The word gets around

In an October article in Network World on the impact on telecommuting of increasing commute distances the following statement was made:

The growing travel times for physical commuting may encourage more businesses to offer telecommuting options if workers consider time traveling to work as wasted. A survey of 1,400 CFOs said offering telecommuting as an option was the second best way to attract top job talent. The best way was offering more money.

I have to admit that what got me started thinking about what I later called telecommuting was the hours I wasted every week driving on LA’s freeways to and from my job as a “rocket scientist”. That was in 1970. I became so interested in developing ways to reduce that commute that, two years later, I invented a new job and moved to the University of Southern California to, among other things, try out this idea of substituting telecommunications for those freeway journeys. Eureka! It worked!

At that point, when my research team demonstrated that telecommuting did indeed work for a real company, the real work was just beginning: getting the word out to the rest of the world in believable form. This is not to say that it is hard to convince potential telecommuters that this is a good idea. Finding volunteers has never been a problem. The real problem has been in convincing their bosses that telecommuting would work to everyone’s benefit: employer, employee, and the communities in which they lived and worked. I have spent the time since then trying to do that in various ways.

Well, the word has been getting around — at last. As the Network World article mentions, CFOs now consider the opportunity to telecommute ranks second in importance, just behind money, as an inducement to work for their organization. After all, with more money you might be able to afford the rising gas prices for your boring, possibly dangerous, commute.

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