Like most companies, the one where I spend my daytime hours is trying to go green. At least, that’s what the footer of some of the e-mails say: “Think before you print…”
However, I believe that if they truly wanted to go green and save money and cut down their carbon footprint1 that they should be willing to do something radical– let their information class workers (like software engineers, support personal, and management) have the option to work from home at least part of the week.
When Ohio’s Kent State University offered custodial staff the option of working four days a week instead of five to cut commuting costs, most jumped at the chance, part of a U.S. trend aimed at combating soaring gasoline prices.
“We offered it to 94 employees and 78 have taken us up on it,” said university spokesman Scott Rainone.
The reason is simple: rising gas prices and a desire to retain good workers. And while so far only the university’s custodians are eligible, Rainone hopes the option will be offered to all departments — including his own.
“In our office, we have people who travel anywhere from five or six miles to a couple who are on the road 45 to 50 minutes,” Rainone said. “As the price of gas rises, the level of grumbling rises.”
In my company’s case, they have a lot of people commuting between 45 mins to an hour from both directions, and you could save a lot of people’s money simply by letting them have the option of doing some of their work from home.
Of course, you’d have to have some metrics so that you know they weren’t taking it as another vacation day– maybe periodic phone calls, or having to be on IM the entire day.
Oh well, I think it’ll be quite some time before “Going Green” becomes telecommuting.
- Disclaimer: I’m not one that believes that any Global Warming that is currently happening is a result of Green House Gases to the point that we have any control over. I’m accepting that my company does for the point of discussion.