In an effort to build on the growing momentum towards greater adoption of telework, Telework Exchange will host "Telework Week" on February 14-18, 2011. Underwritten by Cisco, this nationwide initiative is designed to encourage government agencies, small businesses, corporations, and non-profit organizations, as well as individuals, to give telework a try for up to one week to see how the flexible work arrangement impacts productivity, employee morale, and continuity of operations.
"Telework Week is a call to action for agencies, organizations, and employees alike," said Cindy Auten, General Manager of Telework Exchange. "It is the perfect time to start a telework discussion with management and for agencies and organizations to examine how telework can support business operations."
Telework Week is an expansion of the successful 2009 "Telework Day," a joint effort by Telework Exchange and the Commonwealth of Virginia. More than 4,000 employees (22 percent of which had never teleworked before) worked from home or a remote site on the designated day, eliminating 140,000 commuter miles from the local highways, reducing carbon emissions by 87.77 tons, and saving employees $124,000 in fuel and related commuting costs.
Auten expects the nationwide Telework Week will be even more successful. Already, thousands of enthusiastic organizations and individuals have pledged to participate in National Telework Week. These include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Georgia State Personnel Administration, Washington State University Extension, Northern Virginia Technology Council, Air Force Central Adjudication Facility, East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, California, Virginia State Police, and the Virginia Departments of Forestry and Transportation.
This national initiative will go a long way to help telework advocates gain the attention of employers that are on the fence about the work arrangement, says Veronica Baxter-Lamb, Transportation Coordinator for Commute Solutions, a component of the Houston-Galveston Area Council. "This really gives us an opportunity, a high-profile touchstone, to reach more of our employers and get them to give telework a try during this one week," she says.
Commute Solutions kicked off its own campaign in early 2011 to encourage more companies to embrace telework, and already five new employers have joined the program, including St. Luke Episcopal Health System and Reliant Energy, Inc.
To encourage more participation, the organization has started advertising National Telework Week on its Web site, is contacting local employers, and working with transportation management organizations, Chambers of Commerce, and local governments across an eight-county region to get the word out about the week-long event.
"We believe that by participating in National Telework Week, we will be able to expand our own program," Baxter-Lamb says. "Companies are increasingly interested in telework because it is a way to retain the best employees and save money within the organization. However, they need help getting started. Telework Week will be a good way for them to get involved and see how it works."
Suzell Hopman, Miami-Dade Outreach Manager for South Florida Commuter Services, a program of the Florida Department of Transportation, also believes participation in National Telework Week will help reach businesses and organizations that are interested in telework but have been hesitant to try it.
She already has sent out 400 packets to employers promoting National Telework Week and encouraging their participation. She also is working with property management companies to publicize the event at additional worksites. The first National Telework Week is being advertised on South Florida Commuter Services' Web site. (www.1800234ride.com)
"This is an opportunity to work with companies that have thought about implementing a telework program but are not sure how to go about it or are not sure how their employees would function," Hopman explains. "So we think this gives them the opportunity to try it out for a week, maybe set it up as a pilot project, and see if it is something that is feasible for them."
Participation in Telework Week is free. Interested participants can visit www.teleworkexchange.com/teleworkweek to pledge to telework any time during Feb. 14-18, 2011. Participants also can calculate the potential savings in commuting costs and environmental impact gained by teleworking.
Visit www.teleworkexchange.com to see a series of Webcasts with information for organizations on how to get a telework program underway.
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