Re: SOC: Urban Sprawl

Date: Sun Jun 04 2000 - 09:56:08 MDT

Greg writes:
> <> Telecommuting. Talked about as a tonic to commuter gridlock for a
> decade, we OUGHT to be seeing an effect right about now as more and more
> people have sufficient bandwidth in their homes to work from there. I know
> that I have developed a pattern of working from home a few days a month and I
> seem to be encountering more anecdotal evidence of this trend as time goes
> on. But people still like the sociability of an office environment (I know I
> do). I'd look for the development of generic "Edge City Workspaces" for
> semi-telecommuting, where people with disparate professions could share an
> office space and some of the overhead of equipment and facilities (like
> high-end videoconferencing) near their suburban homes.

The company I work for is in the Silicon Valley, and traffic has really
become awful there. I visited the office last week, and although it is
only about a mile from the airport as the crow flies, 5 miles by road,
it takes 20-30 minutes during rush hour.

Partially as a result, telecommuting is becoming very popular at
the office. Out of about 15 engineers in our division, only four or
five come in regularly. The rest are very willing to do without the
socialization opportunities in order to enjoy the pleasures of working
at home. It also seems that the office is all too often a source of
stress, rumors and pressure in the fast-changing business environment.
More and more people are opting out of office politics by staying home
where they can get some work done.

The real limits on telecommuting are management concerns about oversight
and productivity rather than employees' desires to socialize, IMO.
But as traffic and other problems become more severe, pressure from
the workers to allow telecommuting will continue to increase. I don't
think it will actually alleviate the problems of congestion, but it
might reduce how quickly it gets worse.


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