More Businesses Turning to Teleworkers to Save Costs
By Annalyn Censky
Get out of that cubicle and stay home. That's what some companies are telling their employees as they implement teleworking programs in an effort to save costs, cut air pollution and boost morale.
And whether it's because of county-mandated programs or private business interests, companies are finding ways to make teleworking happen.
Essentially, teleworking enables employers to get more bang for their buck. Valley Metro officials say.
The regional transit provider promotes teleworking to about 1,200 employers that are mandated by Maricopa County's trip-reduction program to cut back on total driving time.
Its part of the county's effort to attain federal air pollution and emissions standards, said Mario Diaz, Valley Metro's senior marketing manager.
In 2001, Valley Metro helped Carollo Engineers in Phoenix start a teleworking program in which 1- employees worked from home one or two days each week.
According to Valley Metro case studies, the program reduced employee commutes by a total of 17,000 miles and cut an estimated 459 pounds of pollutants in one year. It also increased productivity, decreased absenteeism and improved retention.
Each week in February, Valley Metro representatives plan to work with a specific organization to promote teleworking programs
They have worked in the past with Cox Communications Inc, U-Haul International Inc. Cigna Healthcare of Arizona and the city of Mesa, which in total have hundreds of employees who telecommute.
According to World at Work, 12.4 million employees worked remotely at least once a month in 2006, a jump from 7.6 million in 2004.
Companies not under the county mandate are implementing teleworking programs for other reasons. For example, office space is just too expensive for many smaller business, said entrepreneur Bill Grodnik.
Grodnik is founder and CEO of Davinci Virtual, a Salt Lake City-based company that offers "virtual" offices. For a fee starting at $95 a month, a small business can rent an office room in a high-profile commercial building.
Several tenants share central conference rooms, copy and fax machines and a receptionist who personalizes her phone greeting for each tenant's specific phone line.
It's basically a luxury hotel for business space.