United States     Air and Radiation     EPA420-S-01-007
       Environmental Protection  Transportation and Air Quality September 2001
Implementing Commuter
Benefits Under the
Commuter Choice
Leadership Initiative


The National Standard of Excellence for Commuter Benefits
Implementing Commuter Benefits  under the
Commuter  Choice Leadership Initiative
              Telecommuting, also known as telework, is a work arrangement in which employees
              work part- or full-time from alternate locations, such as their homes or telework centers.

              Telecommuting has a number of important benefits for employers: it can serve as a valu-
              able recruitment and retention tool, increase employee morale and productivity, and
              reduce costs through office space and parking savings.

              Current estimates show that over 10 percent of the U.S. workforce telecommutes either
              part- or full-time. Improvements in information technology and remote computing
              access make this number likely to rise in the future.

              Studies have shown that telecommuters tend to drive less on the days they telecommute,
              which reduces both road congestion and air pollution.

              Telecommuting is one of the primary benefits under the Commuter Choice Leadership
              Initiative (CCLI). Employers must offer at least one of three primary benefits to their
              employees in order to participate in the CCLI (the other two are transit or vanpool benefits
              and parking cash out).

The National Standard of Excellence for Commuter Benefits
This document is one in a series of Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative briefing papers designed to help
employers implement commuter benefits.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have
established a voluntary National Standard of Excellence for employer-provided commuter benefits.
Commuter benefits help American workers get to and from work in ways that cut air pollution and global
warming pollution, improve public health, improve employee recruiting and retention, improve employee
job satisfaction, and reduce expenses and taxes for employers and employees. Participants in the Commuter
Choice Leadership Initiative (CCLI) agree to meet the National Standard of Excellence, and qualify as
Commuter ChoiceSM Employers. CCLI participants agree to:

   Centralize commute options information so that it is easy for employees to access and use;
   Promote the availability of commuter benefits to employees;
   Provide access to a guaranteed ride home program;
   Provide one or more of the following primary commuter benefits:
    /  Vanpool or transit benefits of at least $32.50 per month
    /  Parking cash out of at least $32.50 per month
    /  Telecommuting program that averages six percent of daily work force
    /  Other option proposed by employer and agreed to by EPA
   Provide three or more of the following additional commuter benefits:
    /  Ridesharing/carpool matching                      /
    /  Pre-tax transit/vanpool benefits                     
The National Standard of Excellence for Commuter Benefits

EPA provides this briefing as a service to employers participating in the CCLI. Information about private
service providers is intended for informational purposes and does not imply endorsement by EPA or the
federal government.

The information presented here does not constitute official tax guidance or a ruling by the U.S. Government.
Taxpayers are urged to consult with the Internal Revenue Service of the U.S. Department of Treasury or a tax
professional for specific guidance related to the Federal tax law.

                                   CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
gTable of Contents

EMPLOYER BENEFITS ........................................ 2
  RECRUITING AND RETENTION ............................................. 2
  INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY ................................................. 2

TAX CONSIDERATIONS ....................................... 3

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ........................................ 3

  EMPLOYEES WITH PERSONAL NEEDS ................................ 4

  TELECOMMUTING PROGRAM TURNOVER ........................ 5
  COSTS ...... . [[[ 5

GUIDE TO IMPLEMENTATION .......................... 7

  WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN THE OFFICE? ............................ 10
  AFFECT DEPENDENT CARE ISSUES? ................................. 10
  WHO CONTINUE TO WORK ON-SITE? ............................... 11

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Telecommuting is a workplace arrangement in
which employees work part- or full-time away
from the primary workplace. Most telecommuters
work out of their homes, but a smaller number
work out of "telecenters:" offices with communi-
cations access to the main workplace, but closer
to the employee's home.'

Most telecommuting is based on exchanging
information via telephone and computer.
Telecommuting has been increasing as communi-
cations technology improves and becomes cheap-
er, and as employers and employees have become
more comfortable with it. However, many
employees  and employers have also begun to
regard telecommuting as having a positive impact
on employees through reducing long commutes.
As a result, in addition to providing emissions
benefits, telecommuting is also a valuable recruit-
ment and retention tool for employers.

The term "telework" is generally interchangeable
with telecommuting. However, some authors use
the term "telework" for a broader category of
employees  who are able to work from any loca-
tion (e.g., hotels, airports, client offices) using
communications technology, and are not tied to a
fixed location. The distinction between these
terms may  become more blurred with the growth
of communications technologies. However, most
surveys of telecommuting do not make this dis-
tinction, and accurate estimates of the number of
teleworking employees are not available,  so this
paper uses  the term telecommuting for both types
of work.
Telecommuting is linked to the proliferation and
advance of telecommunications technology. Until
the 1980s, most office arrangements required
employees to be physically present to perform
their jobs. However, with the ability to exchange
documents over phone lines via modems, many
jobs (in whole or in part) can be performed from
remote sites. Such tasks as entering and analyzing
data, writing and editing documents, and comput-
er programming are no longer tied to specific
locations. The term "telecommuting" was coined
by Jack Nilles in 1973, during a period in which
interest in the concept was high due to the growth
in computer technology and the oil crises.

Telecommuting has increased dramatically over
the past several decades, for several reasons:
advances in computer and remote access technol-
ogy, longer commutes, and the desire of employ-
ees to spend more time with family. However, the
actual number of telecommuters is difficult to
measure accurately because of varying definitions
and the small sample size of many surveys.
Current estimates from the International Telework
Association & Council (ITAC) put the number of
telecommuters in the U.S. at 16.5 million in 2000
(ITAC, 2000). According to the U.S. Department
of Labor, 17.7 million non-agricultural workers
worked on their principal job from home in 1997,
the most recent year for which figures are avail-
able (Dept of Labor, 1999, table 3-10). These fig-
ures imply that approximately 12 percent of the
workforce telecommutes at least occasionally. On
the other hand, market research firm IDC puts the
total number of home-based offices at 34.3  mil-
lion, of whom only 8.7 million are classified as
telecommuters (IDC, 2000).
1  Telecommuting does not include the following
employment arrangements: home-based businesses (small
companies with their main offices co-located in a resi-
dence), work in branch offices, and employment in which
the regular work location is not fixed (for example, truck
drivers and airplane pilots would not be considered to be

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Telecommuting can assist a business in several
key areas.

Recruiting and Retention

Many employers are looking at telecommuting
primarily as an employee benefit, not a cost- or
space- saving measure. The literature abounds
with anecdotal evidence that employees seek out
jobs and firms with telecommuting possibilities:

    Schilling [owner of telecommuting consulting
    firm TCS] cites the case of a competitor of
    American Express, one of TCS' earliest
    clients. "They didn't have any of the issues
    that ordinarily lead to a formal program,"
    says Schilling.  "So I [say], 'OK, we don't get
    it. Why do you want to do telecommuting?'
    And they [say], 'Because American Express is
    doing telecommuting.1 We are after the same
    people as it is, and we're starting to get an
    increased number of people coming through
    the door, and they  ask us 'Do you offer work-
    at-home programs?' When we say 'No,' they
    say, Thank you very much.' So we have all
    this space,  we have all these great things,
    we're rural, and the cost of telecom and net-
    work is under control, but we've got to offer
    this because those  guys offer it." (Hotch,

In addition, many employers have found that
telecommuting allows  them to retain employees
who would otherwise leave for personal reasons,
such as moving out of the area or the birth of a
child. Fitzer (1997) makes atypical case:

    Some companies have come to view telecom-
    muting options as  important components of
    their competitive strategies for attracting and
    retaining valuable  talent. For example, a
    Connecticut-based insurance company
    arranged for one of its most productive soft-
   ware programmers to telecommute from
    Canada. The company calculated it was less
    costly to pay for the employee's regular office
    visits and for installation of the needed technol-
    ogy in the worker's home than to lose the pro-
    grammer's business knowledge and creativity.

Cost Savings

Many companies find that telecommuting saves
money in the long run, because cost savings can
be achieved in a number of areas:

   Reduced rent costs if telecommuting employ-
    ees use less office space;
   Reduced recruiting and retention costs; and
   Increased productivity for telecommuting

Fitzer (1997) speculated  that the net savings per
telecommuting employee could reach $12,000

    Another powerful driver spurring the use of
    telecommuting is potential real estate cost
    savings from housing fewer employees on-
    site. These savings easily offset the expense
    of equipping telecommuters with hardware,
    software, and other needed supplies. June
    Langhoff, author of the recently published
    book, The Telecommuter's Advisor,  says that
    employees telecommuting two days a week
    can save companies 15  to 25 [percent] in
    higher productivity, as well as decrease
    turnover, reduce space requirements, and
    decrease sick-time usage by two days, result-
    ing in a total savings  per employee of an esti-
    mated $12,000 annually.

Increased Productivity

Many telecommuters  report higher productivity
while working from home,  due to reduced work-
place distractions. For example, according to the
1999 Telework America National Telework
Survey, almost one-half of telecommuters

                                     CCLL  Telecommuting/Telework
surveyed reported higher productivity at home
than in the office (40 percent said their productiv-
ity was unchanged, while only 10 percent said
their productivity had declined.) (Pratt, 1999) In
addition, use of sick leave tends to decline when
employees telecommute. This may be due to a
several reasons: employees are less likely to call
in sick for spurious reasons, less likely to need
time off for doctor's appointments, and less likely
to need time off because of a sick child.

Benefits at Individual Employment Sites

Employers that institute telecommuting programs
may be able to reduce parking at their workplaces
if the number or percentage of telecommuters is
sufficiently high.
  J$S$*~ 3^ P ~v+fV -rf \  v^* ?. > ' j
There are currently no federal tax incentives or
implications for establishing a telecommuting
program. Legislation introduced at the federal
level would allow a $500 tax credit for employers
or employees who begin telecommuting over 75
days per year. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) most
recently introduced a bill in March, 2001 (a
February, 2000 introduction of identical legisla-
tion died in committee), and companion legisla-
tion was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rick
Santorum (R-PA). The tax credit could be taken
by either the employer or the employee, depend-
ing on who incurred the expense of setting up a
home office.

For tax purposes, telecommuters are considered
regular employees (not persons running a busi-
ness out of a home). If a telecommuting employ-
ee lives in a different state than the employer's
main office, s/he should consult a tax expert to
determine applicable state tax laws. Generally,
most telecommuters will not be eligible to claim
the home-based office tax deduction. According
to IRS regulations, in order for a telecommuter
home office to qualify for the home office deduc-
tion, it must be regularly and exclusively used for
business, and the arrangement must be at the
employer's request (i.e., if the telecommuter
chooses to work out of the home for convenience,
the deduction would not be allowed). (Flynn,

At the state level, Oregon allows employers to
take a tax credit of 35 percent for investments
made in telecommuting (i.e., costs of purchasing
and installing office and computer equipment).
The credit, which employers must be approved
for in advance of their investments, is spread over
a five-year period: 10 percent in the first two
years, and five percent annually for the next three
years. Telecommuters must work from their home
or telework center at least 45 days per year to
make the program eligible.
Employees generally react very positively to
telecommuting programs. The main benefit is
commute time savings, which can amount to sev-
eral hours per day or more. Employees can spend
this extra time with then" families, or on other
personal needs.

Employees also enjoy the following benefits:

  Decreased stress.  Many drivers find solo
   commutes in heavy traffic stressful.
   Telecommuting allows them to avoid traffic.
  Reduced costs. Telecommuters save .on gas,
   depreciation, and general wear and tear on
   their vehicles.
                 s,   - *-  
      ,1 j, *j, f * ta i.       ^^,
     sis SENSE
Many disparate factors affect employers' ability,
to offer telecommuting, and the effectiveness of
telecommuting programs. While the following
discussion is not exhaustive, it covers the main

                                      CCLI:  Telecommuting/Telework
Employers with Information Workers

Only employees who can perform their tasks away
from the main workplace can telecommute. The
U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) sug-
gests the following types of jobs as most suitable
for telecommuting (OPM, 2001):

  Jobs that involve thinking and writing
  Data analysis
  Writing decisions or reports
  Telephone intensive tasks
  Computer-oriented tasks (data entry, web page
   design, word processing, programming, engi-
  Payroll transaction processing
  Analysis-type  work (investigators, program
   analysts, financial analysts)
  Customer service jobs

As the list above describes many white-collar jobs,
offices with high concentrations of such workers
are good candidates  for telecommute programs. On
the other hand, jobs that require face-to-face com-
munication, access to on-site materials or files
(including confidential material), and site-specific
occupations are not as amenable to telecommuting.
Within companies whose primary occupations are
not right for telecommuting, there may still be posi-
tions with the potential to telecommute (for exam-
ple, a large construction company with an in-house
human resources department might allow an
employee in the payroll section to telecommute).
There may also be positions whose duties would
lend themselves to telecommuting on a part-time
basis. In general, however, telecommuting has the
most promise in offices with large concentrations
of information workers, whose outputs depend
largely on computer access.
Established Employees

Because telecommuting requires supervising
employees not at the workplace, telecommuting
tends to work better for employers who are already
assured of their employees' work quality and relia-
bility. Most employers are reluctant to allow new
employees to telecommute, because of concerns
that they may not perform well or that they will not
become sufficiently acquainted with the company's
internal structure and culture. Similarly, at a very
new company, the importance of face-to-face inter-
action among all employees may outweigh the
potential benefits of telecommuting.

Employees with Personal Needs

Telecommuting may be used by employers to
retain established employees who would otherwise
resign for personal reasons (moving, child- or
eldercare issues). In addition, some employers have
found that disabled employees can be accommodat-
ed through telecommuting when physical access
issues are problematic.

Competitiveness in a Crowded Employment Field

Many companies have begun to view telecommut-
ing as primarily an employee benefit, rather than a
transportation strategy or means to reduce costs.
For example, one survey of 3,400 high tech work-
ers in the Washington,  DC area asked what
employer perk they would most appreciate; the
largest response (548 respondents, or  16 percent)
was telecommuting, followed by training and flex-
time. (Behr, 1999)

However, employers should also be aware that
because not all positions are suitable for telecom-
muting, they may not want to characterize telecom-
muting as  a "benefit." Rather, they may wish to
publicize a telecommuting program or arrange-
ment, so as to minimize the perception that
telecommuting will be available to all employees.

                                     CCLI:  Telecommuting/Telework

This section addresses a variety of implementa-
tion issues, including supervision and evaluation.


An employer should establish guidelines for
determining which employees can telecommute.
There may be two components to eligibility:
which activities within a company are suitable for
telecommuting, and which employees have the
job skills that make them eligible to telecommute.
Even if a particular activity or position lends
itself to telecommuting, the employee may not be
allowed to telecommute until after a training peri-
od, or obtaining a certification. Telecommuting
guidelines and policies should address both

Amount ofTime Spent Telecommuting

Few telecommuters spend their entire workweek
off-site. One study (Varma, et al., 1998) found
that the average number of days worked at tele-
work centers by California employees was 1.1
per week. Handy and Mokhtarian (1996), review-
ing the research, found that the average number
of days telecommuters spent working off-site was
one to two per week. While this may vary with
the type of work performed, most firms find that
full-time telecommuting is far less common than
occasional telecommuting.

Telecommuting Program Turnover

If programs are solidly implemented and telecom-
muters selected well, telecommuting programs
are generally successful. However, a few  studies
suggest that some employees encounter problems
with the arrangement and return to regular com-
muting. In a study of approximately 275 telecom-
muters at telework centers in California, 50 per-
cent stopped telecommuting within nine months.
(Varma, et al., 1998) Most reasons were job-relat-
ed (e.g., a change in position or request from
supervisor to return to a regular office schedule),
rather than personal dissatisfaction with the
arrangement. Also, turnover may be higher at
telecenters than for home-based telecommuters,
and some telecenter employees find it is just as
easy to work at home.


Employers usually pay the costs of telecommut-
ing arrangements for their employees. Costs
might include computer equipment, networking
access (including internet, intranet, and/or com-
pany servers), additional phone lines, fax
machines and printers, and in some limited cases
general office equipment (ergonomic chairs, files,
cabinets, etc).

Costs to implement a telecommuting program
will vary dramatically depending on the type of
equipment currently owned by the employer;
according to one recent article, "Starting from
scratch, you'll pay anywhere from $1,500 to
$30,000 for network server alone," in addition to
monthly costs (Sandlund 2000b). Another study
advised companies that average investment per
employee would be $3,000 to $5,000, with an
additional $1,000 incurred in costs each year
(Cascio, 2000). JALA International's general esti-
mate claims that the average employer will spend
$5,500 in establishing each individual employee
as a telecommuter (estimate available at
http://www.jala.com/homecba.htm).  Most costs
are depreciable, so the bottom-line costs will be

In addition, employers should consider liability
issues, such  as responsibility for lost data, theft of
equipment, or damage due to power spikes, and
insure telecommuters appropriately. There is a
small field of telecommuting law that considers
under what circumstances employers could be
held liable for workplace injuries incurred in the
employee's home (Sandlund, 2000a).

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Cost Savings

Although implementing a telecommuting pro-
gram requires investment, many find that it pro-
duces long-term savings. For example, telecom-
muting consultant JALA International estimates
that the average business will achieve net benefits
of $6,400 in the first year of telecommuting,
through a combination of increased productivity,
reduced sick leave, decreased turnover rate, and
reduced need for parking and office space (see
www.jala.com/twctrcba.htm). ITAC (International
Telework Association & Council) found that the
equivalent values in 1999 were $11,850. (Pratt,

Not surprisingly, cost savings vary. In a pilot
project in which 60 employees at the Minnesota
Department of Administration telecommuted for
12 months, supervisors reported no change in the
use or amount of new office space needed. In
addition, only eight percent of supervisors report-
ed reduced operating costs; most reported no
change. (Minnesota Office of Technology, 1997)
Potential cost savings depend on many factors:
current operating costs, investment in telecom-
muting infrastructure (for example, if a firm
invests in a computer server for only one
telecommuter, savings will be much less than if
the same investment handled 10 telecommuters),
and whether telecommuting is linked to changes
in organizational structure.

Telecommuting and Use of Office Space

Telecommuting can be performed:

  From the employee's home;
  From an employer's satellite office close to
   the employee's home;
  From a telecenter (an office in which employ-
   ers rent space for telecommuters); or
  Entirely remotely (from locations such as
   hotels, airports, or client offices).
Most telecommuting is currently done from the
employee's home. According to ITAC's Telework
America 2000 survey, only seven percent of
telecommuters work exclusively from telecenters,
while another four percent work from both home
and telecenters. Entirely remote work is uncom-
mon; it is most likely to be practiced by a mobile
sales force or other employees who travel exten-

In a  "hotelling" arrangement, employees no
longer have a permanent workspace in the main
office, but are assigned an office based on their
need for space. This arrangement can reduce rent
costs, since several telecommuting employees can
share a single office, on different days. This
arrangement tends to work best when telecom-
muting employees use the main office infrequent-
ly, and need relatively few physical files-that is,
they need only phone and computer access.
However, there are many varieties of hotelling
and space-sharing, and in some cases they are
used by telecommuters in the office as many as
three days a week.

Management Issues

Managing employees who are not at the work-
place daily  poses a number of challenges.
Duxbury and Neufeld (1999) studied how work-
place communication changed when employees
began telecommuting, and reported that employ-
ees and managers raised three main issues:

  Communications between managers and
   employees became more formal (increased
   use of phone and memos, with a concurrent
   decrease in face-to-face meetings);
  Loss of informal office culture and decrease
   in the ability to make spontaneous work
   assignments and decisions;
  Perceptions by co-workers that the telecom-
   muter was not working while at home (e.g.,
   "Co-workers seem afraid to call me at home.
   They think they'll be bothering me.") and
   occasional jealousy of telecommuters.

                                    CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
These potential problems can be avoided through
careful selection of telecommuting participants
and training.
Telecommuting can reward businesses in terms of
recruitment, retention, and cost savings.
However, implementing a telecommuting pro-
gram involves a high degree of investment in
information technology, trust in workers, changes
in supervisory techniques and expectations, and
support from management.  The following sug-
gested 12 steps are drawn from two sources:
OPM and the American Health Information
Management Association (AHIMA). The steps
are meant as a rough guide  for interested employ-
ers; specifics will necessarily vary from employer
to employer depending on the size of the firm,
the nature of the work, and  the potential number
of telecommuters.

1)  Designate a telecommuting coordinator
    and/or implementation committee.

Before proceeding with a telecommuting project,
key stakeholder personnel should be identified.
This committee include representatives from
human resources, information management, risk
management, facilities management, and senior
management, as well as employee representa-

2)  Obtain support from senior management.

Senior management  should be involved and sup-
portive from the inception of the program.
Telecommuting may raise issues such as  changes
in supervisory techniques and productivity meas-
urement that senior management should be aware
of; in addition, telecommuting will involve both
start-up and on-going costs.
3)  Determine employee interest.

The program coordinator or committee should
determine the extent of employee interest in
telecommuting, perhaps through survey or orien-
tation sessions. General parameters of a possible
program could be discussed.

Two other groups should be considered at this
time. First, unions should be included in the deci-
sion-making process. Employers sometimes
encounter concern from unions, from fear that
employees will be forced to work at home when
they prefer to remain in an office setting, or that
telecommuting may become a way to squeeze
more work out of employees. Second, managers
will benefit from orientation and education about
telecommuting. Early involvement by managers
may avoid the fear that telecommuting is some-
thing being "done to them," and can also alert the
coordinator or committee to real or perceived

4)  Explore which arrangement - home-based,
    hotelling, telework center, or other - will be
    most feasible and productive.

Companies  can set up telecommuting programs
in many ways, as described above. The best
arrangement for a particular employer will
depend on many factors - the type of work (for
example, data entry from home one day per
week, or most time at sales and client meetings),
the size of the company (will there be enough
employees to make setting up or renting telecen-
ter space economically feasible?), and the type of
remote computer access needed.

If there are  area telecenters, the committee should
make a recommendation as to whether they are a
possibility. The decision should be made with
input from affected departments and senior man-
agement. Telecenters offer the advantage of being
already set up with computing equipment and in
many cases professional staff; on the other hand,
fees may be several hundred dollars per month or
more to use the facility one day per week.

                                      CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
5)  Identify specific positions appropriate for
    telecommuting arrangements.

Not all positions are suitable for telecommuting.
Generally the most likely positions for telecom-
muting are knowledge- and information-intensive
positions (analysts, researchers, data entry, pro-
gramming, etc.), positions that require outside
meetings (sales representatives, etc), and other
positions whose duties can be performed out of
the office (telephone work, reading, writing).
Positions that require face-to-face interaction
with co-workers or clients (medical/nursing,
receptionist, elementary school teaching), access
to site-specific files (military personnel dealing
with classified information), and other jobs that
require presence in a particular location (photog-
rapher) are generally not be suitable for telecom-
muting. Also, telecommuting does not have  to be
all or nothing; many positions may require some
face-to-face contact, but still be suitable for part-
time telecommuting.

6)  Determine  equipment, technology, security,
    and liability needs and costs.

Telecommuting requires, in most cases, sophisti-
cated information technology equipment to give
employees access to company files, internal net-
works, e-mail, and the like. In addition, many
employees may require additional phone lines,
fax and printers, and standard office equipment.
The information technology department should
assess the company's current infrastructure and
determine whether upgrades or new equipment
are needed, and what level of security should be
provided. Employees should have access to  simi-
lar equipment that they have in the office to
maintain the same level of productivity. In gener-
al, the older the current equipment, the more cost-
ly and difficult it will be to implement telecom-
The technical issues around remote access are too
complicated to explore in depth in this paper.  A
useful list of articles reviewing broadband and
DSL options can be found at http://www.gilgor-
don.com/resources/reports.htm Also, the ITAC
e-Work Guide has a chapter dedicated to technology
issues; it is available at http://www.telecom-

Cost estimates for equipment procurement and
installation may take time to prepare, especially if
a company has complex security or proprietary
information issues to address.

In addition, employers should explore potential
liability issues regarding loss or damage to home-
based employer-owned equipment, loss of valu-
able company information through computer fail-
ure or hacking, and workplace injuries that occur
off-site. The company's insurance policies should
be updated accordingly.

7)  Prepare and present a telecommuting

Before beginning any telecommuting program,
the following parameters should be well-defined:

Pilot program. Will there be a pilot program to
be evaluated before an organization-wide adop-
tion of telecommuting? If so, these guidelines
should be drawn up.

A telecommuting policy for the organization.
This would define eligible positions, guidelines
for participation (e.g., an employee must work
full-time for a year before becoming eligible, or
have certain defined work skills), financial
responsibility (e.g., the employer pays for equip-
ment and installation,  but the employee agrees to
pay for additional insurance against theft), and
any change in status or benefits for telecom-

                                     CCLI:  Telecommuting/Telework
Develop a telecommuting agreement. Both
OPM and AHIMA recommend formal agree-
ments between employers and individual employ-
ees who want to telecommute. The agreement
should include such topics as trial period, official
duties, work schedule, timekeeping and leave,
equipment and supplies (including ergonomic
standards and other OSHA issues), security and
liability, worksite criteria, costs, injury compensa-
tion, and performance evaluation. Sample agree-
ments are available at:

   www.ahima.org/journal/pb/99.02.ex3 .html

Screening criteria. Subject to equal employment
opportunity criteria, an employer should screen
potential telecommuters via survey form or per-
sonal interview. Criteria might include the type of
job duties to be performed, the degree to which
the employee can be evaluated based on work
products, not physical presence, and suitability of
employee's home as office space. The company
should have  a clear policy on telecommuting eli-
gibility to diminish perceptions or possible accu-
sations of favoritism or discrimination.

Similarly, employees should screen themselves if
the home situation is not suitable in some way, or
if the person does not have the self-discipline
needed to work from home. Also, employees
should be clear that they cannot both telecom-
mute and care for dependents simultaneously.

Evaluation criteria. If the employer sets up an
initial pilot program before implementing a full-
scale telecommuting program, evaluation criteria
should be selected. These could include employee
productivity (along with basis for measurement),
employee satisfaction, client or customer satisfac-
tion (for example, if a customer service represen-
tative begins working  from home), and degree  to
which other employees in a section are affected
by a telecommuter (e.g., is other employees' work
hindered by the telecommuter's absence) If a for-
mal evaluation is to be completed, baseline
benchmarking data should be established so that
before-and-after comparisons can be made.

8)  Take final steps toward implementation.

This includes procuring and installing equipment,
selecting telecommuters, disseminating telecom-
muting guidelines and policies, signing telecom-
muting agreements, and setting an implementa-
tion date.

9)  Train all personnel involved.

Telecommuting involves new ways of working as
well as supervising and evaluating, so participat-
ing personnel - whether employees or supervisors
- should receive training. Some companies even
set up a simulation lab in which potential
telecommuters can work for several weeks under
conditions similar to their potential home office
set-up: no face-to-face contact with other employ-
ees and remote computing access. This allows
them to determine their suitability for telecom-

In addition, a company may wish to develop a
training program for supervisors so they will be
familiar with the demands and issues raised by
telecommuting - lack of direct personal contact,
potential difficulties with on-site employees, and
measuring productivity. Some consider supervisor
training as important as employee training.

10) Administer pre-telecommuting evaluation.

If a before-and-after benchmarking survey is to
be done, the pre-telecommuting survey should be
administered at this point, before program imple-
mentation begins.

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
11) Implement the program.

Once equipment, guidelines, agreements and
training have been signed and completed,
telecommuting can be implemented.

12) Assess results.

After a period of time, the firm should assess the
program's effectiveness. If a before-and-after sur-
vey was carried, the after data should be assessed.
Those results, as well as other measures of cost,
productivity, and morale, should be compared to
evaluation criteria established earlier. This will
form the basis for determining whether the pro-
gram should be continued in its current form,
expanded, or otherwise modified.

Implementation Costs and Administrative Burden
Unlike many other commuter benefit programs,
telecommuting involves a major commitment of
both financial and staff resources. The heaviest
burdens tend to fall on two groups. Supervisors
must revise their methods of managing employ-
ees out of their direct contact and  deal with the
tensions that can arise between employees at the
workplace and those working remotely. However,
this can yield benefits, according to one telecom-
muting expert:

   In fact, we consistently hear that managers
   who manage remotely report that doing so
   makes them better managers not only of the
   remote workers but also of their in-office
   staff. (Gordon, 2001)

Information technology departments will be
responsible for carrying out an IT gap analysis to
determine telecommuting infrastructure start-up
needs and costs and providing ongoing support to
telecommuters, who rely more heavily on com-
puter networks and remote access.
                                         *  **

These questions might commonly be asked by an
employer (e.g., a human resources administrator
or business manager) considering a telecommut-
ing program. Several are variations of each other.

Question: How productive are employees when
they are not in the office?

Usually as productive as they are in the office, if
not more so. Many telecommuting employees
report that they experience fewer distractions.
Some employers have been pleasantly surprised to
find that employees are more accessible when they
are working from home, because managers know
exactly where they are, and they have fewer meet-
ings and/or  spend less time with co-workers.

Question: How difficult - and costly - is it to
establish and administer the program?

It depends on several factors: the scale of the pro-
gram (size of company and number of employees
who  will telecommute), the type of information
technology selected, and the goals of the program
(will telecommuting mean a few employees per-
forming their regular duties out of their homes, or
a more fundamental re-engineering of the work-
place?) Large-scale programs require substantial
commitment for planning and implementing the
program, and the involvement  of the information
technology departments will be much more  sig-
nificant and critical. In addition, telecommuting
programs require continuing investments of both
money and staff time.

Question: How does working at home affect
dependent care issues?

Telecommuting employees should not expect to
simultaneously work and care for their depend-
ents (children or elders). Although many employ-
ees who telecommute do so because they prefer
to  be near home in case of an emergency, or to
have additional time to spend with their families,

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
employees must make arrangements for depend-
ent care. This understanding should be part of a
formal telecommuting agreement, so that employ-
ees are aware of the need to separate dependent
care from work.

Question: Who pays for charges such as
increased electricity and telephone costs?

This is generally covered under the telecommut-
ing agreement. In the federal government, the
OPM  guidelines allow reimbursement for official
telephone calls, but not for increased electricity
costs resulting from use of computing equipment.

Question: Is there an ideal percentage of
employees who should telecommute?

No. Some firms have only  a small percentage of
employees telecommuting; others have  near-vir-
tual offices, where everybody works independent-
ly. It depends on the nature of the business, the
type of work performed by the employees,
employees' suitability to working independently,
the company culture, and the technological capa-
bilities available.

Question: How does  telecommuting affect
morale and productivity among workers who
continue to work on-site?

It depends on a number of factors,  including the
number or percentage of telecommuters and their
roles within the office, how their work affects
other  co-workers (i.e., is work collaborative or
independent? Do co-workers require face-to-face
interaction?), and how well supervisors manage
the transition to telecommuting.  Some employers
have found feelings of jealousy and resentment
from on-site co-workers who may believe the
telecommuter is not really working. Others find
that on-site workers have no interest in telecom-
muting themselves  and do not mind their col-
leagues' absence. Supervisors must take care to
ensure that all employees, regardless of location,
are selected and treated equitably and with simi-
lar expectations. Also, most telecommuting
guides recommend that even full-time telecom-
muters come to the office periodically to establish
and maintain personal relationships with col-
leagues and supervisors.

Question: Do employees and supervisors need
training before starting a telecommuting

Training is generally a good idea, because of the
major change in the working relationship and risk
management issues related to telecommuting.
Some guidelines even recommend setting up a
simulation for employees who want to telecom-
mute, so that they can experience remote work
for several weeks  and judge whether they would
suitable candidates for the arrangement.
Supervisors might also be trained in management
techniques for distance employees, such as how
to manage by results and assess productivity.

Question: Can I require employees to telecom-

Although private employers may require telecom-
muting as a condition of employment for certain
positions,  most  guides do not recommend it.
Telecommuting has become an employment perk,
and forcing employees to telecommute may
remove that status. Further, while an employee's
position may be suitable  for telecommuting, his
or her personality may not be. Some telecom-
muters complain of isolation, and being "left out
of the loop." Some begin telecommuting with
high hopes and  find that they have a hard time
managing their time, that there are too many dis-
tractions at home, or that that casual contact with
colleagues was  more important to their work than
they realized.

OPM regulations prohibit federal agencies from
requiring an employee to telecommute.

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Question: Do any state or local governments
offer incentives for doing this?

Some regional organizations offer technical assis-
tance for implementing telecommuting programs;
see below under Associations and Contacts for
more information. In addition, the state of Oregon
offers a tax credit for implementing telecommut-
ing programs; see above under the Tax
Considerations section for more information. In
spring 2001 Virginia introduced a TeleworklVA
pilot program through which employers in north-
ern Virginia could receive state reimbursement
for certain telework start-up or expansion costs,
up to $35,000 over two years.
New York City, New York - Merrill Lynch

Merrill Lynch, an investment services firm, has
over 400 employees in a telecommuting program.
Employees wishing to participate must first com-
plete a formal training program, which includes a
detailed employee proposal outlining their work
schedule and home office needs. They also partic-
ipate in a series of meetings with both supervisors
and the firm's alternative work arrangements
group. Finally, employees must go through a two-
week simulation at a company lab, working on
similar projects with similar equipment to get a
first-hand feel for what telecommuting will be

A Fast Company article explaining the program
points out four lessons learned for implementing
a telecommuting program:

  The importance of keeping up ties with col-
  Organizational skills;
  Creation of new routines to replace office
   routines; and
  A well-equipped and ergonomic home office.
The article notes that for telecommuters, produc-
tivity has increased and turnover decreased,
although no numbers are provided. (Chadderdon,

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Sopheon Resource
Network Corporation

Sopheon, an information services company, began
a telecommuting program in 1994 after the loss of
two valued employees due to a move and a long
commute. The program currently encompasses 27
percent of a workforce of over 100 employees.
There are various categories of telecommuters,
including mobile workers, virtual home office,
hotelling, and flexible scheduling (part-time). The
national sales force was effectively telecommuting
prior to the current program; the pilot program was
extended to research staff.

Benefits to the company include improved
employee morale and competitive advantage.
There is no difference in productivity between
telecommuters and on-site employees.

The company provides different computers and con-
nectivity to employees depending on their job. In
order to minimize dependence on information tech-
nology staff, who experienced a significant increase
in workload after program inception, all telecom-
muters must complete a hardware/software certifica-
tion program before beginning to telecommute.
Telecommuting employees receive a furniture
allowance; purchases must meet company ergonomic
guidelines. If an employee leaves the company
within one year of beginning to telecommute, s/he
must repay 100 percent of the computing start-up
costs and 50 percent of the furniture costs.

The program has become more formalized since
its inception. For example, a Telecommuting Task
Force reviews employee requests to telecommute.
Employees wishing to begin telecommuting must
complete a formal agreement and have a home
site evaluation. Managers have also had to  learn
to include telecommuters in office decisions and

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
team meetings. Because some telecommuters had
complained of isolation, there are monthly
telecommuter conference calls, and the company
brings all full-time telecommuting employees,
many of whom live outside the area, into the
office once or twice yearly. (MITE, 1999)

New Jersey - Pharmaceutical Marketing Firm

A company that provides marketing and distribu-
tion for the pharmaceutical industry implemented
a telecommuting program for its 20-member sales
force. The impetus to institute the program came
from the firm's executive board, which thought
that a move to telecommuting would increase
productivity and sales. The program required a
major upgrading of the firm's information tech-
nology infrastructure to allow remote access and
automation of sales tracking data that had previ-
ously been entered manually. The information
technology department had to hire two new
employees to plan and implement the project; the
implementation period  lasted six months.

Not all members of the sales force were able to
make the mandatory adjustment to telecommut-
ing; two were terminated, partly due to poor
records and partly due to  their failure on qualify-
ing tests to measure their ability to use the new
technology. Two others requested and received
early retirement. Those who remained were often
reluctant to ask the IT department for assistance,
because of embarrassment at their unfamiliarity
with the technology. However, the remaining
sales people became more productive, because a
higher proportion of their time was spent on
sales. The firm estimated that sales increased
approximately 18 percent per year for the first
three years of the project, and revenues increased
21 percent. The nature of sales work changed as
well; where previously the sales force had operat-
ed largely independently  from the main office,
their new technological capabilities gave them
continuous access to up-to-the-minute informa-
tion. As the case study explains:
   The program affected every level of the
   organization. At the strategic level, the pro-
   gram helped the company maintain existing
   accounts, develop a new image, enhance rela-
   tionships with clients, increase forecasting
   capabilities, and improve responsiveness. At
   the tactical level, the program helped increase
   management control, improve resource man-
   agement, and promote accountability. At the
   operational level, the program freed more
   time for sales, thus increasing productivity. It
   enabled high-quality presentations, created a
   new information flow with clients, and sim-
   plified business procedures. Any negative
   impact  on IT personnel and sales representa-
   tives, while costly, was only short term. Real-
   estate savings and other benefits of having
   individuals work remotely were simply "icing
   on the cake."

Average cost for a new telecommuter was approxi-
mately $5,600 to $5,800, with annual support costs
of $1,000. (Net cost per telecommuter was $25,500
during the first year,  because of the price of the
new technology infrastructure, but costs dropped as
telecommuting increased.) The firm saved
$183,000 in rent because it was able to close one
branch office and avoid an expensive move at the
main office. Finally, the firm saved approximately
$35,000 annually in clerical costs, because the new
technology  eliminated data entry functions.

The company also identified three  unexpected
consequences of the project:

  Twelve non-sales employees began telecom-
   muting part-time;
  The new cost accounting system, originally
   intended for exclusive sales use, became the
   company's main cost accounting system; and
  Managers were better able to track sales
   activity and make sales predictions.

After several years almost one-quarter of the
company's  150 employees were telecommuting

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
either part- or full-time. The start-up costs of the
new information technology infrastructure were
recouped in the same period. (Watad and
DiSanzo, 2000)

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Abbott Northwestern

Abbott Northwestern Hospital began a pilot pro-
gram in 1994 to allow some of its 51-person
medical transcription staff to telecommute. The
program began with three full-time telecom-
muters, and had over 30 telecommuters by 2001.
The hospital found that medical transcription was
a good fit for telecommuting because productivity
could be quantified: minutes of dictation per
hour. After the program had been in place for
four years, telecommuters were found to be more
productive than on-site employees: the 38 percent
of the staff who telecommuted produced 46 per-
cent of the output. The increased productivity
was attributed to fewer distractions and side proj-
ects within the office.

Abbott's telecommuters do so full-time. However,
most telecommuters come into the office on a
quarterly basis, either for formal meetings or to
re-establish contacts with colleagues. Both
telecommuters and supervisors have found that
full-time telecommuting forces them to be more
efficient in managing their time - instead of mak-
ing several phone calls during the course of a
day, a supervisor and telecommuter may instead
handle several  issues in one conversation.

The hospital committed to providing telecom-
muters with the same standards of equipment that
on-site employees enjoy, but early in the program
it was assumed that outfitting telecommuters with
appropriate equipment would be a one-time cost.
However, it was found that upgrading and main-
tenance were ongoing costs.

Telecommuters at Abbott have high job satisfac-
tion and loyalty. Although supervisors feared that
the program might cause resentment among
employees who did not telecommute, many
employees chose not to telecommute. (MITE,

Vienna, Virginia - Southern Management

Southern Management Corporation, a residential
property management firm, initiated a pilot
telecommuting project at its suburban
Washington, DC headquarters, which houses 75
of its 1000 employees. Ten employees participat-
ed in the pilot program; their duties involved
mostly phone-related work, writing and editing,
data management, and general administration.
Internal telecommuting guidelines address eligi-
bility, work schedules and planning, performance
measurement, customer and colleague support,
home office set up, equipment and supplies, pro-
prietary information, and taxes and insurance.

The company spent $16,500 to set up its telecom-
muters, and another  $5,300 in  indirect staffing
costs over a six-month period. A survey complet-
ed after the program was implemented revealed
that telecommuters reported higher productivity,
better morale, less stress, and good support from
managers and co-workers. The main complaint
from supervisors was that meetings became more
difficult to schedule (most telecommuters worked
from home or a satellite office two to three days
per week). (Washington Metropolitan Council of
Governments, 2001)

Multiple Locations - Davis Wright Tremaine

The law firm Davis Wright Tremaine became a
telecommuting firm  in 1990, investing between
$4 and $5 million in technology and equipment.
Many of the firm's 350 lawyers take advantage of
the ability to telecommute, as do paralegals and
office managers. With offices in both East and
West Coast locations, as well as China, lawyers
in one office often work on cases in another geo-
graphic area - or example, a group of health

                                    CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
care lawyers in North Carolina have clients
throughout the country.

The firm has found that employees generally
become more productive when they begin
telecommuting. One lawyer estimated that he has
added 200 billable hours per year simply through
the ease of working out of his home. A financial
analyst who works  at home with two  computers
can use one for budget numbers while the other is
printing a monthly report; she covers a workload
that would typically require 1.5 employees.
Although law firms have traditionally been averse
to telecommuting because of the paper and legal
references involved, the firm has found that need-
ed opinions and cases are increasingly available
online through either commercial providers or the
courts. Most lawyers find that they need access to
a law library only occasionally.

Perhaps surprisingly for a law firm, Davis Wright
Tremaine does not have a detailed or formal tele-
work policy. Telecommuting requests are handled
on a case-by-case basis. The firm's own employ-
ment lawyers say that telecommuting requires
more common sense than complex rules.
Many regional and local governments provide
services to help employers implement telecom-
muting programs. Metropolitan planning organi-
zations (MPOs), city and county transportation
agencies, transportation management associations
(TMAs), and transportation management organi-
zations (TMOs) throughout the U.S. provide
assistance to employers in starting and maintain-
ing transportation demand management programs
such as telecommuting. They often provide infor-
mation to employers about options to reduce driv-
ing to work, implementation issues, and local
programs that support employer initiatives. Some
of these resources are listed in the next section,
Associations and Contacts.
Depending on the nature of the work, the ability
to telecommute effectively may be linked to the
availability of high speed internet connections.
Access to these services varies throughout the
This section includes information on regional and
national groups that EPA and regional, state, and
local governments might wish to utilize for
expertise in understanding, promoting, or provid-
ing technical information on telecommuting.
Individual employers are directed to contact EPA,
their local MPOs, telecommuting consulting
firms, or other groups that provide services to
support telecommuting implementation.

Organizations That Promote Telecommuting

International Telework Association and Council
204 E. Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20002
Tel: 202-547-6157
Fax: 202-546-3289


The International Telework Association and
Council (ITAC) is a membership organization  for
businesses that sponsors research and surveys  on
telecommuting. ITAC maintains an extensive list
of member consultants, available at

The American Telecommuting Association
1220 L Street, NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 800-ATA-4-YOU


                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
The American Telecommuting Association (ATA)
is a membership organization whose members are
employees who telecommute.

National TDM and Telework Clearinghouse
University of South Florida
4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33620-5375
Tel: 813-974-3120


The National TDM (Transportation Demand
Management) and Telework Clearinghouse is a
compendium of research and information on
TDM and telecommuting. TDM refers to a set of
programs and policies that are designed to make
the best use of existing transportation resources
without additional infrastructure investment.
Much of the Clearinghouse information is avail-
able electronically at their website. The site con-
tains information for employers interested in
establishing various kinds of trip reduction pro-
grams, including telecommuting.

Clean Air Council
135 South 19th Street Suite 300
Philadelphia PA 19103
Tel: 215-567-4004
Fax: 215-567-5791


The Clean Air Council supplies information on
telecommuting as a means to reduce air pollution.

National Environmental Policy Institute
Shelley Rappaport, Project Manager
1401 K Street, NW
Suite M-103
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-857-4784
Fax: 202-833-5977

The National Environmental Policy Institute
(NEPI) administers the eCommute pilot project in
five cities (Washington, Denver, Philadelphia,
Houston, and Los Angeles) to encourage busi-
nesses to participate in telecommuting.
Businesses can gain tradable emissions credits
through implementing telecommuting programs
and calculating their emissions reduction. The
project began its second phase in January 2001
and runs through December 2002.

Online Resources

Several other private firms and organizations
have online information regarding telecommut-
ing; the list below is a sample.


Gil Gordon Associates maintains a web site with
a wide variety of information, including links to
research articles  and "how-to" tips.

JALA International is a consulting firm founded
by Jack Nilles, who originally coined the terms
"telecommuting" and "telework."


This site is aimed more at employees wishing to
being telecommuting, but it also offers advice to
employers thinking of implementing telecommuting

Regional Resources

Some regions have programs offering technical
assistance to local businesses that are interested in
setting up telecommuting programs. The type of
assistance offered depends on the program; it may
include technical  assistance tailored to a company's
individual needs,  presentations  for business audi-
ences on telecommuting issues, and/or compila-
tions of case studies of other area employers.
Several of these programs are listed following:

                                    CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Atlanta, GA

Metro Atlanta Telecommuting Advisory Council
704 Beacon Cove
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Tel:  770-831-6630


Valley Metro
302 N First Avenue
Suite 700
Phoenix, AZ 85003
Tel: 602-262-7433


Telework Colorado
Tel: 303-458-8353


Telework Connecticut
C/o Rideworks
389 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Tel:  203-777-RIDE
Fax: 203-773-5014

Houston, TX

Commute Solutions
Houston-Galveston Area Council
P.O. Box 22777
3555 Timmons Lane
Houston, TX 77227
Tel:  713-627-3200
Fax: 713-993-4508
Los Angeles area

Southern California Economic Partnership
21865 E. Copley Drive
Diamond Bar, CA 91765
Tel: 909-396-5757 Fax:  909-396-5754

Minneapolis, MN

Midwest Institute for Telecommuting Education
1900 Chicago Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Tel: 612-752-8010
Fax: 612-752-8001


Oregon Office of Energy
625 Marion Street, NE
Suite 1
Salem, OR 97301
Tel: 503-373-7560


Seattle, WA

Commuter Challenge
1301 Fifth Avenue
Suite 2400
Seattle, WA 98101-2611
Tel: 206-389-8656

Washington State

WSU Cooperative Extension Energy Program
925 Plum Street SE, Bldg. #4
P.O. Box 43165
Olympia, WA 98504-3165
Tel: 360-956-2178
Fax: 360-956-2217

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
Washington, DC/Northern Virginia

Commuter Connections
777 North Capitol Street, NE
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20002
Tel:  202-962-3286
Fax: 202-962-3202

Commuter Connections also administers the
TeleworklVA financial assistance program for
employers located in Northern Virginia, and
administers the eCommute pilot program with the
National Environmental Policy Institute (see
Organizations that Promote Telecommuting).

Commuter Choice Leadership Initiative
For more information on the Commuter Choice
Leadership Initiative, contact the Commuter
Choice Hotline at 888-856-3131, or see
Telecommuting has great potential to reduce
vehicle travel and emissions of air pollutants and
greenhouse gases, because it eliminates many
commuting trips. Most studies of the air quality
and emissions benefits of telecommuting agree
that telecommuters drive significantly less when
telecommuting. That is, the vehicle miles traveled
(VMT) reduced are not usually replaced with
more local non-work driving.

A review of the telecommuting research by the
National Environmental Policy Institute found
that the average round-trip commute distance for
telecommuters is 36.1  miles, and that on the days
they telecommute they saved an average of 26.3
miles. However, only 74 percent of telecom-
muters drive alone, so that even on the days they
telecommute, total vehicle miles traveled may
remain unchanged (for example, if the telecom-
muter rides with a carpool).  (NEPI, 2000)
The two studies that looked at total travel by
telecommuters (including non-work trips on days
they telecommute) found that the average number
of miles traveled per day was 52.9 before
telecommuting, and  13.1 miles per day on
telecommuting days. (NEPI, 2000)

A study using travel diaries found similarly posi-
tive results. An evaluation of the Puget Sound
(Washington State) Telecommuting
Demonstration project compared a control group
of non-telecommuters to a group of telecom-
muters, and telecommuting days to non-telecom-
muting days. Telecommuting had demonstrable
effects in reducing VMT and emissions. On
telecommuting days, the number of daily trips
decreased by 30 percent, VMT decreased  by 63
percent, and the number of cold starts decreased
by 44 percent. A "cold start" is particularly prob-
lematic for emissions, because the engine and
emissions control systems work well only after
warming up. A substantial portion of a cars' total
trip emissions occur at start-up, so avoiding a trip
altogether is far more "valuable," from a pollu-
tion perspective, than shortening the trip. The
study calculated, using an emissions model, that
for  each telecommuting day, the telecommuter's
vehicle released 50 to 60 percent less pollutants
than if the telecommuter had worked in the
office. This includes additional non-work trips
made while at home - telecommuters drove less
on the days that they telecommuted  than they did
on regular commute workdays.

While this study concluded that telecommuting
has a  demonstrable effect on emissions, it also
noted several reasons why more widespread
telecommuting might not produce proportionally
larger results. First, telecommuters had average
commutes 2.5 times longer than the control
group. Indeed, this is probably one of the reasons
this group chooses to telecommute, because they
save more time by not commuting.

                                     CCLI: Telecommuting/Telework
This implies that as telecommuting increases, and
telecommuters' commute length falls, the relative
benefits produced by new telecommuters will fall
somewhat-although they should still be positive.

Second, the benefits are confined to the days
telecommuted; if people telecommute only one
day per week, those benefits amount to only 20
percent of the potential benefit of telecommuting
five days per week. Finally, the study notes that
emissions benefits will differ with the time of
year, because atmospheric conditions affect both
the amount of pollutants released by vehicles and
the formation of ozone. (Henderson, et al, 1996)

Telecommuting is one of the most effective trans-
portation demand management (TDM) emissions
reductions measures. A study done by the
Metropolitan Washington Council of
Governments of four transportation emission
reduction measures found that its Telework
Resource Center (a program that assisted busi-
nesses in implementing telecommuting) was the
most effective of the four, reducing the number of
vehicle trips by almost 35,000 per day. The pro-
gram was also estimated to reduce NOx emis-
sions by .9 tons per day, and VOC by .5 tons per
day. However, the evaluation also noted that the
effectiveness of telecommuting as a measure to
reduce emissions is limited by two factors. First,
although it was predicted  that telecommuters
would work remotely 2.65 days per week, the
average was only 1.59 days. Second, only 71 per-
cent of telecommuters drive alone on the days
that they go into the office. (Metropolitan
Washington Council of Governments, 2001)

The National Telecommuting and Air Quality Act
established a pilot program through which compa-
nies can receive emissions credits for creation of a
telecommuting program; credits will be traded on a
market basis. The pilot program is limited to five
cities - Washington, Philadelphia, Denver, Los
Angeles, and Houston - and will run for a year (the
initial study was done in mid-2000). If the concept
proves successful, it may be expanded to other areas.
                AND .PUBLICATIONS
American Health Information Management
Association.  1999. Practice Brief :
Telecommuting. Available at

Behr, Peter. 1999. "Tech Wish List." Washington
Post, p E 7, February 1 1 .

Cascio, Wayne. 2000.  "Managing a Virtual
Workplace." Academy of Management Executive,
v!4 n3 pp 81-90. August.

Chadderdon, Lisa. 1998. "Merrill Lynch Works -
At Home." Fast Company, issue 14, p. 70. April.

Duxbury, Linda and Derrick Neufeld. 1999. "An
empirical evaluation of the impacts of telecom-
muting on intra-organizational communication."
Journal of Engineering and Technology
Management, v!6, pp  1-28.

Fitzer, Mary Molina. 1997. "Managing from afar:
performance and rewards  in a telecommuting
environment." Compensation and Benefits
Review, v29 pp 65-73  January/February.

Fletcher, Donna M. 1999. "Practice Brief:
Telecommuting."  Journal of American Health
Information Management Association. February.

Flynn, Michael. 1999. "Taxing Situation: How
the IRS Views Your Home Office Deduction."
Telecommute Magazine.com. November.

Gordon, Gil.  Gil  Gordon Associates. Personal
communication with Liisa Ecola, ICF Consulting,

Handy, Susan and Patricia L. Mokhtarian.  1996.
"The Future of Telecommuting." Futures, v28,
n3, pp 227-240.



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