Symantec Corporation announced the results of a poll taken in the Atlanta area to gauge telecommuting effectiveness during the 1996 games. Dubbed the "largest telecommuting experiment in U.S. history" many Atlanta-area businesses resorted to remote work programs to relieve congestion during the Games. Results demonstrate that the trend to telecommute will continue to increase rapidly as employees and employers alike realize that telecommuting increases productivity and quality of work.
While telecommuting, 70 percent of poll participants said they felt they were more productive than if they were in the office, and 62 percent said they were able to focus better on tasks, which leads to a higher quality product. In fact, 98 percent of the telecommuters polled plan to continue telecommuting in the future.
"Telecommuting allows me to devote my full attention to the projects I work on," said a telecommuter from BellSouth. "At home, I have fewer interruptions -- fewer telephone calls and no unexpected visits to interrupt my thought process."
"Telecommuting is becoming a strategic business imperative and for many companies a competitive advantage," says Christopher Calisi, vice president of Symantec's Communications Product Division. "Telecommuting is an attractive option for companies to offer employees as they realize more time is dedicated to producing work of higher standards while in more comfortable environments -- such as their home offices -- instead of dedicating that time getting to work."
Ninety-seven percent of poll participants said they would recommend to their company's management that telecommuting become an alternative work process.
A telecommuter from the Georgia Institute of Technology states, "I now have the time that I would normally spend commuting -- 22 miles twice a day in rush hour traffic -- available to either work or pursue personal hobbies."
Seventy-five percent of poll respondents said that not commuting and lack of interruptions allowed them to finish projects quicker and have ample time to spend with family and friends or a favorite hobby. In addition, 11 percent said telecommuting fostered more creative thinking which leads to better problem solving.
The recent games presented enormous traffic problems for businesses operating in downtown Atlanta, within the "Olympic ring". As a solution, Symantec and U.S. Robotics sponsored Operation Telecommute '96, an initiative developed to provide relief to Atlanta based companies. Five hundred free telecommuting relief kits, valued at more than $300 retail, were given to companies to enable employees to work from the comfort of their own home and still accomplish necessary business functions.
"Although there was no real way to measure it," says Michael Dziak, president of InteleWorks, Inc., a Snellville based telecommuting consulting firm, "we believe there were thousands of commuters working from home during the Games. We know of a few dozen employers that either expanded their existing program or started new telecommuting activities to maintain business continuity this Summer."
The relief kits contained pcANYWHERE for remote access, WinFax PRO for fax communications and a $20 rebate on the purchase of a Sportster V.34 Faxmodem, Sportster Voice V.34 Faxmodem with Personal Voice Mail or Sportster Winmodem V.34 Faxmodem for Windows.
Telecommuters in the survey found pcANYWHERE and WinFax PRO to be "user friendly." Additionally, 76 percent said they plan to use pcANYWHERE in the future and 73 percent plan to use WinFax PRO in the future.
"Due to the changing business environment telecommuting will continue to grow as an alternative to the ordinary work day," forecasts Mr. Calisi.