Gagging on gas prices

May 21 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

If you're in the United States, no doubt you've been affected to some degree by the steep rise in gasoline prices over the past few months. In fact, you'd have to be literally asleep at the wheel not to notice the particularly egregious increase at the pump over the past two weeks!

Unfortunately, Americans lost that revolutionary spirit of 1776, so it's highly unlikely that you'll see people protesting in the streets – at least loud enough to make a difference.

While it would be interesting to see people start to protest the inexplicable raise in prices, it would also be interesting to start a new discussion – making a new case for more telecommuting.

Though companies have for years fought back against employees working from home, there are few legitimate reasons to outright ban it as is still often the case.

Granted, not every position can be done remotely, often for security or logistic reasons, but many positions – especially within IT – can be done at home in a secure environment. Opponents don't like the idea of not being able to keep an eye on their employees, yet are willing to work with offshore teams charging exorbitant consulting fees.

With the prevalence of broadband internet in American homes, not to mention the increase in VOIP technologies – plus "old" technologies such as WebEx and remote desktop connection, you can pretty much emulate the office, with the exception of the bad meals at the canteen and the vending machines!

Increasing gas prices are making earning a living increasingly difficult, especially for those of us living in urban areas. Public transportation is often not a viable option and gridlock can be brutal – those 2 hours spent on the road would be better spent at home working.

Since it's not likely that gasoline is going to go down significantly any time soon, perhaps it's time for employers to stop assuming that working from home means goofing off and not doing anything and start thinking about helping employees improve productivity and to better manage their time.