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We Have The Technology — Telecommute NOW!

It’s fascinating watching the endless, and worsening daily traffic backups on the local news, which begs the question —why don’t more people telecommute - at least a day or two a week? Why isn’t there a national telecommuting initiative?

Although telecommuting isn’t for every job, there are so many jobs where telecommuting can work (also called “teleworking”), telecommuting could make a huge difference not only in traffic congestion, but in other areas as well.

Below is a brief list with both the benefits and the challenges that exist.

Telecommuting Benefits:

  • Reduced traffic - with coordinated effort, virtually eliminate severe traffic tie-ups
  • Reduced need for a car in the first place
  • Reduced gas and other car expenses
  • Reduced environmental damage from car exhaust
  • Higher productivity - instead of sitting in traffic for hours a day, employees can be doing productive work
  • Smaller office spaces needed (money savings for company)
  • Employees are more awake since they don’t have to up early to “beat the traffic” (and for some still being exhausted after getting home late from traffic the previous workday)
  • Reduced daycare cost for kids
  • Be at home for sick family, pets, other needs
  • Reduced distractions (talking coworkers, unproductive meetings, and such)
  • Empowerment - feeling valued by the company
  • No need to endlessly build new or wider roads for ever-worsening traffic (hint: traffic is winning)
  • Happier and healthier employees

Telecommuting Challenges

  • Some don’t want to do it
    • There will be employees who want to work in an office. Management needs to therefore have a “plan” so folks who are able to telecommute share in telecommuting.
  • Some can’t do it
    • Some employees aren’t able to focus or be productive without an office environment. Some exceptions must be made in these circumstances as these employees might be less productive telecommuting.
  • Some jobs aren’t right for it
    • Service jobs require on-site, for example.
  • Management by attendance mindset
    • Need for metrics
      • Managers need to measure productivity. Sometimes, managers use management by attendance. Simply stated, this attendance method means that …If you’re at work, you MUST be doing something. Seriously?

Not to create a false equivalency in the benefits and challenges section above, the argument for telecommuting, at least part time, far outstrips the arguments against.

Conclusion

The technology for a telecommuting workforce is here today (and has been for 20 years or more) so why are we still sitting in cars, in traffic, hours each day? By working offsite, for those jobs (many of them), which allow it, we could reduce our carbon footprint, be more productive, and happier. And, companies who embrace telecommuting could enjoy greater profitability with more productive (and better rested) employees.

Let’s get with it!

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