3.6

    10

    Total

    128

    72

    200

    Expected Frequencies = Row Total x Column Total/ Grand Total Contingency Table of Expected Frequency

    Chi square Calculation: – 2

    Computation of Value of Chi-Square

    O

    E

    O-E

    (O-E)2/E

    176

    187.95

    -13.12

    2.49

    15

    12.75

    0.04

    0

    344

    327.57

    11.48

    4.78

    2

    8.72

    1.6

    0.4

    104

    92.05

    13.12

    4.42

    4

    6.24

    -0.04

    0

    144

    160.43

    -11.48

    8.5

    11

    4.27

    -1.6

    0.71

    21.3

    Source: Online Survey- March (2020)

    = ( ) ÷ = 21.3

    Degree of Freedom df = (3-1) * (2-1) Df = 2

    Level of significance: a = 5% = 5.991

    The table value of chi square for two degree of freedom at 5% level of significace is 5.991. The calculated value of chi square is

      1. more than the table value, hence null hypothesis is rejected. It means there is significant relationship of household congestion (noise) and having kids. It can be inferred as a matter of fact that factual information in table also shows that there is a significant difference of household congestion (noise) and having kids in home.

  7. CONCLUSIONS

    From the above data it is concluded that people during times of COVID 19 are not very satisfied with telecommuting. They face many problems of lack of motivation (specially in third week of telecommuting), reduction in trustworthiness, lacking team spirit, difficulty in following a disciplined work routine, feeling of disconnectedness from workplace, problems due to lack of equipments & irritation due to lack of face to face meeting.

    It was also concluded that poor internet connection affects performance and kids at home can be a source of household congestion (noise)

    Few advantages include reduced traffic congestion and commuter hassles, higher productivity and better workfamily balance

  8. RECOMMENDATIONS:

        1. The right of Telecommuting to be kept informed of their specific conditions of employment;

        2. The application of national laws and regulations concerning minimum age for admission to employment;

        3. The fixing of minimum rates of wages for telecommuters;

        4. The protection of occupational safety and health;

        5. Hours of work, rest periods and leave;

        6. Social security and maternity protection;

        7. Protection in the case of termination of employment;

        8. Support of training and other programmes specifically targeted at telecommuters.

  9. REFERENCES

  1. Acharya, P., Mahanty, B. (2007). Manpower shortage crisis in Indian information technology industry. International Journal of Technology Management, 38(3), 235247.

  2. André Fernandes Bernardino I; Karina De Déa Roglio II; Jansen Maia Del Corso III (August-2012).

  3. Bailey, D.E., Kurland, N.B. (2002). A review of telework research, findings, new directions, and lessons for the study of modern work. Journal of Organization Behavior, 23(4), 383400.

  4. Golden, T.D., Veiga, J.F. (2005). The impact of extent of telecommuting on job satisfaction: Resolving inconsistent findings, Journal of Management, 31(2), 301318..

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