Telework: How Cities Decongest


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Keynote presentation, given by Kyra Cavanaugh, president of Life Meets Work, at Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility event. Hosted by Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on August 5, 2010.

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Telework: How Cities Decongest

  1. 1. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  2. 2. Before I get started, I’d like to ask you some questions. (Please keep your hand raised as long as the questions apply to you) How many of you have telecommuting programs in place currently? How many involve occasional work from home when necessary? 1 day a week every week? 2 days a week every week? Full-time work from home positions? 2 Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  3. 3. I know from experience why there were fewer and fewer hands raised as we got into a deeper commitment for telecommuting. (standard challenges, points of resistance) And yet, we know from the research that even 1 or 2 days working from home can have a big impact on both the company and the community. So what are those benefits? If we had time, you could tell me, couldn’t you? I’m going to call out a couple of my favorites, and shortly, we’ll hear from our panel about the benefits they’ve experienced. And there are also community benefits that I’m going to cover in this presentation. My goal today is to help reinforce some of what you know already about telecommuting and to broaden your knowledge of what other communities around the country are doing to support telecommuting, Why we should care And what we can do about it (if we chose to). 3 Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  4. 4. One of my all time favorite pieces of research comes from’s Wasting Time at Work survey. In their most recent 2008 survey, they found that 36% of office workers waste 2 or more hours at work Top Time wasting activities Internet Socializing with co-workers Conducting personal business Personal phone calls Long lunches/breaks Why? Unsatisfied at work 46% Feel underpaid 34% Don’t have deadlines 24% (90% are full-time (8-10 hrs/day), 70% spend 1 hr or less commuting Employees with at least a bachelor’s degree waste a little more time (not under close supervision)) Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  5. 5. Brigham Young conducted a Study with IBM employees: At what point do employees report work/life conflict? Telecommuters with flexible hours = 57 hours Office workers without flexibility = 38 hours Telecommuters can work a full two days more than office workers without negative effect. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  6. 6. In Right Management’s latest newsletter, they reported the results of a June survey they did. Over 50% of employers surveyed said they’d involuntarily lost talent this year. And two studies last year showed that Workplace Flexibility is one of the top three decision criteria when making an employment decision. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  7. 7. Employers can save over $10,000 per employee per year If they work from home for half of their week. $10,000 is based on: #1 Productivity #2 Real estate and electricity #3 Absenteeism #4 Turnover (Based on 27% increase in productivity and value of employee time = $32, 136 per man-year.) Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  8. 8. Now let’s look at some community benefits: TechCast projects 30% of employees in industrialized nations will telework 2-3 days per week by 2019 In a global war for talent, Chicago will need to support telework to compete. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  9. 9. Telework is one of a number of strategies to reduce commuter trips, consumption of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions. A George Mason University study found that for every 1% of the Wash. D.C population that telecommutes, traffic delays go down by 3%. And Sun Microsystems reports that 60% of the time their employees used to spend commuting, they now work. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  10. 10. In a recent WGN/Tribune poll of Chicagoland residents: 43% of Chicagoans said traffic stress has gotten worse 45% of Suburbanites said it too. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  11. 11. Northeastern Illinois loses at least $7.3 billion every year in wasted time, fuel, and environmental damages, and drivers spend two-and-a-half days each year stuck in traffic. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  12. 12. Northeastern Illinois loses at least $7.3 billion every year in wasted time, fuel, and environmental damages, and drivers spend two-and-a-half days each year stuck in traffic. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  13. 13. Encouraging strategies (like telecommuting) that improve productivity, engagement and retention, customer loyalty, and lower operating costs is just good business practice. It provides an advantage to local business and encourages them to stay in Chicago. Companies need a consistent source of good talent, even in this slow economic recovery. So, Chicagoland has to compete for talent. We have to ensure that we have a talent base that attracts new businesses and encourages current businesses to remain. Research has shown that 20-somethings choose their city and then choose their work. Traffic congestion, flexible work opportunities, access to public transportation are some of the factors that create a “cool city” where talented people want to live and work. That means, we’re competing for talent with Seattle, Denver, VA, CT, Houston, etc. (and quite honestly, the rest of the world). So, it makes sense that we understand what they’re doing and seriously consider doing it too. But that’s where we have a problem… Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  14. 14. 27 states in our union have statutes or proposed bills involving telecommuting. 21 have statutes, 16 have proposed bills on everything from state employees, telecommuter classifications for tax purposes, broadband, investigations into how to proceed, tax incentives, etc. To my knowledge (and I’ve checked with a number of people on this) IL doesn’t have any laws on the books that support or encourage this practice. Let alone provide incentives to businesses who are interested. And a number of metropolitan areas, cities and states have created comprehensive programs to support and encourage businesses to implement telecommuting programs. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  15. 15. We were eligible for many millions of $$ from a federal Urban Partnership Agreement back in 2007, but it fell through. Why? Because our idea of congestion pricing was to regulate parking prices charged by private garage owners based on time of day. That was an unpopular idea, proposed without enough lead time to rerack and get the UPA funds. From a legislative perspective: We had a statute on the books in response to potential EPA regulations that were never realized, so it was revoked. There hasn’t been a strong advocate or consensus built to encourage incentives. While we’ve been sitting on our hands, or more focused on other issues, a number of metropolitan areas throughout the country are kicking our butts. They’ve found a way to connect what’s good for the community with what’s good for business. Public departments, funding, legislation to support businesses, improve the lives of employees and the community they live in. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  16. 16. CDOT program provides: •free consulting services to employers for the design and implementation of telecommuting programs, •Goal setting •Proposal writing •Program design •Training •Technology strategies •Free website tools Established in 1996 Motivation: to reduce traffic congestion, energy consumption and air pollution Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  17. 17. Virginia’s program offers companies up to $10,000 toward cost of leasing computers and high-speed internet $3,500 per employee (up to $35,000) for equipment and services $25,000 for consulting assistance Free phone consulting for all businesses More than 120 participating companies since 2001 10.8 million vehicle mile reduction annually Motivation: reduce traffic congestion, real estate, parking costs, improving productivity Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  18. 18. 1. Governor announced Telework Week: August 23-27 Companies register online Tracking environmental savings New air quality standards and tax incentive filing deadline are a big motivator 2. Since 2003, they’ve helped more than 250 companies establish or expand telework programs at no charge: workplace audit customize policies onsite training for managers and employees measure ROI assist in completing tax credit form Georgia Telework Tax Credit provides up to $20,000 ($2.5 million total) in tax credits for expenses to employers who establish or expand telework programs PLUS up to $1,200.00 per new teleworker (for computers, telecommunications, software, etc.) Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  19. 19. Flexible Workplace Initiative Flex in the City: two weeks in May where companies adopt flex and traffic is measured Every year productivity goes up, traffic congestion decreases Flexible Workplace Employer designation they can apply for (72 organizations currently carry the designation) Motivation: reduce peak hour congestion Has expanded beyond Houston to the state Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  20. 20. One of several initiatives of Urban Partnership Agreement (to reduce traffic congestion) Governor issued a proclamation “Explore and Experience Telework Month” (April 2010). eWorkplace initiative to encourage Twin Cities employers to offer telework to employees. eWorkplace provides free, online tools free consulting and expert advice Goal to recruit 2,700 teleworkers to work remotely 1 day per week in the first year through partnerships with employers. Those teleworkers (2326) reduced overall trips by 26% and 30% fewer trips during peak hours. (commuting 2.4x/wk) Eliminated 125,000 commute trips each day State appropriation of $3.2 million Collaboration between MnDOT and University of Minnesota Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  21. 21. Commute Trip Reduction Program from WsDOT (Law passed in 1991) statewide program to promote commute options 1100 worksites participate, In 2007, 4000 tons of air pollution reduced, reduced by 7.9 million gallons of gas Motivations: reduce traffic, air pollution, petroleum consumption Requires all employers with over 100 people to develop and implement CTR programs for their full- time employees. They can pick from a menu of options. Commuter Challenge is an initiative of enterprise Seattle which is their economic development group Commuter Challenge offers: Free consultations, online tools, workshops Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  22. 22. On top of the innovative programs and strong levels of support at a state and local level, you’ve also got the federal government turning up the heat. Federal government recommitted to expanding telecommuting (example/stat) Legislation?? Top priority of the Obama Administration Forum in March National Flex Challenge See form in your program Bills to beef up the number of federal workers telecommuting (in part as a continuity strategy) Encouraging businesses to step up (in lieu of mandates) Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  23. 23. So we need a response, an initiative of our own in Chicago. And there are some positive early signs of interest and involvement. Working with public, private, non-profit and academic institutions on strategies to increase support and create business incentives for telecommuting in Chicagoland: •WB upcoming roundtable in October •Civic Consulting Alliance/BCG recommendation •Metropolitan Planning Council Included in their overall commuter trip reduction strategy Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  24. 24. But we need your help. If you’d like to show your support for telecommuting in Chicagoland, here are some things you can do: Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work
  25. 25. Now, I’ll turn it back over to Bill and the panel. Thank you. Copyright 2010 Life Meets Work