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Teleworking in South Africa: Employee benefits and challenges

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Author(s): Nicholas Baard | Adèle Thomas

Journal: South African Journal of Human Resource Management
ISSN 1683-7584

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: human resources practices | management practices | survey | telecommuting | virtual working arrangements

ABSTRACT
Orientation: Virtual working arrangements present possible benefits to organisations and their employees. However, in South Africa, few organisations have implemented teleworking as a specific form of virtual work. The benefits and challenges to teleworkers are therefore largely unknown.Research purpose: The present study aimed to identify employee perceptions of personal benefits and challenges of teleworking.Motivation for the study: The study sought to contribute insights for South African business practice in this under-researched field.Research design, approach and method: This exploratory study collected primary data through the distribution of an electronic questionnaire to 94 employees at three South African organisations, with a 67% response rate. The survey included both closed and open-ended questions that were analysed using a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques.Main findings: Most of the internationally identified benefits of teleworking were supported by participants, such as improved productivity, increased job satisfaction and organisational loyalty, decreased stress and improved work-life balance. Challenges identified included an increase in working hours and the lack of availability of training opportunities.Practical/managerial implications: The possible employee benefits and challenges of teleworking may assist organisations in devising teleworking practices and procedures that leverage benefits and address challenges inherent in this form of work practice.Contribution/value add: The study aims to supplement the dearth of knowledge about teleworking, specifically in the South African context, to assist organisations practically in their development of this form of virtual work arrangement for the benefit of organisations and their employees.How to cite this article: Baard, N., & Thomas, A. (2010). Teleworking in South Africa: Employee benefits and challenges. SA Journal of Human Resource Management/ SA Tydskrif vir Menslikehulpbronbestuur, 8(1), Art. #298, 10 pages. DOI: 10.4102/sajhrm.v8i1.298
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