Local News

Teleworking Seen As Viable Option For Those Who Cannot Travel

Posted October 1, 2001 5:23 a.m. EDT

— The September 11 attacks have slowed travel and business, but technology and the Internet offer people the option of doing work away from their offices.

The terrorist attack on New York took a disastrous toll.In addition to thousands of lives lost, many businesses were wiped out. Those in lower Manhattan that could operate had problems because people could not travel by plane or get into the city by car.

"I was stuck in Chicago. The planes were grounded. I couldn't get a rental car and I had to get work done," said jewelry store owner Jeff Feero.

Businesses and government are now seeing how important telework plans can be.

"The key thing they can really think about is finding ways to keep their employees in touch with their business systems and their customers," says Brian Donahoo of GotomyPC.com.

Remote access companies allow hookups from laptops to office PCs across the Internet. North Carolina state employees use the telework option with approval from managers.

The Department of Transportation has used it successfully for about a year. The International Telework Association predicts 15 percent growth to nearly 30 million teleworkers by the end of the year.

"The whole idea of a distributive and decentralized workforce is something that, because of again the events that recently occurred, is becoming much more prominent in people's minds," said Chuck Wilsker of the International Telework Association.

Cell phones and e-mail allowed thousands of New Yorkers to continue business following the disaster in the city. Many are returning to work in temporary offices, but the telework option is still being used and some companies are expanding its use to cut down on commuting.