Articles Posted in Telecommuting

I’m working from home today but not by choice. Our office is quasi-closed today as a result a water main break just a few blocks away from our building in Wilmington, as shown in the video below by 6abc.

Of course, just because I can’t go to the office to work doesn’t mean I get to take the day off–the work still must be done. In the era of mobile computing and the paperless office, this does not present much of a technological challenge. I have ready access to everything I would have access to if I were sitting at my desk. Well, everything but my multiple-monitor computer set-up, I suppose.

But I digress. Which brings me back to my original point.

Thanks to everyone who attended the audio conference on Caregiver Discrimination, presented by Adria B. Martinelli and Margaret M. DiBianca.  As promised during the conference, we’re posting some of the many resources that are available online where employers can locate specific information and research to use in pitching the idea of Flexible Workplace Arrangements.


Two of the Leading Work-Life Centers

Workplace Flexibility 2010, at the Georgetown University Law Center, has a virtual tremendous amount of helpful resources,including A Fact Sheet on Flexible Work Arrangements and Flexible Work Arrangements: The Overview Memo.

In Delaware, courts take a holiday on December 26.  Accordingly, most law firms are closed for the day, including ours.  And, not surprisingly, many Delaware lawyers will work anyway.  Duty calls. 

Is there a way to accomplish those important work tasks without having to sacrifice family time?  Enter telecommuting. image

Technically speaking, telecommuting is one of many flexible work initiatives.  A telecommuter works from home full-time or several days out of the work week.  Telework or telecommuting involves work that normally would have been performed from a central office setting but can now be performed at home or remote location.  Telework requires the use a computer, an internet connection, telephone, scanner, and, perhaps, a fax machine. 

Alternative schedules, such as “4/10s” (a/k/a four-day workweeks), have been hot topics for the past several months.  I know I’ve put more than my two cents worth of commentary out there recently.  So why is it that only a tiny percentage of the country’s employees report having access to such flex-time initiatives?  j0400948

In a recent Gallup Poll, only 12% of workers say that their employers encouraged its employees to work from home one or more workdays per week.  And only 16% say that the idea of the 4-day workweek has been supported by management.  Yes, these are increases from alternative schedules reported in the past but they can hardly be considered to be representative of the general population. 

What hasn’t increased, though, is telecommuting.  There has been 0% increase in the number of respondents who say they telecommute at all.  Well, no, that’s inaccurate–that number has actually fallen 2%, down to 30% today as compared to 32% in 2006. 

The popularity of a compressed workweek has skyrocketed. Workplace flexibility has long been heralded as a way to bolster employee retention. Alternative work schedules have even been lauded as a key to keeping women in the workplace and off the off-ramp.

And now, with towns and cities across the country adopting a four-day work week, the trend towards workplace flexibility isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But the four-day work week isn’t the only option. Here are some other options provided by When Work Works, a project of the Families & Work Institute:


With all the buzz about alternative work schedules, four-day work weeks, flextime, and the like, the following Q & A on telecommuting as a reasonable accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) might be relevant as these types of requests increase.

Is telecommuting a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?

Q: One of our employees has asked that we allow him to work from home as an accommodation for a medical condition. He does suffer from a medical condition covered by the ADA but are we required to allow him to work from home as a possible accommodation?kirk-telephone-lg

The four-day workweek is gaining momentum. The rising price of fuel has caused many workers to pursue alternative working schedules.  A shortened week has seen a rapid increase in popularity. Even schools have considered the idea of reducing operation costs by closing their doors on Fridays.  Another employee alternative is telecommuting.  A new bill, passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, proposes to mandate this “alternative.”telecommuter


If passed, the bill would authorize all federal employees to work from home (i.e., telecommute), for at least 20% of their work hours every two weeks.  Federal agencies would be charged with creating programs that include this requirement. 


The bill doesn’t seem to take into account that telecommuting doesn’t always work.  Just ask the employees of the State of Ohio.  As reported by the New York Times back in April (see Ohio State Workers Are Coping: It’s Now 8 to 5), Ohio officials had tried unsuccessfully to implement a 4-day work week.  After several months on the 4 10-hour workdays, state officials planned to eliminate the alternative schedule in order to provide the basic level of customer service.  On the four-day-week program, departments were closed, phones unanswered, and the needs of citizens not met on Fridays.  Ohio officials did not prohibit telecommuting or flexible work hours–but compressed schedules (4-days workweeks) were off-limits.

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