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Climbing Prices at the Pump, Rush-Hour Commuting, Fast Internet Connections and Work-Life Balance Contribute to Telecommuting Boom

NEW HAVEN, CONN. -- With more than 117,000 Connecticut residents telecommuting, a recent national survey recognizing "Best Cities for Teleworking" in America* identified Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven as the first, third and sixth best medium metro areas (respectively) to telecommute. What's leading Connecticut workers to pick up their home phones and laptops instead of car keys? Pump prices on the rise, the hassle of rush-hour commuting, a growing demand for work-life balance and high speed Internet connections are helping Connecticut employers and employees to see telecommuting as a viable option.

"Telecommuting has become more mainstream in today's corporate culture," said Jean Stimolo, Executive Director of Rideworks, which administers the state's Telecommute Connecticut program. "As a result, we have seen our telecommuting program achieve steady growth among Connecticut's businesses and corporations in the last 8 years."

The survey, which was conducted by research group Sperling's BestPlaces and Intel Corporation, based the study on market size, typical commuting times, fuel prices, Internet availability and population in telecommute friendly jobs.

According to national surveys, from 1994 to 2004 telecommuting grew from 9.1 million to 44.4 million (24.1 million employed and 20.3 self employed). In addition, 44 percent of U.S. companies offered telecommuting options in 2005, up from 32 percent since 2001. Experts believe that telecommuting will increase 60 percent by the year 2010 from 24 million to 40 million employed workers.

According to the Connecticut Business Industry Association (CBIA), telecommuting is a good alternative to the rising cost of fuel prices commuters are forced to endure. "We've seen a fairly steady rise in fuel oil prices, which has been reflected at the pump this year," said Peter M. Gioia, State Economist, CBIA. "In addition, the elimination of the commute and typical office distractions, as well as fast Internet connections, allow workers to be just as efficient from home if not more."

For employees, telecommuting can help an average worker save approximately $50/month ($600/year) on gas by telecommuting just two days each week by working from a home office. It also allows for a better work-life balance — a growing concern among families with young children. A recent annual MetLife Employee Benefits Trend Study found that more than half (56 percent) of today's employees rate work-life balance as a key job selection criterion. In addition, through telecommuting workers can help decrease traffic on the highways and minimize carbon dioxide exposure in the atmosphere.

For employers, telecommuting improves employee productivity by decreasing absenteeism due to illness, snow days and other circumstances that prevent them from getting in to the office, while building employee retention and loyalty. In addition, it helps companies maximize office space by cutting overhead expenses and expanding the labor pool enabling companies to hire and retain the highest quality of employees.

"With soaring gas prices, long commutes in rush-hour traffic and a demand for more flexibility among workers, we have found telecommuting to be a viable option for many employees in Connecticut," said H. James Boice, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Policy and Planning and Interim Bureau Chief, Public Transportation for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. "We hope to see more employers offering and commuters taking advantage of this working alternative."

Telecommute Connecticut, a commuter service of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, provides employers with free assistance to design, develop and implement telecommuting programs. The program's ultimate goal is to decrease traffic congestion, energy consumption and air pollution throughout the state.

Established in 1998, Telecommute Connecticut is a commuter service of the Connecticut
Department of Transportation. The program provides free assistance to employers and
employees with the design, development and implementation of telecommuting programs,
ultimately to decrease traffic congestion, energy consumption and air pollution. For more
information about Telecommute CT visit www.telecommuteCT.com or call 1-800-255-7433.

* Best Places for Teleworking Study by Sperling's BestPlaces

Release: June 12, 2006 -
Media Contact: Shannon Eterginio, (860) 677-5031

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