Telecommuting A Substitute For High Gas Prices

from the lemon-into-lemonade dept

Experts have been confounded by the fact that high fuel prices have yet to seriously damage the economy. There are probably many reasons, but one factor helping out is the rise of telecommuting. As commuting has become more expensive, the number of employers willing to let employees work from home has increased. Not only does this save gas, but companies that become adept at managing employees outside of the office get the added bonus of being able to recruit new hires from around the country, without begging them to relocate. Companies are even discovering, much to their surprise, that employees can be more productive working at home. Last year, Wired ran an article claiming that expensive gas is good for America because it spurs innovation into alternative energy. The increased interest among VCs in green technology definitely backs this up. But that's just one side of the coin; superior methods for recruiting and managing employees, originally induced by high energy costs, will stay with us even when gas goes back to $1.50. Over time, we'll benefit from the energy constraints we face today.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Loraan, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 9:50am

    My guess: gas will never go back to $1.50. This is not a temporary rise in gas prices, but a symptom of the impending (not like next year, but like maybe in 20 or 50 or 100 years) demise of economies based on pulling petroleum out of the ground.

     

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  2.  
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    Anwar, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 9:58am

    Finally!

     

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  3.  
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    Anwar, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:03am

    Finally!

    Telecommuting is the most amazing concept ever and finally, as companies weigh the cost of Big Brother vs the Big Commute, we will finally have some companies letting go and allowing their people to work from home. Imagine the productivity increases and the benefits to the economy and the environment. With broadband, video conferencing and Skype we can do pretty much everything we did in an office (including flirt with the office eye-candy) with the biggest commute we do being the trip to the bathroom. Thank god for those high gas prices!

     

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  4.  
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    Rizzn, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:14am

    Yes!

    I really am fed up with these naysayers that are predicting the end of civilization as we know it because gas has gone up a buck or two. We live in a market driven economy. Something else will rise to meed the demand, either alternative means of transportation, ways around the transportation itself, or alternative energies.

    Those who believe otherwise have no sense of history.

    Actually, this year I have telecommuted for more companies (and hired more telecommuters) than ever before. We are truly growing into the monikor 'information age.'

     

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  5.  
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    Logan, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:15am

    $1.50? Possibly...

    But it won't be "gas", it will be another fuel source. And we won't be measuring in gallons, we'll be measuring kw or something else.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:38am

    $1.50 Ha Thats a good one

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:43am

    LOL :)

    ya 1.50? damn that would be nice but that is the clearest example of wishful thinking ive seen in a while

     

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  8.  
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    Dogbert, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 10:52am

    Dreaming of $1.50/gal

    "My dream is to eat candy and poop emeralds. The difference is that I'm halfway successful."

     

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  9.  
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    Wowzers, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 11:00am

    1.50?

    I gladly buy 1000 gallons at 1.00/Gallon pricing in Atlanta Ga today is nearly 3.10/Gal.

    Bring in the truck at 1.50 Ill buy my own tank too!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 11:30am

    Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran, and the OPEC. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is going to hold the OPEC summit later this year, in which he will propose to set the minumum price of a barrel to 50. If he manages to do that, US gas prices will never fall below 2.50. Keep pissing off Iran and Telecommuting and carpooling will become a reality for most americans. The truth is we have been spoiled beyond recognition. So expect higher prices!

     

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  11.  
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    Other Brian, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    Telecommuting Rocks

    I've been a full time telecommuter for about a year now and it is fantastic. I save 1-2 hours of drive time every day that am more than happy to spend at my desk. The benefits of working here go beyond just time saved to the more escoteric 'quality of life'.

    From my perspective there are several valid reasons why more companies aren't doing more of this.

    1) Lazy workers? You really need to trust someone will do their job even absent physical supervision (tech can help here, you just need methods & metrics to verify the job's getting done).

    2) Techno-phobia, until your average user is more self sufficient the costs of having internal IT support remote workers may be prohibitive.

    3) Implementation, organizing and providing the necessary resources to remote employees.

    Gas prices are going and and they should, simple supply & demand - we will (eventually) find another way to motor around town and high prices are nothing more than a catalyst to that end. Telecommuting is a vast untapped method to conserve all energy at many levels, which is beneficial irregardless.

     

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  12.  
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    BennyTB9, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:21pm

    We will never again see $1.50/Gal. I would be surprised if it ever again goes below $2.25.

    The American public is so spoiled and naive. Gasoline is over $6.00/Gal in most countries outside N America. Don't get me wrong I don't like paying it, and I do look for the best deal. However I do not expect it to go down much.

     

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  13.  
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    Dave, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Yes!

    Are you still hiring telecommuters???

     

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  14.  
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    Matt, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Dreaming of $1.50/gal

    Ha. I read that one yesterday on dilbert.com

     

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  15.  
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    Wolfger, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    telecommuting is a dream

    If you can telecommute, you are damn lucky. The vast majority of companies do not trust their employees out of eyesight. It's sad, really.

     

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  16.  
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    confusedwiseman, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    Re: to BennyTB9

    The American gas system / usage is much different. From a US centric view - Foreign governments tax their gas very heavily.

    Don't forget transit systems are incredibily different. Don't just think people, but product distribution models.

     

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  17.  
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    Dr. philzil, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 12:57pm

    high gas prices

    Do you know that I make my own gas. Yes it's really simple. First you eat a lot of beans then let her rip. When I say let her rip I mean fart really loud and long, but make sure you don't crap your self doing it!

     

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  18.  
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    tk., Apr 27th, 2006 @ 1:18pm

    Come on...

    The price of gas will drop, once W. is out of office, and the Democrats take control of Congress (which they will because W. screwed everything up for the Republicans).

    He has to make sure he'll be able to live comfortably once his dumbass is out of office.

    Those that can't see that, are blind.

    I hope Kerry doesn't run for president in '08 - else the price of ketchup will be on the rise as well... :'(

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Come on...

    Idiot.

     

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  20.  
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    A, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 2:47pm

    Someone let my employer know about this

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Come on...

    True that in part Dubya has a lot to do with it, but what the US has done can't be mended by just getting rid of the ignorant bastard. OPEC countries are pissed, and that will be reflected in the rise of oil. After all they control almost 90% of the oil that comes into this country. At the drop of a dime they can make it hard for every SUV loving redneck in this country to pull their hair out, and curse Big Oil.

     

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  22.  
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    Gasoline, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 4:48pm

    $1.50?

    What evidence is there that gasoline will go down to $1.50?

    It is quite clear that worldwide demand for fuel is outpacing production. I don't think that will stop any time soon.

     

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  23.  
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    Evol, Apr 27th, 2006 @ 8:39pm

    Re: Support for Finally!

    Here is one company whose inovative solution seems to be right on target. They have developed an innovative IP multi-media communications platform and applications to meet the growing communications needs of today’s small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). This solution allow SMEs to take advantage of today’s broadband, Web and VoIP technologies to improve business efficiencies, enhance employee productivity and reduce communications costs. The link http://www.cotrantelecom.com/Cotran_multi_media_applications.html explains this solution.

     

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  24.  
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    Warhol, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 2:43am

    Re: Telecommuting Rocks

    I too, telecommute. I love it. I start work at 7am (two hours earlier than when I work in the office) and sit there, typing and readsing, unshaven, in my dressing gown until about 10am when I spend about half an hour on the crapper.

    I work through until one, having already done 5.5 hours work, then take two hours for lunch to allow my thoughts about the morning's work to permeate and have some effect and to walk the dog (not a euphemism). At 3pm I start again and work through until 6. I get over 8 hours work done, no commute, and I'm working before my colleagues arrive in the office and until after most of them leave. And I get to see my pre-school daughter every day and spend some quality time with her.

    I'm totally connected to the office - VPN, mobile, IM, email - and employer, employee and clients are happy. My wife also works from home so I can check she doesn't bone the window cleaner.

    My employer (perhaps one of the biggest online media publishers in the world) is totally flexible with this policy - if you need/want to work from home, you can; just get the job done and over-perform if possible. The result is a motivated, happy workforce with a great work/life balance and very low employee churn.

    Telecommuting rawks.

     

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  25.  
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    yoadrienne, Apr 28th, 2006 @ 7:11am

    telecommuters

    what a brilliant idea!
    now we can outsource our jobs even further, thereby completely eliminating the problem of commuting!
    gotta love technology

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    tk., Apr 28th, 2006 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Come on...

    But it's true.

    You watch.

    We're all feeling it now because W. won't say shit to his buddies in the oil business, everyone knows that. And OPEC won't do anything because W. is being a douchebag about everything in the Middle East because they kicked his daddy's ass.

    You watch.

     

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  27.  
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    Dale Albiston, May 1st, 2006 @ 5:14am

    You don't know your born...

    $1.50 a gal?

    just filled my car up at 94.9 a litre (UKP)... passed a few places with 99.9 a litre as well.

    I'd be happy with US gas prices, I really would. Then my small, pretty economical 1.6 would be a less painful experience to refuel.

     

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  28.  
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    telecommuter, May 3rd, 2006 @ 5:06pm

    gas back to $1.50

    There is actually a way gas can realistically go back to $1.50 a gal. The more telecommuterss that eventually become the norm, demand on gas will actually drop back to the level of supply needed and then companies are forced to lower the rates. Telecommuting actually doesn do a LOT for our reduction in abuse of gas.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    telecommuter, May 3rd, 2006 @ 5:06pm

    gas back to $1.50

    There is actually a way gas can realistically go back to $1.50 a gal. The more telecommuterss that eventually become the norm, demand on gas will actually drop back to the level of supply needed and then companies are forced to lower the rates. Telecommuting actually doesn do a LOT for our reduction in abuse of gas.

     

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  30.  
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    Robyn, Nov 9th, 2007 @ 8:44am

    Research

    I'm supposed to research two companies that allow telecommuting and the virtual office. I've found plenty of articles about telecommuting, but nothing specific to a company. Another article mentioned that the staff of Techdirt telecommutes, so I went here to find out more. But there's nothing about them telecommuting in the "About Techdirt" category. Where can I find info about specific companies using telecommuting and the virtual office?

     

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  31.  
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    The Professor, Mar 27th, 2008 @ 10:55am

    Gas is not best

    I'm getting so fed up with all that childlike whining out there. You fool's are adults, although you don't act like mature people, you are! It's quite difficult to understand the human psyche that promotes helplessness and those most damaging fattalistic attributes too. I am a scientist not a philosopher, my life is centered on scientific discoveries. As far as my political views go, not much to add to them. Naturally, because we all live in a capitalist society, were corporate America with the help of those rich and famous parasites rule our very lives. As a scientist, I can only examine an element for its atomic weight. I can by no means create this same element under controlled conditions in a lab. Therefore, as logic dictates we will continue to sacrifice our food resources for the sole purpose of providing those alcohol based fuels, for that invention of inventions “the automobile." In retrospect, everything related to fuel in one way or another, is going to skyrocket beyond the reach of many of those hard-working poor American individuals, many facing financial ruin as I speak.

    In conclusion, I see a turbulent future where those precious fuel prices are closer to six dollars per gallon. In addition, I won't even mention how much the truckers will be paying to fuel-up those highly inefficient diesel rigs. Perhaps you think of me as unkind, or just another rocket scientist with no moral values. Nothing could be further from the truth, for I do care deeply for my brother’s pain. Therefore, the only thing they can save us all now from going bankrupt in relation to all those high fuel prices. Is that by some divine miracle, we were to run out of oil right now today. When that dinosaur blood is history, we will see an unprecedented flood of new technologies, the kind of technologies that could've ended our dependence on oil many decades earlier. Force the governments hand by threatening to cut off its main source of income, and you won't believe how fast the Senate passes a new energy agenda, to usher in the age of perpetual power for all the people.

    Sincerely my dear friends, the Professor

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Paul West, May 8th, 2008 @ 7:19am

    The next generation in the internal combustion

    All right, enough is enough, you're all whining like a bunch of small children over these criminally orchestrated gas prices. I said it a few months ago that gas prices would rise to four dollars a gallon before my 53rd birthday. In addition, according to my calculations it's just .20 cents away from being four dollars a gallon. Diesel fuel is already way over four dollars a gallon, and the angry truckers are bitching a blue streak too. As a self claiming poor scientist, I too feel the pain at the pump. However perhaps these high fuel prices are a godsend telling us all that it's now the right time to change to something better. There is no need to dramatically change anything on that nice big luxury car or that wonderful gas guzzling SUV either The internal combustion according to my own calculations is not going anywhere anytime soon. That's right it's here to stay for many more years to come. We simply need to do a little reverse engineering, while gas prices remain so astronomically high. The overall key for solving that high price fuel dilemma requires no rocket science at all; we simply apply a little logic to the equation.

    (ELE=T*(RPS+TR

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 28th, 2008 @ 4:40pm

    Everyone is saying oh gas is so low here compared to other countries
    thats true in some cases but completely wrong in others

    venezulia gas prices are 12 cents to the gallon
    saudia arabia 47 cents to the gallon
    mexico DIESEL is 2 dollars to the gallon

    tell me that we have low gas prices

     

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  34.  
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    Ruud Padt, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Telecomuting or TeleBeing

    In my opinion telecommuting is possible for professionals but it has to involve every employer AND Yes it can involve every Desk-worker !!!!
    .
    This means Team-Building, Training on the job, Trust and unofficial gossip to match ideas....all during Telecommuting
    .
    We can give this trough Full-time HQ Video and Audio for every team
    Check it out
    www.HR.TeleBeing.nl

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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