Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Even The Government Is Telecommuting

You know something’s WAY beyond a trend when the federal government is doing it. On June 3rd, the House approved legislation allowing qualified civil servants to telecommute 20 percent of the time – essentially one day a week. Currently about 6% (110,000) of federal employees telecommute at least one day a month.

Why is Uncle Sam joining the bandwagon? “A happy workforce is a productive workforce,” says co-sponsor, Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill. He also cited high gas prices, reduced traffic congestion, less air pollution and decreased absenteeism as factors. Co-sponsor, John Sarbanes (D-Md.), said the government must boost telecommuting to remain competitive in hiring.

The way I see it, employees are leading the way. The more demand there is for telecommuting, the more flexible employers will have to become. Working one day from home per week is becoming pretty common. But what about working from home most or all days? I see more and more people – and I mean full-timers too, not just freelancers – negotiating this in the future.

Skyrocketing gas prices are one reason. Another is kids. In families with two working parents, career flexibility is a huge factor, and not just for working mothers, as this New York Times article about equal parenting demonstrates. Most of the parents interviewed had creative work schedules (e.g. three 10-hour days and two half days). But there’s still all that time lost to commuting (five weeks per year!). That’s five more weeks parents could spend with their kids.

Would you work from home most or all of the week if you could? Have you asked? Please comment away!

1 comment:

Larissa said...

dude- I see it as one of the primary benefits of having kids- a LOT more sympathy when it comes to having to have a flexiblye lifestyle. But being a motherless commuter, I envy the work-at-homers more than you know. Currently contemplating how I could woo my boss into agreeing to some flexibility. Stay tuned.