Work-life balance: Are the blurring lines a growing problem or a new reality



Work-life balance: Are the blurring lines a growing problem or a new reality?

I.                   Introduction

Since the mid 1990’s there has been a drastic increase in the number of American employees that work from a remote office in full or part time capacity. While this has a large potential to benefit companies in a variety of ways; there have been a number of other issues caused by this practice. Some of these would include finding a balance between work and home and a loss of positive feelings of job stability. While remote office workers or telecommuters are becoming more attentive and productive when it comes to work related activities; their home lives and family relationships are suffering in a way having never been seen before in American history.

II.                The Introduction of Telecommuting into the American Workplace

A.                Government Initiatives in the 1970-80

B.                  The Clean Air Act of 1990 and 1996 amendments

A.                 AT&T and the collaborative efforts of various Government Agencies

III.             The Typical Remote Office Experience

A.                Advantages for employers to promote telecommuting

1.                  Cost saving due to a reduction in required office space

2.                  Increased productivity from a reduction in work related distractions

3.                  Increased applicant pool since you don’t need to be in the same city   

B.                 Disadvantages for employers that come with telecommuting

1.                  Lack of oversight

2.                  Diminished productivity due to poor time management of employees

3.                  Erosion of company culture and morale

4.                  Loss of “brainstorming” ability

C.                Advantages from an employee’s perspective

1.                  Reduced transportation expenses and time

2.                  The ability to concentrate on work related tasks with a reduction in distractions

3.                  More flexibility

D.                Disadvantages employee

1.                  Lack of connectivity or social interaction with fellow workers

2.                  Potential lack of direction from supervisor

3.                  Feeling of relevance to employer leading to feelings of job instability

4.                  Blurring the lines between work and home

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IV.             The unforeseen side effects of Telecommuting on the home

A.                Technology causing a blurring line between work and home

B.                 Sharing of attention given to family member while in the home

C.                Children
having a different parent-child relationship that ever experienced

D.                Overall dependence on electronics and technology

E.                 Employers increased expectation for the employee to respond quickly or always be available

V.                Conclusion

            Telecommuting provides many advantages and disadvantages that affect individual workers, work groups, organizations, and society as a whole.  There needs to be careful consideration prior to deciding if this is the appropriate solution for the employer or the employee. Organizations that promote telecommuting should make efforts to develop programs and procedures that ultimately lead to increased job performance and reasonable employee expectations.  Advances in technology have made telecommuting more attractive and affordable for organizations. Despite these advances, some individuals and organizations still oppose telecommuting, because of telecommuting’s perceived and proven negative consequences. There needs to be a more concerted effort on behalf of the working family to find ways to promote a balanced remote office environment that leads to both positive work performance and a healthy home life, free of the perceived expectation of extended hours and instant responses.

VI.             References


1.                  Reynolds, B. (2011, January 1). The Telecommuting Advantages (and Some Disadvantages for Good Measure). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Telecommuting. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

2.                  Haberman, M. (2010, November 30). Telecommuting:Advantages and Disadvantages. Telecommuting:Advantages and Disadvantages. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

3.                  Jayson, S. (2010, January 1). Working at home: Family-friendly? – Working at home: Family-friendly? – Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

4.                  WHY EMPLOYEES NEED FLEXIBILITY. (n.d.). WHY EMPLOYEES NEED FLEXIBILITY. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

5.                  Indla, V., & Rao, S. (2010, January 1). Work, family or personal life: Why not all three. . Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

6.                  Welte, J. (n.d.). Advantages & Disadvantages of Telecommuting. Everyday Life. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

7.                  Nayab, J. (2001, January 1). The History of Telecommuting: Past & Present. Bright Hub. Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

8.                  Morozov, E. (2013, January 1). Tearing Down the “Electronic Cottage”. . Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

9.                  Khoury, S. (n.d.). TELECOMMUTING’S EFFECTS ON THE EMPLOYEE, THE WORK GROUP, THE. . Retrieved June 19, 2014, from

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