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Decentralize the Workforce... Telecommuting can provide a safe work environment

In the wake of the terrible tragedy in New York and at the ... ... need to ... the way we handle and position our ... TheWorld Trade Center was a huge target ... a con

In the wake of the terrible tragedy in New York and at the Pentagon, perhaps
we need to reevaluate the way we handle and position our workforce. The
World Trade Center was a huge target containing a congregation of thousands
of individuals and hundreds of companies. In such a situation, in many
cities, the idea of implementing a telecommuting strategy to decentralize
the workforce would not only save lives, but also reduce the hit taken by
many companies.

--- Never again! ---

I recently spoke about this current national situation with the heads of
several companies with which I've worked. All of them replied in a way that
made me realize that they were more concerned about the safety of their
employees and the future of their companies than their current income
potential or stock dividends.

One of the big concerns raised by these company chiefs was that they were
not sure how their sales force would operate under these conditions.
Face-to-face meetings with current and potential clients were cancelled and,
for the most part, not rescheduled. Many of the clients, however, were
comfortable at setting up video-conferencing systems to support a minimal
face-to-face meeting and most of the "sales calls" went on without a hitch.
Basically, a way was found to resolve the issue and American business

According to one company in New York, there was no way that they would work
in such a tower again, nor would they recruit anyone to do so. They feel
that the era of American glory through skyscrapers is over, but they must
continue their business, only in safer corridors.

--- Decentralize the Work Force ---

I've visited the World Trade Center on numerous occasions and periodically
visit my office in mid-town. Each block has more people than the entire
county in which I lived in Colorado. This massive congregation of people is
a wonderful site, however, in the wake of this maniacal attack, it is also a
devastation waiting to happen.

Within the World Trade Center, there were in excess of 50,000 people. Not
only does such an attack destroy the lives of thousands more, but it also
affects the economy in one, sharp blow. By decentralizing the workforce, we
are not only making an attempt to save lives, but we are also making an
attempt to save the economy from future blows of this magnitude.

Additionally, a decentralized workforce would support a means of allowing
face-to-face client calls within the locale of the individuals. This will
reduce flight costs and the time spent travelling as well as enhance the
safety of the individual employees.

Of course, this will place added responsibilities on individual employees.
In some cases, for example, software developers would have to make customer
support calls and essentially become sales people. Perhaps the idea of a
jack-of-all-trades might make a comeback and support American business in
different ways.

--- Implementing a Telecommuting Policy ---

Currently, many companies have cast telecommuting aside. They claim loss of
production, lack of discipline, and other such reasons. It is, however, the
responsibility of the organizations themselves to implement checks and
balances to ensure that the workers are producing as expected, just as
occurs within a physical office environment.

Of course, many positions require some face-time. In such situations,
perhaps companies can implement an alternating schedule where individuals in
such positions would be in the office a certain number of days per week.
Many positions can, however, be performed 100% of the time from home or from
a remote office environment.

At this point, companies should evaluate the options available for providing
a telecommuting work environment for their employees. This approach can
benefit companies by minimizing their required office space as well as
keeping hoards of people out of a central location for extended periods of

--- Freestanding Telework Centers ---

Through a consortium of government and business, freestanding telework
centers can be created around the nation to provide a place for workers to
go for virtual meetings, to use equipment, and to perform tasks that would
otherwise require some type of face-time.

A freestanding telework center is an office suite or building dedicated to
supporting workers whom "telecommute" to their jobs. The idea behind a
freestanding telework center is that it is intended to be private for those
companies that subscribe to the service. Additionally, by-the-hour telework
centers can provide access to restricted public use for those who perform
freelance or other such contract-based work.

The government is currently leading in this direction because government
regulations are pushing to cut down on employment-related commuter trips and
vehicle miles. To assist us in moving in this direction, think about the
following three types of telework centers:

- Satellite Centers
These are generally freestanding telework centers built and operated by a
single company for the exclusive use of its own employees.

- Executive Centers
These are generally freestanding telework centers built and operated for
profit. The operator opens the telework center and offers its facilities to
anyone needing a workspace. Included in this category would be small,
neighborhood telework centers, as well as large, centrally located centers.

- Shared Office Sites
These are conventional central offices that employers make available on an
exchange basis for the part-time use of workers who live nearby. Shared
office programs hold great potential for eliminating commuter trips and
vehicle miles. Once in place, these programs can allow employees to work at
the closest participating site rather than the one to which they would
otherwise have to commute.

--- What's next? ---

With this devastation, the world is in flux. Public and governmental
organizations are rethinking their strategy worldwide to ensure a safer
future for everyone. Perhaps, it is now our turn to rethink our strategy
with the workforce.

People are the most valuable asset in any business and businesses are assets
to the economy. In both cases, a decentralized workforce, using a solid
telecommuting policy, would provide a safer future for individuals,
businessesBusiness Management Articles, and the American economy.

May God bless the souls of those who perished and bring peace to the
families whose loved ones are missing.

Article Tags: Freestanding Telework Centers, Work Environment, Trade Center, Freestanding Telework, Telework Centers, Telework Center

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Edward B. Toupin is a freelance consultant, writer, and published author
living in Las Vegas. Edward provides quality Web site
design, development, and marketing as well as writing, document design and
planning, and e-book publishing services. You can visit his Web site at or contact him at

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