Temporal structure and flexibility in distance work and learning

Ophélie Carreras, Marie-Françoise Valax


Autonomy in work organisation and temporal flexibility are viewed as two major advantages of remote work and distance learning. However, in the field of telecommuting, temporal flexibility may be restricted by organizational or social constraints. Moreover, flexibility is usually indirectly and subjectively measured. This paper proposes an objective and replicable technique to measure scheduling and the temporal flexibility of tasks. Twelve teleworkers participated in a study using this technique. Results showed that telecommuting leads to a lengthening of predicted work duration relative to legal work duration. Temporal flexibility was not very high and varied according to tasks. The less flexible tasks were scheduled first by teleworkers and served as anchors around which they scheduled their other activities. Finally, the scheduling technique presented here may also be useful for studying temporal factors in distance learning.


Time flexibility; Measurement technique; Scheduling; Telecommuting; Temporal structure

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