The slow adoption of telecommuting in South Africa
Climate change imposes indisputable burdens on economic development by significantly causing damage to the environment. In the transportation sector, carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles are seen as top environmental pollutants around the world and in South Africa. Despite increasing environmental issues, many people, including business leaders, generally think of environmental issues as disconnected from their everyday business lives and behavioural patterns. The Republic of South Africa as a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) encourages any practices and processes that will control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The adoption of telecommuting for travel reduction can impact positively on environmental sustainability by reducing the amount of commuter driving and thus reducing carbon emissions. Telecommuting is an arrangement where an employee works from home or out of office using telecommunication links (internet, email and/or telephone) to reduce commuting to and from the office, enhance productivity in the organisation, and reduce office space requirements. However, despite the well documented benefits of telecommuting, the uptake of telecommuting in South Africa is slow. This study falls under the Green Information Technology research field. The aim of the study is to identify the reasons behind the slow adoption of telecommuting in South African organisations. The study followed embedded multiple-case studies. Qualitative data were collected from nine companies using semi-structured interviews with 19 participants comprising of Information Technology (IT) and Human Resource (HR) managers, telecommuters and non-telecommuters. The companies were selected to be as diverse as possible in the operating sector and both purposive and snowball strategies were used.