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Experts Extol Benefits Of Telecommuting

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

June 10, 2009

Telecommuting is on the rise as more companies view the practice as a budget-conscious way to both boost productivity at work and improve the environment.

A recent survey conducted by Techaisle, a market research and consulting company, indicated that 83 percent of U.S. businesses with over 1,000 employees support telecommuting, and the rate is expected to increase another 10 percent by 2010.

"Telecommuting was envisioned to help employees keep a balance between work and family life thereby improving productivity," the company announced in a press release. "However, unknowingly an unexpected advantage was witnessed--Green IT. . . . In today's environment, by allowing and encouraging telecommuting, enterprises are actively contributing towards carbon reductions in the environment."

In a nod to the trend, Fox 9 in Minneapolis reports that the a new program announced by the University of Minnesota in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation aims to increase telecommuting, thereby reducing traffic congestion and helping the environment.

"If 2,700 Minnesotans teleworked just one day per week, more than 1,000 rush hour trips on Twin Cities' highways each day would be eliminated," said Nick Thompson, project manager for Mn/DOT.

Teresa Wernecke, executive director of the Downtown Minneapolis Transportation Management Organization, noted that businesses have much to gain by implementing telecommuting programs. "These include increased employee productivity, enhanced recruitment and retention, reduced costs and improved business flexibility," she said.

IT Business Edge notes that telecommuting results in using less office-based energy consumption and reduces the amount of office space required. It also allows a company to market itself as a "green" employer, thus attracting candidates who value the environment.

"If the green precepts of reuse, reduce and recycle can be expanded to include resources such as space, equipment, energy and human capital," says the article, "then telecommuting is the single best green initiative an enterprise can make. Investment is minimal and the returns are great."

Yet not everyone is sold on the concept. MSNBC.com points out that some disadvantages to telecommuting include less efficient communications and decreased camaraderie. While sometimes businesses must compromise, says the article, "try to find as many reasons as possible to get people together. . . . If you want everyone on the same page, start with having them in the same place."

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