Information and insight about your career and the workplace at large

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Incentives for Telework

Women in Technology's (WIT) Advocacy Committee reports that Virginia's Governor Kaine just recently announced the creation of the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance to promote telework in the public and private sector.

This is interesting news for Virginia's commuters, and a long time coming since the first telecommuting experiment debuted in 1974.

But technology was an impediment, until the development of local area networks (LANs) in the 1980s. In the 1990s, there was a resurgence of interest in telework when Clean Air amendments were adopted and PCs were more common in homes. In fact the International Society for Performance Improvement sponsored what seemed to be a leading-edge session on telecommuting in the 1990s, handing out bumper stickers that said "Reduce Road Rage—Telecommute."

Why is it taking so long for businesses and governmental agencies to explore telecommuting as a solution to gridlock and to the problem of keeping businesses up and running in the event of natural or manmade disasters?

The WIT report says agencies are reluctant to embrace telework because of two key issues: (1) broadband access, and (2) concerns about productivity. So Virginia's General Assemby established a joint legislative subcommittee to study the issue, review managers' concerns, and develop performance measures designed to show managers that teleworkers can be just as efficient, if not more efficient, than their office counterparts.

What about you? Does your office endorse telework? What have you found with respect to "lessons learned"? Please post a comment.

And if you'd like more info, here are some resources on the subject:
Telework opportunities
Info on Washington, DC, Telecommuting Centers
Telecommute-friendly companies