Honk-honk, Choke-choke: Shouldn't More Workers Just Stay Home?

Honk-honk, Choke-choke: Shouldn't More Workers Just Stay Home?

Bell Atlantic Says Earth Day A Good Time To Consider Teleworking

April 20, 2000


Jim Smith,

John Johnson,

NEW YORK - It's not that most commuters like coping with Boston's "Big Dig," suburban Philadelphia's Route 202 construction or the backups on Pittsburgh's notorious bridges and tunnels. And they've never liked the Capital Beltway/66/I-270 hassles in metropolitan Washington, D.C., or the river crossings in New York. They - and their employers -- just haven't discovered the way to escape it all: Teleworking.

On the eve of Earth Day 2000, Bell Atlantic is reminding commuters and their employers that teleworking saves not only time and stress, but spares the environment. Every morning and evening, tons of pollutants are spewed into the atmosphere just so people can get to their workplace. So why not bring the work to the worker instead?

"For more than 300 years, workers have traveled to the workplace - and in the process, we've congested our roads and contributed to air pollution," said Gil Gordon, president of Gil Gordon Associates, consultants on telework and virtual offices. "Telework can help change that by bringing the work to some of the workers, getting them out of their cars and getting the cars off the roads."

Both employers and workers are becoming more aware of the impact of "working remotely," according to Dennis Elwell, director of integrated solutions for Bell Atlantic.

"Research shows that teleworkers are more productive, adding as much as two hours to their work day, and save their companies about $10,000 a year in costs, including absenteeism and employee retention," he said. "Each teleworker saves the equivalent of six days of windshield time each year - time they could be using much more effectively."

The teleworking concept is not new. When the telephone was invented in the 1870s, the London press predicted that telecommunications would replace travel. In 1899, H. G. Wells said video conferencing, which he called "kineto-tele-photography," would eliminate the need to meet face-to-face.

According to Elwell, telecommunications technology has progressed far beyond the early days of telecommuting, when a phone and a yellow pad provided the bare minimum for remote access to the workplace.

Now, employers can equip their teleworkers with a bundle of services that provide high-speed data networking along with voice lines loaded with the same call-handling features available at the office.

"Bell Atlantic is doing its part to help businesses realize the benefits of teleworking - cleaner air, fuel conservation, reduced road construction and greater productivity and worker satisfaction," Elwell said.

One of the company's newest services, Bell Atlantic's Virtual Office Solutions, provides comprehensive voice and data services, advanced security options, equipment and single number routing within the Bell Atlantic region for remote access to data services.

Businesses that buy Basic Virtual Office Solutions for their workers' homes, then tailor the product by selecting other options to meet their specific business needs. Basic Virtual Office Solutions includes:

  • Access via DSL (digital subscriber line), ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) or analog service, depending on customer needs and the availability of service in the area;
  • End-user authentication and authorization for secure access to the network and an x.500 directory that contains user profiles;
  • Local number dialing for computer connections throughout the Bell Atlantic region with one dial-up number, eliminating the need for toll calls;
  • A 24-hour help desk that provides additional advanced support for companies encountering problems beyond their basic troubleshooting capabilities;

For greater power and flexibility, more features can be added to Basic Virtual Office Solutions:

  • E-mail and Usenet options. Bell Atlantic can host email accounts and access to Usenet newsgroups at the customer's request;
  • Additional security. Bell Atlantic's Managed Virtual Private Network provides an additional level of security that uses encryption and digital certificates;
  • Access Services. Business grade voice services that employees would normally have at the office -- including conference calling, Caller ID, call forwarding and voice mail -- are now available at remote locations. Remote workers also can have their own Bell Atlantic corporate calling card.
  • Enhanced Customer Care options. A basic help desk for data services and inside wire maintenance plans are available.
  • Premises Equipment. Bell Atlantic can satisfy any remote access need with equipment including a variety of telephone hardware such as single or two-line phones, cordless phones, ISDN sets, and a number of DSL and ISDN modems.

A fully-managed option, currently in development, will outsource a business' remote access program or its entire telework program so that the staff can concentrate on business. Managed Virtual Office Solutions will be offered in conjunction with a nationally recognized integration company. It will offer Web-enabled ordering and a single point of contact for implementation and management of Virtual Office Solutions services. Teleworking consulting for assistance in developing and planning a corporate remote access program also will be available.

"Even simple solutions, like company-paid data links and office-based voice messaging systems, provide basic support for teleworkers," Elwell said. "But with so much at stake, the real future in teleworking lies with advanced systems like our virtual office solutions, that are hassle-free for both the worker and the employer."

The virtual office solutions service package is available today in New York City and the mid-Atlantic states and will be introduced in other markets in coming months. Other technologies that support teleworking are widely available.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With nearly 44 million telephone access lines and 12 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.