Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Saving Gas by Telecommuting

My Pacifica gets 17mpg, and my commute to the VAM office is 60 miles roundtrip. So it's not surprising that I have been feeling the gas pinch, and looking for ways to cut back. There is just so much you can save by consolidating trips, making one visit to the grocery store last a week, etc. We finally decided to test telecommuting for the VAM staff.

Jennifer, Bridget and I now work from home on Mondays and Fridays. Before you think "aha! long weekend" we chose those days because very, very few meetings happen on those days, particularly in summer, so it would be the least disruptive to our schedules to be at home those days.

It has been two weeks and it is working out pretty well! We have all been religious about being at our desks sending each other emails by 9am. As the summer progresses, I'll keep you all posted how its going, but here are some preliminary insights:

1) I find myself spending more concentrated time at work tasks - there aren't as many distractions - and 5pm slips past without my realizing it.

2) It never fails that some crucial item I need is in my office files (I need to learn to download any files I might want to work with on a flash drive). Unfortunately, our landlord's firewall prevents us from using GoToMyPC or LogMeIn or any of those other remote access programs.

3) I am having a hard time remembering to check my voice mail messages, but I'm on email all day. We are setting up call forwarding so that soon all calls will automatically go to our home phones.

With gas now over $4 gallon, I would love to hear what museums are doing to help their staff with the high cost of commuting. Anyone else trying telecommuting? How about compressing the workweek? What other options are being pursued?

-- Margo Carlock, Executive Director, VAM

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