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Academy of Management

With the advent of technological breakthroughs and changing family needs, there has been a surge in the number of individuals doing work at home for their employer. Home work was prominent during the early 1900s and is again becoming a national phenomenon. The jobs most affected by this transition are those that have some relationship to information processing, such as computer programming, financial analysis, writing, and clerical services.

While there are only thirty-five known work programs involving six hundred employees at such companies as Aetna Life and Casualty, Investors Diversified Services, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina, it is estimated that in the 1990s more than 15 million people will be in¬volved in home work (Business Week, 1982). The advantages from home work appear to be numerous. It will allow employers to tap an expanded work force, namely, people who have small children at home and those who are handicapped.

It is also believed that such a work relationship will build more trust-an honor system between the employer and the employee. Yet this same honor system could also be the major drawback. It will become more difficult for managers to manage their subordinates. That, in addition to developing new compensation packages

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and performance evaluation, may hinder home work’s growth. Work sharing With the increase of two-career families that have small children, work sharing allows one or both parents to be at home with the child during the formative years.

Years ago, parents had to make a decision – would one of them quit work (primarily the wife/mother) to raise the child or would the child be sent to a day-care center? Perplexed by these questions and desiring to maintain both a family and a career, many sought a job that would allow both. Work sharing was that alternative. In work sharing, two people share one full-time job. One person may work in the morning; the other in the afternoon. Each person is compensated according to his or her share of the work. Whom one shares the work with is contingent on factors too numerous to elaborate here.

Usually, though, we find a woman sharing her job with another woman; both of them are parents and work for the same organization. However, fathers, too, have been known to work share. Work sharing has been predominant in the school system. Teach¬ers who are also mothers work part of the day in their classroom and then leave to go home to their child. Another teacher/mother then re¬places the morning teacher. In one county school system in Maryland, work sharing has worked well by providing not only the flexibility that the worker needs but also the skilled teaching that the school and the pupils need.

Whether work sharing will continue to grow cannot be deter¬mined at this time. The point that is being stressed, however, is that careers and family life can be combined. If an employer values the services of an employee and variations are possible then the two can work together to develop a viable alternative. Forcing a good em¬ployee to choose between work and home provides no choice, as this will only result in the loss of a good worker. References Breugh, James A. 1983.

“The 12 Hour Work Day: Differing Employee Reactions,” Personnel Psychology, 36: 278. Business Week. 1982. “If Home is Where the Work is,” May, p. 66. Fields, Cynthia J. 1974. “Variable Work Hours – the MONY Experience,” Personnel Journal, pp. 675-78. Ivancevich, John M & Lyon, Herbert L. 1977. “The Shortened Workweek: A Field Experiment,” Journal of Applied Psychology, pp. 34-37. Ivins, Molly. 1977. “Bill in Albany Asks Flexible Work Time,” New York Times, p. 45. Nollen, Stanley D. 1979. “Does Flex-time Improve Productivity?

” Harvard Business Review, pp. 12, 16-18, 22. Personnel. 1978. “Flexitime at GM of Canada,” February, pp. 41-43. Ronen, Simcha & Primps, Sophie B. 1981. “The Compressed Work Week as Organizational Change: Behavioral and Attitudinal Outcome,” Academy of Management Review, 6, No. 1, pp. 61-74. Ronen, Simcha. 1981. “Arrival and Departure Patterns of Public Sector Employees Before and After Implementation of Flextime,” Personnel Psychology, 34, pp. 817-22. Swart, Carrol J. 1974. “What Time Shall I go to work today? ” Business Horizons, pp. 19-26.

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