TreeHugger Picks: Telecommuting



1) A lot of modern jobs consist of sitting in front of a computer all day, sometimes emailing or instant messaging the person in the next cubicle and phoning someone down the hall. All of this could be done from home, thanks to the internet, with many benefits to individuals, society and the environment. It's just a more elegant way of doing things. Telecommuting, we think, along with better urban planning, clean energy sources and efficient transportation (public and private), is a partial solution that must not be underestimated.
2) Anthony Page has a different take on it; he classifies himself as an extreme telecommuter. Page travels the world and works remotely via laptop. Amazingly, he finds an Internet connection almost everywhere, even in the poorest nations. He got the idea when his job as a web developer in London was outsourced to India; he took the hint and decided to work with clients long-distance over the Internet as well, while simultaneously taking a non-stop soujourn.
3) Some countries, like Japan, have offered tax incentives to employers who institute telecommuting programs for a while now, but the Parents’ Tax Relief Act of 2007, introduced into the US Congress earlier this year, may give Americans the same opportunity. There are a few interesting parts, including a telecommuting tax credit for employers of up to $2400 per telecommuter. Two more after the jump.

4) If you're wondering why more companies won't do it, and a new tax bill won't do it, there are some new drivers are in the works, particularly along the lines of disaster preparation. These include avoiding issues related to summer heat, and preparing for a (the?) bird flu epidemic. Add in the rising cost of gasoline, and it seems almost a surety that people will start looking for employ strongly based on commute time. Why wait for a crisis - address the management issues and start a program today.
5) Lastly, a slightly befuddling recent study by WSP Environmental suggests that, while home workers can save carbon emissions by not commuting, the extra heating and power they use during the winter months can outweigh the benefits. If an employee works at home all year, however, he or she pumps out 2.38 tons of carbon dioxide, whereas a typical office worker produces only 1.68 tons of carbon per year, suggests WSP. Wha?

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