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Why Telecommuting Is An Energy Win-Win

Marc Gunther's picture
FORTUNE magazine

Marc Gunther is a writer and speaker who focuses on business and the environment. He worked for 12 years as a senior writer at FORTUNE magazine, where he is now a contributing editor. His most...

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  • May 12, 2011

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Where are you working, right now?

If you’re in the office, would you rather be at home?

Verizon sent me this infographic on tele-commuting, which the company calls telework:

They also sent along this comment from a Verizon worker named Nena Faulkner who is part of their sustainability team. 

I really appreciate the flexibility that TeleWork provides.  On a day that I work remotely, I typically log into the network before I would even be leaving to drive into the office, and I work until the time I typically get home.  My telework commute is significantly shorter and much less stressful.  Plus, with the rising fuel prices, it saves me money, wear and tear on my car, toll charges and I get to have a positive impact on the environment.  Finally, given the increasing frequency of bad winter weather here in Texas, it’s nice to know I can still get my work done even if I can’t get my car out of the driveway (or even get to the driveway).

Because this study focused on a small sample of workers, I asked Verizon what percentage of their workforce regularly works from home. This came in reply:

On any given day, thousands of employees log-in to the company’s network remotely because of travel, telework, and the freedom and efficiency an increasingly mobile workforce brings.

It’s a mystery to me why more companies don’t promote tele-commuting. Smart companies could save on real estate and energy costs because they’d need less office space, and they’d generate more loyalty from workers who are grateful for the chance to avoid commuting some or most of the time.

I’ve worked from home for most of the last 20 years. It’s got its drawbacks. The biggest, by far, is the absence of casual interaction with colleagues. But the benefits — time and money saved, casual dress, lack of adult supervision — far outweigh the costs.

Photo by Ambro.

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Amelia Timbers's picture
Amelia Timbers on May 12, 2011

I am a FT teleworker; I manage TEC remotely. I definitely appreciate not having to commute. It also benefits my employer in the sense that I work through the time I otherwise would have spent commuting. 

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