The concept of telework was introduced in the 1970s as a way to substitute telecommunications technology for the commute to work (Nilles 1998). Telework promised many environmental, family, employee, and business benefits. With continued advances in information and communication technology, there were great expectations for the growth of telework and its benefits. While the practice of telework has grown, in many respects the high expectations have not been fulfilled.
We believe there is value in reexamining telework in order to more proactively take advantage of the beneficial impacts telework might be able to provide to businesses and citizens. The purpose of this research is to develop new perspectives on successful, long-term telework initiatives at organizations in order to better understand: how and why initiatives mature, how organizations view telework initiative benefits, and the implications for supporting telework in the future.
We conducted research about telework in three areas: telework and the changing nature of work, telework in organizations, and telework and transportation. We used a combination of research methods including secondary research, analysis of successful telework initiatives at three organizations (involving 31 interviews with coordinators, managers and teleworkers), and interviews with key informants.