Could “Snowmageddon”, as President Obama has dubbed the storm that shut down Washington, help employers (or, dare to dream, the federal government) see the light when it comes to the benefits of telecommuting? Shutting down the federal government costs $100 million a day in lost productivity.
Not likely if we’re talking about the government. According to an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) report from August 2009 about 9 percent of government employees telecommute. As Peter Grier puts it:
There’s another storm due Tuesday night, so it is possible that the government shutdown will last until the D.C. government unveils its secret snow-removal strategy, otherwise known as “spring.”
It’s not that the government doesn’t want workers to telecommute, they definitely do but remember, this is the government we’re talking about and we all know how long it can take for wishes to become policy in practice.
But maybe more companies are going to see that employees can be at least as productive (and in most cases even more productive) working from home.
Snow days used to mean a day off from work, but now with the availability of Internet, email, cell phones and other technologies many companies are asking employees to work from home.
Joyce Beymer, a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty in Woodstock, NY, decided Tuesday to work from home Wednesday because of the snow. Most Realtors are set up to work remotely 24/7, she said, and the snowstorm made it a no-brainer.
“Any time you have an ability to do your job without getting into your vehicle in any kind of dangerous weather, why would you not?”
Ann Marie Khaled, executive recruiter at McAleer & Associates in Goshen was working from her home in Monroe on Wednesday.
“We have all the technology available; as long as we have access to a phone and a computer, it’s as if we’re in a virtual office.”
Maybe something good can come out of such horrible weather. Telework definitely aids productivity. Let’s hope employers notice.