STANFORD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EARTH SCIENCES - EARTH SYSTEMS PROGRAM

Sustainable Choices

Telecommute to Work

Simplicity:
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Carbon Impact:
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Money Savings:
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Health Helper:
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Overview
The idea behind telecommuting is simple: you commute by phone rather than by car or train or bus. Often, telecommuters will skip the physical commute one or two days a week and work from their homes, communicating with co-workers by phone or email. The idea has been promoted for several reasons. First, telecommuting takes cars off the road and can be a key strategy in areas that struggle with extreme rush-hour congestion and air-pollution. Second, it reduces the need for office equipment and space by decentralizing a business’ workforce. Third, telecommuting has been shown to boost worker productivity while increasing health and morale. For some businesses, it can be a very useful tool.

Tips & Tricks
Explore telecommuting options for you. Ask your boss if it might be a possibility for you. Come equipped with the latest studies and know the argument for and against telecommuting. If you can’t telecommute, at least consider shifting your work hours so that you commute during off-peak times.

If you run a business, consider telecommuting for your employees. Review the research. Talk with other employers who supervise telecommuters. It may be worthwhile for your business.

Web & Print Resources
Telecommuting overview, case studies, and research:
www.telecommutect.com

Articles:
sfgate.com
query.nytimes.com
www.washingtonpost.com

Personal Story
This material originally appeared in Washington Post article “Telecommuting Interest Soars” by Amit R. Paley (September 14, 2005).

When gas prices sped past $3 a gallon in the days after Hurricane Katrina, Sherrie Bell hit upon a quick way to avoid the pinch at the pump.

She decided to stop going to work.

Or at least stop working downtown. In a memo Thursday to her boss, Bell, a paralegal at the U.S. Education Department, requested permission to work two days a week from a federally funded telecommuting center 15 miles from her home in Southern Maryland.

"It's definitely the way of the future for workers," said Bell, 38, who first tried teleworking one day a week last fall instead of commuting 1 1/2 hours. "There's no doubt about it. It's such a cost-saving tool."

To read more, see www.washingtonpost.com

Fun Facts

In 2000, over 4 million Americans worked from home. Source

A study by the state of Massachusetts found that 72.8% of participants reported that they were more effective working away from the office. 100% of supervisors reported improved or sustained productivity by telecommuting employees. Source

The average American spends over 100 hours commuting each year. This exceeds the 2 weeks of vacation time (80 hours) frequently taken by workers over the course of a year. Source