In the last few years, the D.C. region has quietly seen a significant rise in the number of people teleworking.
According to last year’s regional State of the Commute report, 10 percent of the area’s workers now primarily telework, and nearly one-third of all workers report teleworking at least some of the time (on average, 1.5 days per week).
These high teleworking rates allow the region’s transportation systems some greater flexibility for accommodating major events, such as a week-long papal visit or inaugural ceremonies. And since transit riders are more likely to telework, it provides a flexible option for taking demand off lines affected by SafeTrack surges or other maintenance disruptions.
While the many people teleworking already have helped minimize crowding and congestion during those disruptions – and have contributed to lower congestion on a daily basis as well – that same MWCOG report found that another 18 percent of workers could and would telework, at least on an occasional basis, if given the chance.
(In Virginia, home to Mobility Lab, March 6 through 10 marks the state’s official Telework Week: the Department of Rail and Public Transportation and local commuter agencies are working to ensure that all telework-interested employees and employers have the resources to give it a shot.)
Our sister program Arlington Transportation Partners has advice for both employees and employers on how to kick off the process, especially if one’s workplace is lacking an official policy. For employees whose workplace is on the fence, the business case is a clear one:
Put yourself in your employer’s shoes for a moment. What would convince you to try something new? Tailor your pitch accordingly and know the cost/savings of a telework program as well as data that can back up your point. You can also offer to take it off your boss’s plate by researching any equipment needed, drafting policies, and managing vendors. Here’s how this conversation may go:
YOU: Teleworking not only reduces our commute times, but saves you money. Some companies have saved more than $50 million in real estate costs, with the average savings for employers with full-time telework at $10,000 per employee, per year. Additionally, with the cost of losing a valued employee estimated between $10,000 and $30,000, not including recruitment and training costs, 95 percent of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention.
For employers looking to establish an official telework agreement, Mobility Lab contributor Pinky Advani of ATP breaks down the four essential parts, from equipment to benefits, that every policy should include. Interested employers can download ATP’s guide here.