Telecommuting’s role in Community Evolution
After thousands of years of centralizing human activities, society now has the option to de-centralize as the concept of virtualization expands. Crowded freeways every Friday during the summer is but one indication that many want, or at least enjoy, an alternate place to visit. The number of people with vacation homes indicates a desire for at least some non-urban exposure; early retirees often relocate, indicating that where they have been living is not their first choice.
If we were not anchored to the cities for our jobs, would a percentage of the population actually relocate?
If population redistribution is an emerging reality, it is a scenario that warrants monitoring; the implications are powerful and far reaching. What happens if workers are allowed to live where they choose and bring their jobs with them? Clearly, this will not be the case for many workers but how many of these workers have jobs that are located solely to serve other workers? If those that can relocate actually move, others will relocate to follow them. There is a multiplier effect that cannot be dismissed. TCR’s Distributed City Model explores these vital questions.
The President has said he wants 50% of the federal workforce to telework, which if done strategically, could mean a significant reduction in federal space requirements. Less commutes, less heating, cooling and lighting will advance the Green values of today while saving a lot of money and potentially expanding and improving services to the public. It will also create jobs as the remaining spaces are redesigned to reflect the new work arrangements.
If we apply these virtualization concepts to our work force, what happens and when? Going beyond work, if we have virtual access to a Suite of Telecommuting Applications (telemedicine, e-Commerce, e-training, telework etc), the freedom to live where we choose becomes more real. We can only imagine the impacts that will accrue when the synergy of the telecommuting mindset is fully adopted and deployed.
Is this scenario real? If not, why not? If so, do we accelerate it, ignore it or try to slow it down? What impacts do you foresee?