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Telecommuting

This page provides information on local government telecommuting policies in Washington State, including links to regulations, examples and recommended resources.


Overview

Telecommuting has experienced significant growth in recent years and, as telecommunications hardware and software develop and the economy becomes increasingly more digital, it may even increase at a higher rate. Reasons for telecommuting's popularity include: increased production, more flexibility in the workplace, decreased sick leave, decreased turnover, reduced office space needs, increased organizational skills, and less pollution and traffic congestion from people driving to work. Most telecommuters work at home 1-3 days a week, work on specific projects, and many require very little in expenses. Though telecommuting is not for everyone, many businesses and organizations can create telecommuting programs that increase productivity, flexibility, and improve the bottom line.

Telecommuting programs allow employees to work at home (or at a neighborhood telework office) rather than commuting daily to a more distant work site. These programs can result in significant reductions in rush-hour traffic congestion, vehicle emissions and fuel consumption. One study (cited on the EPA website) estimated that $23 billion could be saved in transportation, environmental, and energy costs if there were a 10 to 20 percent increase in telecommuting.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 was signed into law in December 2010. Federal agencies are the primary focus of the legislation, although the act may be an example for local action. The act requires covered agencies to develop a formal telework policy, and teleworkers must be given equal treatment in performance appraisals, work environments, and other areas. Additional information regarding the act is provided in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Telework Enhancement Act page.


Examples of Policies

For the most part, telecommuting policies relate generally to employers and the policies that have been adopted by one government or private entity. The policies that have been adopted by one government or private entity could, in most instances, be adopted by another.


Recommended Resources

Resources on Telecommuting for Reduced Traffic Congestion and Pollution Emissions

General Resources

  • Interagency Telework Site, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, General Services Administration - Includes telework manual, government documents and reports, information for telecommute coordinators including sample agreement
  • Telework Policy and Process, University of Washington
  • Telecommuting, Telework, and Alternative Officing - Gil Gordon, president of Gil Gordon Associates, a top national telework expert, provides up-to-date telework resource information, including a monthly on-line newsletter, Telecommuting Review.
  • The Telework Zone, Arizona - Based on a program in Maricopa County that has a goal of 20 percent of employees actively participating in telecommuting. This is an excellent resource. The site includes questions and answers, myths, strategies, and other materials regarding telecommuting.
  • National Travel Demand Management and Telework Clearinghouse, University of Southern Florida - This USDOT-funded project includes information about alternatives to driving alone and telework programs to meet the congestion, air quality, and mobility challenges facing our communities.

Last Modified: December 15, 2017