5.2 effects of IT on working patterns within organisations





Telework  is the use information technology and telecommunications to perform work duties from a remote location reducing work-related travel. It allows employees to work at home or at a local telework center one or more days per week.

Source: Allied worldwide


Luke works as an IT support technician for a small web based business. 2 days a week he works from home, replying to email queries from customers. The other 3 days he spends in the office, performing normal duties.

Can you think of some advantages of teleworking?



  • Reduced transport costs
  • Employers/ Employees don’t have to pay for petrol / public transport.
  • Reduced time spend commuting.
  • Reduced office running costs.

Can you think of some disadvantages of teleworking?



  • Loss of social contact with other people.
  • Difficult to monitor staff.
  • Can’t resolve issues face-to-face, often a delay in some issues being resolved.
  • Less clear distinction between work hours and home hours.
Summary Powtoon

Credit: AD


Flexible Working

[note title=”Definition: Flexible Working”]

Flexible working simply refers to any working schedule that is outside of a normal working pattern. This means that the working hours, instead of being repetitive and fixed, can involve changes and variations.

Source: career-advice.monster.co.uk


Flexible working includes lots of different options and combinations. These include:

Flexible hours

This is where workers can either choose their own hours to work, and where they are mutually agreed between employees and their employers.


Joan works for a call centre. She works a mixture of week days and weekends, depending on when her parents are available to look after the grandchildren.

Job Sharing

Job sharing can take a number of different forms, with those sharing one job perhaps splitting the hours required to cover the opening times of a business, or perhaps both people working at the same time to clear the workload that would have otherwise taken one person twice as long to complete.


Claire and Paula both work email / internet customer service advisers for a travel agent. They split the workload of the role and work part time, so that they are both able to spend more time with their children after school.

Can you think of any advantages of flexible working?



  • Allows parents/carers to balance work and childcare commitments
  • Allows individuals to fit work around their lifestyle/personal needs

Can you think any disadvantages of flexible working?



  • Can cost more for employers as the have to hire more people
  • Can be a nightmare to manage staff levels
  • Can be abused by employers (Zero hours contracts)


Compressed hours

[note title=”Definition: Compressed Hours”]

With compressed hours, employees work the same hours over fewer days. With annual hours contracts, employers and employees agree they will work a given number of hours during the year, but the pattern of work can vary from week to week.

Source: www.lawdonut.co.uk


Can you think any advantages of compressed hours?



  • Allows employees to have more days off per week.
  • Allows employees to manage overall employee wages costs without having to specify hours worked in advance.

Can you think any disadvantages of compressed hours?



  • Can lead to stress and burnout through overwork
  • Can be used by employers to force employees to work unsociable/unattractive hours.


Online Outsourcing

[note title=”Definition: Online outsourcing”]

Online outsourcing is the business process of contracting third-party providers (often overseas) to supply products or services which are delivered and paid for via the internet.

Source: Wikipedia


Online Contracting / Recruitment

Example platforms include:

  • Gumtree jobs

Micro-contracting platforms

Example companies include:

  • o-desk

Can you think any advantages of Internet Outsourcing?




  • Contact centres can be staff 24 hours without resorting to unsociable hours for employees.
  • Specialists are easier to recruit.
  • You can recruit for staff worldwide, taking advantage of lower employee costs available in other countries.
  • More jobs are available to employees in countries where there is high unemployment.

Can you think any disadvantages of Internet Outsourcing?




  • Jobs can be lost overseas.
  • Aggressive use of monitoring can cause emotional/health issues to employees.
  • Recruiting overseas can mean fever legal protections for employers and employees.


Lesson Activity

[note title=”Activity”]

You are a consultant for a HR firm specialising in flexible working patterns. For one of the following scenarios you should read through the scenario carefully and offer a written report on:

  • The present situation for the organisation and the areas available for improvement.
  • The changes to working patterns that you would recommend and why.
  • The risks involved with the changes to the working pattern that you are proposing and what the company should do in order to mitigate these risks.
  • Extension – Thinking back to the previous lesson, what areas for automation exist within the business?


Scenario - Sunland holiday company

About the company

Sunland are a call-centre based travel agency that holidays to popular European and world-wide travel destinations.

The call centre are currently open from 8  – 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

The call centre currently consist of:

  • 200 full-time travel agents, who work 9-5pm.
    • The agents deal entirely with phone based queries,
  • 50 part time travel agents, who work 10-2pm, to cover the busy time.
  • 30 admin staff, who deal with sending out tickets, amending reservations and other jobs.
  • 15 managers and senior manager.
  • 1 full time programmer.
  • 10 Customer services agents whose time is spent:
    • 50%  answering frequently asked questions.
    • 50% dealing with customer complaints.


At present the is no web based booking facility, and all email based queries are passed to the travel agents to call back and book.

The company estimates 30% of calls are placed out of hours and are currently lost.



Finish off your report and submit it on the QuizMaster site.







Teacher presentation


Extra resources


Starter activity idea to develop

Have printed cards with adv /disadvantages / features and need to match them to the correct part in a box/ on a sheet.