3.29.11 – Ready to Ditch the SUV and Work From Home?

I have shied away from posts about making the business case for telework.  However, I am breaking the rules this week since a friend of mine recently emailed me a 3-year-old article from Forbes magazine that I thought may be  just as relevant today as when it was originally published (see link at the bottom). 

 Back in 2008 oil prices surged to $150 per barrel and Goldman Sachs was predicting a super spike of $200 per barrel in the not-so-distant future (the equivalent of $6 per gallon).  Then, prices dropped.  Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. But, in the long run the relatively low gas prices are only a temporary lull.  World crude oil prices are currently around $104 per barrel and given recent world events it is reasonable to believe that prices can continue to rise. 

Add to this mix, the rise in “extreme commuters”, those that commute more than 90 minutes each way to work.   According to Census Bureau info from 2004 (the most recent data I could find) there’s at least $3.4 million Americans that are willing to do this.  As the Forbes article points out, a Connecticut study found that up to 27% of employers considered WFH options as gas neared $4.50 per gallon and that figure increases to 37% if gas neared $5 per gallon.  

 From an employee’s perspective, the tangible financial benefits of teleworking or work from home options are clear.  I know of one person in the Washington DC area that has decided to stop the extreme commuting from Maryland by taking a position with a local business for a lower base salary.  The person did a simple cost-benefit analysis and then factored in some of the intangibles, such as time away from family.  Had this individual worked for an organization that offered WFH or flexible work arrangements, he might have stayed. 

What does all this mean for managers and leaders?  Perhaps now is a good time to review your organization’s work options.  If teleworking or WFH options are not available, now is a good time to advocate for your employees by building the case with senior management.   You and your employees could save a portion of your wallet and some sanity as well.

Link to Forbes article:  http://tinyurl.com/64yvr5z

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