April 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm #177778
A recently released report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute reveals that on average, Americans waste $818 in time and fuel per year sitting in traffic. That comes out to $121 billion in wasted time and fuel for the entire nation. In total, 5.5 billion hours were wasted commuting in 2011.
Living in the DC area where we are routinely named as one of the most congested areas in the country, I love working for an organization that promotes a flexible work environment and allows me to work from home or wherever I am most comfortable and productive. In addition to the flexibility, my transportation expenses have lowered and my productivity has increased since I am able to use the time I would have spent commuting to get work done.
Looking at staggering statistics like those revealed in the Texas A&M report, it makes me wonder why more government agencies on all levels are not embracing telework on a larger scale. Telework seems like a natural fit for any organization looking to reduce costs. An article I read recently discusses the many ways that agencies on all levels can benefit and save by embracing telework.
Do you think agencies can really save billions in dollars and man-hours by embracing telework?
April 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm #177786
Going to be somewhat contrarian…
“So what if the employee has to spend 5 hours a day getting to work and has to spend 20 dollars a day for gas, it doesn’t cost me anything, they are still required to work 8 hours a day for the organization. And I am going to have to buy additional hardware for the employee to work where I can’t tell if he is being as reproductive as I want him to be” is too often the somewhat typical mindset of a significant number of organizations.
April 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm #177784
Maybe not in the billions but agencies can save millions in real estate cost, information technology, and transit subsidies by allowing more employees to telework more often and use their own devices. Commuting costs are mainly paid by employees so its hard to say that the government would save much.
April 8, 2013 at 1:18 am #177782
Can they save $121 Billion, the short answer is no! And why should they? It’s not their money it’s the worker’s that decided to live and work in a large metropolitan are where the traffic is always jammed up. Any agency that deals with any privacy concerns, let alone classified information has to make expenditures to accommodate telework. So, you have to provide a good laptop for them to work from home (don’t want sensitive data on a private machine), you have to provide secure connectivity around the firewalls, tech support for the telework, and who says that when you are stuck in traffic on the beltway (for me going in was easy, it was the coming home that took from 2 to 2 1/2 hours) that you aren’t thinking about work and what you would be doing the next day, and the solutions to the problems of that day. Some say telework increases productivity, I say that as a general rule it probably doesn’t because you lack the daily officer interactivity. And, telework is a phenomenon for huge metropolitan areas like Greater DC, LA, etc. When in DC, I had to ability to telework. The idea was as a backup in case of natural disaster like snow, floods, etc. Invariably I would find myself working on my home time on something for the office, rather than wait till the next day. I finally had to put my foot down and say no to that one. Once you get out into the hinterland of our great country, telework is really very rare. I moved out of the DC area and now I work .9 mile from home (and it is in a very nice upscale neighborhood). The furthest anyone in our office lives from work is 20 minutes. And let’s face it, some jobs can’t be done with telework, and others just cannot be accommodated because the need for face to face contact. You can only do so much by e-mail and telephone. As far as the subsidies, they barely made it this last year. I doubt that they will remain funded much longer.
April 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm #177780
Do you really want your employees to be “reproductive” while at work? 😉
Just giving you a hard time. I assume you mean productive, but you gave me a good chuckle.
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