Historic Blizzard of 2016 No Match for Telecommuters

This past week the historic blizzard of 2016 completely shut down Washington, D.C., but work continued for those who could work from home. Moody's Analytics estimated the Federal Government's output loss at approximately $310.56 million. That number would be significantly higher but for the government telework program, allowing people to continue to work from home. Government agencies are realizing the cost benefits telework policies provide and according to Global Workplace Analytics the Federal Government's telework program has increased by an impressive 424.3%.

The driving force behind providing a telework policy is different for the employer and employee. Employers move to telework policies because it saves tens of thousands of dollars every year and employees embrace teleworking because it provides a greater work-life balance. It's a win-win for both parties. Both the private sector and public sector are providing telework programs to support operational needs because they realize the benefits these programs provide. When a blizzard shuts down the entire Eastern Seaboard of the United States the benefits of teleworking are obvious. The key is transferring the benefits realized out of an emergency into everyday operational opportunity.

There will always be those who are against telework citing the inability to properly manage work product output but in truth you know when a project is or is not getting done. Businesses lose billions every year through employee distractions. We all know the employee who jumps from office to office just to chat, wasting valuable time. Clearly that is not the person you want teleworking because no matter where they are, they aren't going to work. That is the beauty of at-will work arrangements.

Since the inception of the world wide web in 1990 our lives have dramatically changed. Even five years ago, meeting your doctor from the comfort of your home may not have sounded like a plausible idea but today companies like Doctor on Demand are leading the way. You can get online counseling services from companies like In Your Corner. States are recognizing this virtual shift and are beginning to provide businesses with additional benefits for offering telework opportunities. Virginia, for example, offers a teleworking tax credit for businesses that offer telework programs. The purpose of the credit is to encourage teleworking programs and reduce traffic and employee commuting time. The web has given us opportunity beyond belief. It is up to us to use these opportunities wisely and take advantage of the technology at our fingertips.