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Teleconferences Offer Greener Alternative to Travel and Increased Productivity

The Telework Coalition show that more than 44 million Americans avoid commuting by doing at least some work outside the office.

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Teleconferences and Remote Workers Offer Greener Alternative to Travel

When companies devote extra resources to environmental perks, these green benefits also boost employee productivity and morale; and make recruitment easier.

Commuting can account for nearly one-fourth of corporate carbon emissions. Advanced teleconferencing systems promise to dramatically shrink the time we spend on airplanes.

Statistics compiled by the Telework Coalition show that more than 44 million Americans avoid commuting by doing at least some work outside the office.

According to Fortune magazine, 79 of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2006 allowed employees to work from home at least one day a week.

Remote Employees Save Commuting Costs and Create Value

Organizations with remote employees report:
  • Increased productivity
  • More competitive recruiting
  • Lower real-estate costs
  • Higher morale
  • Better retention rates
  • Less stress on the environment

Sun Microsystems' Open Work Program for Employees

Sun Microsystems began its "open work" program in 1995, allowing new hires to decide where they’d like to work when they negotiate their offer letter.

The company provides open-source network solutions and servicesfor 55% of its workforce. They are based primarily at home or divide their time between a Sun office and a home office.

In 2006, Sun saved close to $68 million in real estate and related operating costs and increased worker productivity by 34%. Sun also reduced its corporate CO2 emissions by 29,000 tons, because more than half of its employees don’t commute daily or put demands on office heating and cooling systems.

Sun asks remote employees to report to work through a virtual private network and a virtual desktop using a secure Java-enabled card ID. Files are stored on a central server rather than individual PCs.

Sun has established a consulting practice to help other businesses set up similar virtual workspace programs.

IBM Telecommuting for Employee Productivity

IBM -- 40% of its global workforce do not maintain an office within the company. "We don’t manage by whether you’re sitting at your desk, we manage by whether you’ve produced the deliverables," says Jacci Moss, IBM human resources director for Lotus software said in an analyst’s report for Veritude. Moss added that employees spend time working instead of commuting, and they work hard so this benefit will continue.

Other Remote Work Employers Focusing on Productivity

Republic Bancorp, HomeBanc Mortgage, American Fidelity Assurance, Morrison & Foerster and S.C. Johnson have the highest percentages of remote workers, ranging from 23–60%.

Telework Coalition

Read more about business innovations recognized by the Environment Defense Fund

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