Telecommuting and Telework Advocacy


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Need ideas to promote telecommuting / telework? Read on. . .

Millions of Americans today work from satellite offices or telecommuting centers, while millions more choose to work at home everyday.

Employers and employees agree that telecommuting is a financially profitable workplace alternative. It saves employers time and money by reducing the need for travel and time spent in traffic jams. It also reduces costs by allowing them to hire additional staff while eliminating the need for additional office and parking space.

In 1995, Telecommute America, an advocacy group, surveyed certain companies and found that employers considered the advantages of telecommuting arrangements: higher employee morale; reduced costs in terms of office space; less stress among employees. On the part of employees, more than 75 percent say that because of fewer interruptions at home, they are more productive if they work from there. Ninety percent of employees say they can better balance their work and private life.

Because of these benefits, telework and telecommuting have been adopted by more and more sales and marketing personnel, lawyers, engineers, architects, accountants, book editors, transcribers, and dressmakers. Creative types such as designers, photographers, and writers prefer telecommuting because it gives them freedom in their working hours and styles. It also levels the field for people in remote areas, those with physical disabilities, and young or stay-at-home parents.

Benefits in reduced vehicular pollution and improved traffic have caused the US government to support telecommuting. US laws direct federal agencies to offer telecommuting options to eligible employees, or lose funding. The Clean Air Act was also amended to require companies with at least 100 employees to allow telecommuting. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency have teamed up for Best Workplaces for Commuters, a program that recognizes employers with, among other things, good telework programs.

Advocacy groups point out these benefits in promoting telecommuting and in educating policy makers, employers, and employees. The Telework Coalition, for example, works for legislation that supports telecommuters and teleworkers. They seek tax credit and other incentives for both employers and telecommuters. Another group called CORA (Creating Opportunities by Recognizing Abilities) provides telework opportunities to persons with disabilities, especially to veterans and their families. Teletrips, Inc. , a business group, aims to implement telework programs in both public and private sectors with a view towards reduced commuter trips.

In the final analysis, the greatest benefits are to the telecommuter. Increased productivity, less stress, and more time with the family all yield a better quality of life.


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