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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


Anonymous Linda said...

Having worked out of my home office for 15 years and then returning to an on-site workplace fulltime for the past 4 years, I would enjoy having the option to telecommute most days. When I worked out of my home office, I had no social distractions--office mates asking about my weekend, people stopping by to chat, noise--and no political challenges--keeping up with the grapevine, socializing during lunch or after work, attending meetings with no resolutions--and I was so productive! If I compare working in an office environment to working in my home office, I'm probably 80% as productive. Of course, if you're supporting a client in a team environment, often it's necessary to do this in person. But, not every day. Then we have people who really enjoy the daily employee interaction and know they would not be productive working at home. It's not for everyone. But, it sure would be nice to have the option.

5:25 PM

Blogger Joanne said...

You are so right. Most people who've worked at home after working in an office remark on how much more productive they are. Wonder why companies don't see this and encourage their best workers to work at home. Seems like a win-win to me.

3:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a full time telecommuter whose boss is also a full time telecommuter. I believe the primary problem r/t to complaints/ fears of decreased productivity are from managers who do not know how to manage. Telecommuting is a wonderful employee benefit that I cherish. If I am not productive, that's a management issue and not a telecommuting problem.

11:38 AM

Blogger Joanne said...

Well said, Anonymous!

3:59 PM


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