a telecommuting program
can positively impact
your bottom line.
Bridgeport best city for telecommuting
By James Lush
Project Manager, Telecommute Connecticut!
The city of Bridgeport has been recognized as the best city for telecommuting in America, according to a recent national survey. The survey also ranked Hartford third and New Haven sixth as the best medium-size metro areas in which to telecommute.
The survey, which was conducted by Sperling's BestPlaces and Intel Corp., based the study on market size, typical commuting times, fuel prices, Internet availability and population in telecommute-friendly jobs.
What's leading more than 117,000 Connecticut workers to pick up their home phones and laptops instead of car keys? According to the survey, rising pump prices, the hassle of rush-hour commuting, a growing demand for work/life balance and high-speed Internet connections are all contributing to the growing trend and helping Connecticut employers and employees see the benefits of telecommuting.
"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 eight years."
According to national surveys, from 1994 to 2004 telecommuting grew from 9.1 million to 44.4 million workers (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 in 2001. Experts believe that telecommuting will increase 60 percent by 2010.
Telecommuting is a good alternative to paying the rising cost of fuel prices. "We've seen a fairly steady rise in fuel oil prices, which has been reflected at the pump this year," said Peter Gioia, vice president and economist with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "Telecommuting's 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 save money. An average worker can save approximately $50/month ($600/year) on gas by telecommuting and working from a home office just two days each week. Telecommuting also allows for a better work/life balance - a growing concern among families with young children. A recent 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 the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
For employers, telecommuting improves employee productivity by decreasing absenteeism due to illness, snow days and other circumstances that prevent employees from getting to the office. It boosts employee retention and loyalty. And it helps companies maximize office space by cutting overhead expenses. These are among the benefits on a lengthy list of positives for employers.
"With soaring gas prices, long commutes in rush-hour traffic and a demand far 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.
For more information, call 1-800-255-7433.