Workers shun telecommuting

Telecommute? No Way.

That seems to be the attitude of many workers, according to a recent study. Despite 25 percent of respondents citing supportive employer telecommuting policies or jobs that would allow work from home, only 11 percent are doing so, according to the annual 2005/2006 National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS), sponsored by the Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland.

Those with a job that allows them to telecommute were asked how often they would do so. Most respondents indicated that given the opportunity, they would only telecommute part-time. Fewer than half would telecommute more than two days per week, and 14 percent would not telecommute at all.

The study also found that only 2 percent of adults who work telecommute full time, while another 9 percent telecommute part time and 8 percent have home-based businesses.

Additionally the study said $3.9 billion could be saved if everyone in the U.S. with the potential to telecommute did so 2 days per week, based on a driving average of 20 miles per day, getting 21 miles-per-gallon at a gas price of $2.89 per gallon – with gas prices over $3 a gallon in most locations, that number goes well above $4 billion [all figures US].

According to the Energy Information Administration, the typical American commuter pays $688 a year in gasoline. Nearly 100 million adults commute to work each day, the vast majority alone in their cars. Increased telecommuting is one potential solution for a range of problems: escalating energy cost, traffic congestion and harmful carbon emissions affecting the environment.

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