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Telecommuting Potential Remains Untapped for Reducing Space Needs



A significant percentage of employees do not telecommute, despite supportive workplace polices that would allow them to do so, according to a new report.




A significant percentage of employees do not telecommute, despite supportive workplace polices that would allow them to do so, according to a new report.

The 2005/2006 National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS) indicates that while 25 percent of respondents have supportive employer telecommuting policies or jobs that would allow work from home, only 11 percent are doing so, a finding that could have an impact on company’s space planning needs.

The annual survey is sponsored by the Robert H. Smith School of Business' Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland and technology research firm Rockbridge Associates Inc.

Driving instead of telecommuting is costing the U.S. economy $3.9 billion a year in fuel and time equal to 470,000 jobs, according to survey.

"In addition to saving billions of dollars to the economy, the time and money saved on a long commute - even just two days a week - could significantly increase productivity and employee satisfaction," says Roland Rust, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Service.

The survey also finds even workers that could telecommute still would choose not to do so the majority of the time.

"It seems the professional and social environment of the workplace wins out over money and time savings," says Charles Colby, president of Rockbridge Associates. "Though a fourth of the population could be working from home, most American workers still choose the office environment for the majority of their work week."

Findings from the 2005/2006 NTRS regarding telecommuting - working at home or outside the traditional workplace - include:

- Of those who could feasibly telecommute, less than half would choose to do so more than two days per week and 14 percent would not telecommute at all.
-Eighty-two percent of full-time American workers have a Web connection at home, 69 percent of which are high-speed.

The NTRS determined $3.9 billion could be saved if everyone with the potential to telecommute did so 1.6 days per week, based on a driving average of 20 miles per day, getting 21 miles-per-gallon at a gas price of $2.89 per gallon.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the typical commuter pays $688 a year in gasoline. Nearly 100 million adults commute to work each day, the vast majority alone in their cars. Increased telecommuting is one potential solution for escalating energy cost and harmful carbon emissions.




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  posted on 7/13/2006   Article Use Policy




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