...new telecommuting perspectives

Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 11:35:26 -0800
To: perspectives
From: Rick Johnson
Subject: rick johnson's ..new telecommuting perspectives, issue 1
..new telecommuting perspectives
A free monthly newsletter created for folks concerned about
the safety, health, and other new benefits of telecommuting.
issue 1 - February 6, 1999
in this issue...
1. rick's message
2. guest commentary
3 american telecommuting
4. international telecommuting
5. featured links
6. book excerpt
7. call for information
8. newsletter details
1. rick's message
Welcome to the charter issue of "..new telecommuting
perspectives" coming to you from the ranch here in
Eastern Oregon, USA. There's a beautiful white blanket
of soft powder snow as far as the eye can see spread out
across this high desert range land. It's cold outside,
and it feels good to be inside typing away on my
Powerbook, warm and secure, safe and sound.
Some of you are new to the world of telework. Others are
true veterans. We all share a desire to hear more about
telecommuting benefits and the success folks everywhere
gain from this "safe road to work."
The successes aren't limited to employees only. Employers,
too, are discovering that telework really pays off. In
this issue, I'll highlight one particular employer who
knows telecommuting places this progressive organization
at the leading edge for recruiting the best workers and
providing a means for them to enjoy a healthier and safer
Please let me know what you like and what you don't like
about this first newsletter, so I can adjust the format
and content to make it better and more useful. Any items
I should add? Delete?
I'm glad you're on my mailing list, and I hope you'll
forward this newsletter to your friends.
Kindly, -Rick
2. guest feature
In this section, I'd normally place an article submitted by
a reader and/or an expert in telework, worker safety and
health, or a related field. However, this is my first
issue, so I thought I'd start out with an email message
I received from "Kathryn." She gives us some insights
into the challenges we all face as we try to make
our way commuting to and from activities every day.
Here's an excerpt from what she wrote:
"Dear Mr. Johnson,
I really appreciate your website - it's really thought
provoking. I am presently a stay at home Mom, and so not
playing the commuting game. However, I want to thank you
for the work you are doing and the untold lives that may be
saved, pain and suffering averted, and of course saved property
damage and pollution as added bonuses. My husband is a computer
programmer and is once again trying to convince his supervisor
to "allow" him to telecommute 2-4 days/week. He is generally
more productive at home; in spite of the two small children
there are actually fewer interruptions here and he doesn't have
to waste time and brain power in traffic. I think managers are
usually reluctant to judge workers based solely on their
productivity because they want to control and watch everything
You bring up some important points about health and safety
that we hadn't considered. Every mile that you don't drive in
a car is that much risk personally avoided. Not to mention that
if more people telecommuted traffic would be reduced which would
make the roads safer and friendlier for everyone. Rush hour is
so dangerous precisely because of the condition of the drivers
themselves - they are often tired, distracted, and running late."
3. american telecommuting
Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Albuquerque, New Mexico,
USA has taken a giant leap into the world of telework by
announcing a new telecommuting policy that took effect January
1, 1999. The front page headline of the January 29 "Sandia Lab
News" reads "Telecommuting now available to Sandians through
'employer of choice' policy initiative."
The article quotes Staffing Dept Manager Jon Bedingfield as
stating "This new working arrangement was adopted as one more
way of ensuring Sandia is an 'Employer of Choice.' Like the
9/80 work week and part-time employment, it is designed to
make the Labs an attractive place to work."
I'm familiar with SNL, because I had the honor of working for
a time with some of their very talented staff in Albuquerque,
when I was employed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
(Nestled in the mountains 100 miles north of Albuquerque, LANL
is another US Department of Energy research facility much like
SNL in the type of work they perform. For the sake of worker
safety and health I hope LANL management will soon join that
select group of forward-thinking employers like SNL and
encourage their employees to telecommute.)
By offering SNL workers an opportunity to telecommute SNL
management demonstrates they truly care about the safety and
health of their employees. They aren't just talking about
improving safety and health. They are doing something. The
telecommuting policy they've created will increase worker and
public safety and health, while improving worker quality of
life. I'm very pleased they have taken such an important
step. Such action will appeal to many job seekers today who
look for more than just a good paying position when they
consider employment.
Congratulations Sandia! You're concerned, involved and
leading us into the 21st Century.
SNL website: http://www.sandia.gov/
4. international telecommuting
Those of you over in Europe might want to check out the
"Internet Fiesta." And you folks outside of Europe might
be curious to see what's going on, too. You'll see what a
group of concerned citizens in another part of the world is
doing to raise Internet awareness. I would like to commend
the Internet Fiesta participants for their efforts. For
a growing list of the countries that are involved visit
http://www.internet-fiesta.org/events/. As I see it, France
appears to be leading the pack in the number of events hosted;
but Germany, Italy, and Spain have several activities planned,
as well.
I'm particularly pleased with the event identified under
the "International" heading - the "Grand prix Moi j'invente
Internet" as described at:
That effort to bring people online, particularly young people
between the ages of 10 and 16, and possibly provide them a
means to become future teleworkers, is truly commendable.
Internet Fiesta website: http://www.internet-fiesta.org/
5. featured links
This link provides a graph of the expected number of
telecommuters in the USA as a function of time. This forecast
is located on the JALA.Com website, founded by Jack Nilles,
the widely-acclaimed telework consultant and originator of
the term "telecommuting." The graph includes an estimate by Jack
Nilles as well as actual survey data obtained by Tom Miller
of Cyber Dialogue. The curve shows there are about 20 million
folks telecommuting right now with 30 million expected within
5 years. My own personal estimate is that more than 50
million people *could* be telecommuting this week just in
the USA, perhaps 10 times that number worldwide, so there's a
great potential for getting many more commuters off our
highways right away...
Michael J. Dziak, President, InteleWorks, Inc., provides
on-line instruction at the ITAC's "Telework America Online
Curriculum" site. He provides helpful information to folks
who want to convince their management to establish a formalized
telecommuting program. You employers should consider visiting
this site, as well. There are many compelling reasons for you
to encourage your workforce to telecommute. Michael doesn't
mention the safety and health reasons yet, but I'm sure
he'll list them one of these days.
Another new site where potential teleworkers can get help.
This site is part of the Working Moms' Internet Refuge. I
really like the new link you'll find there to the "Question
and Answer" board. It was specifically developed to address
questions from Moms about telework. I'm a Dad, but I went
there, anyway... 8-) Take a peek at this month's question
from "Nickled and Dimed" regarding who typically pays for
telework expenses - the employee or the employer?
6. book excerpt
I'd like to share a brief excerpt from a chapter in a book
I'm co-authoring with Ms. Manjusree Sen (book is tentatively
titled "Telecommuting - Safe At Any Speed").
by Manjusree Sen, Associate Director, TSHBI, Cambridge, MA
We are living in an age that is at the height of consumerism; an age
when the American Dream seems lost to many -- many who struggle from
day to day either looking for a non-existent job, trying to hold on to
one that is almost slipping away, or working at one that is unsafe,
unhealthy, and unsatisfying because telecommuting or telework is either
not an option, or an option for only a few employees managers seem to
In his book, "The Future in Plain Sight: Nine Clues to the Coming
Instability," Eugene Linden states that America's contribution to
Western civilization is a consumer economy. He lists indicators of
this economy gone awry, and emphasizes atmospheric changes in weather
patterns as evidence of modern-day catastrophic environmental problems
around the world. He observes:
"We have seen in this century how bad ideas, turbocharged by the
integrated global market and the heft of six billion people, can
transform the planet. Something so seemingly innocent as a
health-conscious interest in sushi has virtually stripped the North
Atlantic of bluefin tuna. Asian folk beliefs in the aphrodisiac
properties of tiger parts and rhino horn have driven both great animals
to the verge of extinction in the wild. Misunderstandings about natural
systems embedded in classical economics have encouraged nations to
destroy most of the world's original forests and wetlands and view the
results as a positive contribution to gross domestic product. We have
reached a point in history where we can no longer afford the luxury of
bad ideas. To paraphrase Sigmund Freud, the character of our ideas is
now the destiny of the planet."
In this era of consumerism, is it any wonder that the essence of our
lives, the very *quality* of our lives has slowly eroded? This
chapter attempts to explore this issue and understand the basics
of the American Dream so that we may recapture it for ourselves
and ensure it for our children.
7. call for information
I encourage you to share your thoughts, ideas, stories,
and any other information you might find useful. I'm
particularly interested in receiving "guest commentaries" -
short articles (200 to 400 words) that address new benefits
of telecommuting, particularly those benefits related to
safety and health.
I'd also like to hear about efforts by employees and employers
throughout the USA and the world to implement telecommuting work
options in their organizations. And if you know of any good
websites that I should highlight, please let me know that, as
well. Thank you!
8. newsletter details
This free newsletter is dedicated to improving safety, health,
and quality of life by encouraging telecommuting for safety
and health reasons as an option for all employees. It will
arrive in your mailbox every month or two unless you ask to be
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..new telecommuting perspectives
©1999, Telecommuting Safety & Health Benefits Institute
HC73 - Box 953, Buchanan Road, Burns, Oregon 97720 USA
Last revised: February 27, 2000
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