An easy “green” solution to high gas prices

Where are you working, right now?

If you’re in the office, would you rather be at home?

Verizon sent me this infographic on tele-commuting, which the company calls telework:

They also sent along this comment from a Verizon worker named Nena Faulkner who is part of their sustainability team.

I really appreciate the flexibility that TeleWork provides.  On a day that I work remotely, I typically log into the network before I would even be leaving to drive into the office, and I work until the time I typically get home.  My telework commute is significantly shorter and much less stressful.  Plus, with the rising fuel prices, it saves me money, wear and tear on my car, toll charges and I get to have a positive impact on the environment.  Finally, given the increasing frequency of bad winter weather here in Texas, it’s nice to know I can still get my work done even if I can’t get my car out of the driveway (or even get to the driveway).

Because this study focused on a small sample of workers, I asked Verizon what percentage of their workforce regularly works from home. This came in reply:

On any given day, thousands of employees log-in to the company’s network remotely because of travel, telework, and the freedom and efficiency an increasingly mobile workforce brings.

It’s a mystery to me why more companies don’t promote tele-commuting. Smart companies could save on real estate and energy costs because they’d need less office space, and they’d generate more loyalty from workers who are grateful for the chance to avoid commuting some or most of the time.

I’ve worked from home for most of the last 20 years. It’s got its drawbacks. The biggest, by far, is the absence of casual interaction with colleagues. But the benefits — time and money saved, casual dress, lack of adult supervision — far outweigh the costs.

Comments

  1. Alexander Charles says:

    Xerox employee,Jenny Englert, senior cognitive engineer, for the Work Practice and Technology Team,spent two years between 2007 and 2009 mapping telecommuters and traveling professionals.

    http://westfaironline.com/2011/12279-telecommuters-gain-in-numbers/

  2. One solution to both commuting and the “home alone” challenge is co-working. There are a number of spaces located in residential neighborhoods where folks can share kitchens, conference rooms, and copiers, have a social community for lunch or water-cooler chats, but have their own space for professional work that they walk to in the morning. DC has half a dozen. The biggest (and best, but as a member I’m biased) is The Affinity Lab (www.affinitylab.com) which was recently selected by Fast Company Magazine as one of the 51 hotspots of innovation in the USA.

    Also — there’s a difference between shared working spaces (a purely logistical arrangement) and co-working spaces, where folks actively do business with and support each other.

  3. Stewart says:

    I am lucky, I live in Cambridge, UK. I do most of my research and paperwork from home. I keep the majority of my long distance travelling down to trains, that leaves just the local stuff. Around town, the villages by bike. Cambridge is blessed with lots of libraries, other resource like Universities, people to meet and exchange ides. Then there’s the internet, takes up the rest. I find, I need a balance though, staying at home, shut off can lead to cabin fever. I need to get out. This is where the bike comes into it own. The running cost of my home are kept down. I use Led lighting for the main rooms, I cook and heat the place by gas, but even the use of that is kept low. I were wormer clothing when its cold. This flat is nothing like the old farm house I grow up in. That was cold. No heating or cooking until the range was lit.

  4. Over 500,000 employees track “sustainability practices (SPs)” on our platform and teleworking is definitely a trend, growing by over 15% quarter over quarter. Kudos to Verizon for focusing their efforts on an issue they understand. Does Verizon have concrete emissions reduction goals, I wonder, related to this campaign? That would be refreshing.

  5. For several years I have been very fortunate to be able to telecommute regularly. It depends on the nature of the job, and most of my work does not require my physical presence in an office with colleagues. I guess I have been spoiled, and I am not sure how I would react if I had a job, which required my daily presence. What works best for me is to do research, strategic writing and report writing from home. My current supervisor, at the William James Foundation, is an entrepreneur and understands that. But I also recognize that the off-line interactions in an office, and the things you learn about your organization and your colleagues by spontaneously stopping by their desk can provide value to your work, and should not be overlooked.

    Nowadays, most of the work of a white collar is done on a computer anyway, so it seems strange to me that any supervisor or colleague would insist on physical presence in an office. I think telecommuting done well actually helps make people more accountable for their results. Because the best way to manage it is to jointly agree on deliverables and timeframe, and then assess people on their output or outcome.

    Finally, I have made the choice to live within easy distance of a metro stop, so commuting for me would not involve being stuck in traffic in any case. Currently, I am blessed to be able to walk 30 min downhill to my place of work. And with Capital bikeshare available in an increasing number of locations around Washington DC (bike sharing program) it is easy to get around without a car at most times of year (not sure I’ll feel the same in August.) So my own telecommuting is not actually saving a lot of fossil fuel, but it is increasing productivity and contributing to an atmosphere of trust, which is beneficial to our organization.

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