Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Telecommuting Interest Soars

"With gas prices in the Washington region among the highest in the nation, increasing numbers of beleaguered commuters are looking to trade two-hour treks on congested freeways for speedy telecommutes via the information superhighway, teleworking advocates say."

"Teleworking advocates—including the federal government—say they hope widespread consternation about rising fuel prices will prove to be the tipping point needed to bring about a telecommuting revolution. And they have been scrambling to convert the public to their cause."

"For years, transportation experts in Washington have dreamed of a boom in telecommuting as a way to ease traffic congestion and reduce the environmental impacts of car emissions. Every worker who begins telecommuting could reduce government transportation spending by $3,000, according to a study by George Washington University's Center for Economic Research.

"But widespread telecommuting has not materialized. Although a newly released study by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments shows the number of teleworkers has increased—from 11.3 percent of commuters in 2001 to 12.8 percent in 2004&30151;experts believe a much higher proportion of workers could telecommute."

"Ronald F. Kirby, transportation planning director of the council of governments, said the main obstacle to teleworking is that some bosses worry about supervising workers 100 miles away. 'There is a strong level of resistance by middle managers,' he said, even though studies have shown employees are more productive when teleworking." ...

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