At the Senior Executive's Forum on Telework in Tysons Corner, area business leaders and elected officials urged their peers to embrace telework, tying their enthusiasm to personal experience and newly-released figures from the 2004 State of the Commute survey.
Gerald E. Connolly, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Congressman Frank Wolf (R-VA), Bob Peck, President of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and a panel of executives from Discovery Communications, Calibre and KPMG stressed the benefits of telework such as reduced traffic congestion and air pollution, increased worker productivity, and business continuity in times of a crisis or natural disaster.
“The good news is that the potential for further expansion of telework is tremendous, and reachable with a concerted and collective effort from the private, non-profit and public sector communities,” Connolly said at the forum, which was sponsored by Commuter Connections, the Greater Washington Board of Trade (BOT), the Fairfax County Government and the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.
New data from the 2004 State of the Commute survey indicate that 420,000 employees throughout the National Capital Region would and could telecommute if given the opportunity. The latest figures show that 320,000 employees currently telecommute.
“If 43% of the 420,000 potential employees would telework… we would reach our regional goal of 20% of the workforce,” added Connolly.
Both Connolly and Wolf emphasized the business continuity benefits of telework. They told the audience that by having telework programs in place, their businesses can continue operating even if a crisis or natural disaster prevents their employees from getting to their offices for several days.
“For continuity of government if [a terrorist attack] occurs again, telework is absolutely important,” Wolf told the audience of business leaders.
Business executives Bill Barkovic (Calibre), Pete Minan (KPMG LLP) and Diane Duggan (Discovery Communications) spoke on a panel, moderated by Bob Peck, about their own telework programs. Duggan, Executive VP of Information Technology for Discovery, said that her company provides an array of alternative commuting benefits that range from telecommuting to buying new sneakers for employees who walk to work. The speakers agreed that telework has increased productivity and employee morale, reduced office space and parking expenses, and allowed their businesses to attract and retain highly qualified workers during a competitive job market.
Other new data from the survey focused on telework’s impact on traffic congestion and air quality. Because of the current 320,000 telecommuters throughout the region, the survey finds that two million vehicle miles are reduced per day. It also said that the region saves the consumption of over 100,000 gallons of gas, per day.
The State of the Commute Survey is conducted every three years by Commuter Connections, a regional commuter assistance program supported by the District, Maryland and Virginia Departments of Transportation with state and federal transportation funds.
For more information on Commuter Connections, please visit www.commuterconnections.com.