The Effects of Telecommuting on Call Center Productivity

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Date Submitted: 12/13/2011 01:11 PM

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The Effects of Telecommuting on Call Center Productivity


Virtual offices are a growing trend in today’s work environment and are expected to influence an organization’s productivity. Based on an empirical analysis of data retrieved from a call center located within a large Midwest medical device company, the current study explored if telecommuting influenced productivity. Four dependent variables were analyzed: number of incoming phone calls, average incoming call duration, logged time worked and disruption time for software and hardware issues. Collected data represented information gathered from 62 customer service consultants whose working time was divided between the independent variables, either the traditional work place or a remote location. Utilizing 1000 data samples, random assignment to the two groups was generated and run through paired sample t tests with a 0.05 alpha level. Results indicated no significant differences in the number of incoming calls received, or the length of time worked per day between telecommuters and non-telecommuters. However, telecommuters did experience a significantly shorter call length and less disruption of hardware and/or software. Consistent with the literature and contrary to the researchers’ expectations, the findings showed inconclusive effects on productivity.

The Effects of Telecommuting on Call Center Productivity

The term “telecommuting” was first coined by Jack Nilles (1975) in response to growing alternative work locations outside corporate walls. Since that time organizations have increased their use of alternative work locations to accommodate employees with disabilities, adjust for increased commuting costs, and avoid relocation expenses associated with corporate mergers. In an effort to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, several states in the U.S. are considering tax credits for telecommuting.

The inception of the internet has allowed companies across the globe to...