Remote work is good option

Published 9:49 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Recent research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Americans have seen an 8-percent increase in the number of hours they spend behind the wheel since 2014.

Each week, AAA states, American drivers travel more than 220 miles, which adds up to about 70 billion hours behind the wheel across the country.

While not all of those miles and hours are the work commute, the study from AAA comes just as Virginia is celebrating Virginia Telework Week this week.

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AAA rightly points out that the more time drivers spend behind the wheel, the greater their exposure to risks on the roadway. And that’s not the only benefit to workers and their companies by staying off the road at least occasionally.

Studies have shown workers are more productive and efficient when working from home, report lower stress levels and higher morale and, counterintuitively, are more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers. A flexible remote work option also can help attract and retain talented younger workers and help employees be prepared to accomplish urgent tasks from home during inclement weather. Remote work, even if it’s only once a week or once a month, also helps the environment by reducing fuel consumption.

Virginia businesses can even claim tax credits for telework-related expenses, which would include hardware and software, as well as Internet service and fees for delivery, installation and maintenance of the equipment.

There are, of course, downsides to remote work. It works only for motivated, conscientious employees, and it can be hard for overachievers to set boundaries between work and family when they’re located in the same place.

However, we would encourage every Suffolk business to think about whether some kind of work-from-home arrangement would work for at least some of their employees.