Gary J. Grimes, PhD,
Igor Nikolic, William Jett, and John Tanik, and Charlotte G. Oliver
Center for Telecommunications Education and Research
The University of Alabama at Birmingham
University Transportation Center for Alabama
The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama in Birmingham,
and The University of Alabama at Huntsville
UTCA Report 02205
July 15, 2004
Technical Report Documentation Page
1. Report No 2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle 5. Report Date
Alabama Transportation Improvements Through July 15, 2004
Telework 6. Performing Organization Code
7. Authors 8. Performing Organization Report No.
Dr. Gary J. Grimes, Mr. Igor Nikolic, Mr. William Jett,
Mr. Urcun (John) Tanik, and Ms. Charlotte G. Oliver UTCA Final Report 02205
9. Performing Organization Name and Address 10. Work Unit No.
Center for Telecommunications Education and Research
University of Alabama at Birmingham 11. Contract or Grant No.
1530 3rd Avenue South
Birmingham, AL35294-4461 DTRS98-G-0028
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address 13. Type of Report and Period Covered
University Transportation Center for Alabama Final Report:
PO Box 870205 January 1, 2001 – July 15,2004
University of Alabama 14. Sponsoring Agency Code
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0205
15. Supplementary Notes
Telework is the ability to do your work at a location other than the traditional workplace. With portable computers,
high-speed telecommunications links, and wireless pocket communications devices, many employees can work
almost anywhere at least some of the time. The potential impact on transportation is enormous, with a recent study
reporting that traffic delays can be reduced 10% for each 3% of the workers who telework.
This study examines the potential for telework to make efficiency, cost, and safety improvements to the
transportation system of Alabama. The study examines the infrastructure to support telework in Alabama and makes
recommendations of future actions to take advantage of telework in planning Alabama’s transportation system of the
future. This report is a very short summary of this work. The full documentation, which is an order of magnitude
larger than this report, can be found on the Alabama Telework Initiative web site (cter.eng.uab.edu/telework)
17. Key Words 18. Distribution Statement
19. Security Class 20. Security Class 21. No of 22. Price
(of this report) (of this page) Pages 51
Executive Summary……….……………………………………………………………….. vi
1.0 Introduction ………………………………………………….…….…………………. 1
What is telework?……………………………………………………………………. 1
Methods of conducting this study……………………………………………………. 2
2.0 Telework Snapshot Report for Alabama……………………………………………… 3
Telecommunications, Computing and Real Estate Infrastructure…………………… 3
Narrowband Internet Access……………………………………………………… 3
Broadband Internet Access………………………………………………………... 3
Telephony Based Digital Subscriber Loop Based Broadband Internet Access. 3
CATV Cable Modem Based Broadband Internet Access…………………….. 4
Satellite Based Broadband Internet Access……………………………………. 4
ISDN Based Broadband Internet Access……………………………………… 5
Wireless Broadband Internet Access………………………………………….. 5
Computing Infrastructure…………………………………………………………. 5
Real Estate and Office Services Infrastructure…………………………………… 5
Management Infrastructure for Telework in Alabama………………………………. 6
Governmental Infrastructure and Support for Telework in Alabama……………….. 6
Training and Consultant Suport for Telework Programs 7
Infrastructure Summary……………………………………………………………… 7
3.0 Telework Policy Issues……………………………………………………………….. 8
Policy Examples from the Federal Government, a University, and a Corporation…… 8
Policy Recommendations for Alabama Governments……………………………….. 8
Telework Incentives Policies in Other States…….……………………………….. 9
Telework Policy Goals for Alabama……………………………..………………….. 10
4.0 K-12 and University Education Modules…………………………………………… 11
K-12 Education Module…………………………………………………………….... 11
University Education Module………………………………………………………… 11
5.0 Telework Examples and Case Studies.……………….………………………………. 12
Good Examples of Telework Planning and Deployment.…..……………………….. 12
Bad Example of Telework Planning and Deployment……………………………….. 14
A Tale of Two Workers in the Same Company……………………………………… 14
A Tale of One Company’s Journey into the Modern World of Work………………... 15
6.0 Telework Showcase and Experiments………………………………………………... 18
Showcase Planning……………………..…..……………………………………….... 18
Showcase/Testbed Deployed and Tested…..……………………………….……….. 18
Results of the Showcase/Testbed Deployment………………………………………. 19
7.0 Technology Research for Alabama Telework………………………………………. 20
Overview of Technology Issues…………………………………………………….. 20
Providing Broadband Capabilities to Rural Areas…………………………………… 20
Home Networks………………………………………………………………………. 20
Network Security…………………….……………………………………………… 21
Virtual Private Networks (VPN's)……………………………………………….… 22
Evaluating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies……………………….. 23
Other Areas for Telework Technology Research in Alabama……………….………. 23
8.0 Business Research for Alabama Telework……………………………………………. 25
Business Issues in Deploying a Successful Telework Program………………………. 25
Managing Telework Employees…………………………………………………... 25
Measuring Cost-Effectiveness of Teleworking…………………………………… 26
Management of Virtual Organizations………………………………………………... 26
How Telework is Redefining the Office……………………………………………… 26
Additional Topics for Business Related Issues in Telework…………………………. 27
9.0 Alabama Economic Development Using Telework ………………………………….. 28
Ways Telework Can Help Economic Development in Alabama……………………... 28
Transportation Specific Economic Development via Telework…….………………... 28
Other Economic Benefits of Telework……………………………………………….. 29
10.0 Benefits of Telework…………………………………………………………………. 30
Economic development benefits……………………………………..……………….. 30
Benefits to Alabama businesses…………..…………………………………………... 30
The Social Benefits of Telework……………………………………………………... 31
Benefits to Individuals and Families…………………………………………………. 32
11.0 The Alabama Telework Initiative……………………………………………………. 33
A Concept for ATI: The Alabama Telework Initiative………………………………. 33
Targeted Activities for ATI………………………………………………….………. 34
A Delivery of Services Model for ATI……………………………………………….. 36
A Business Model for ATI…………………………………………………………… 36
12.0 Specific Recommendations for Telework Programs………………………………… 37
Telework Recommendations………………………………….……………………… 37
Recommendations for Managing Telework………………………………………….. 37
Recommendations for Using Technology in Telework………………………………. 37
13.0 Project Conclusions and Recommendations………………………………………… 39
14.0 Acknowledgements…….……………………………………………………..…….. 40
15.0 References……………………………………………………………………………. 41
Appendix A: List of Documents Produced by this Study………………….……………. 44
Appendix B: Telework Glossary………………………………………………………… 46
Appendix C: Telework Facts……………………………………………………………... 48
Appendix D: Directory of Alabama Telework Consultants……………………………… 50
Appendix E: Telework and Telecommuting Organizations in Other States……………… 51
This study was designed to determine the potential for telework to improve the effectiveness and
safety of Alabama’s transportation network. To accomplish this goal the authors collected and
analyzed information relating to a wide range of telework. Alabama has a quality of lifestyle
worth preserving but appears to be trailing much of the nation in adopting telework as an
alternative to commuting. Because of the apparent lack of information on telework in Alabama
the authors investigated an enormously broad array of topics rather than focusing on any one of
them in depth so that they could quickly determine where the largest impacts could be made with
limited resources. During this study the authors assessed the present infrastructure for telework
in Alabama, assessed the present practice of telework in the state and the nation, identified and
prioritized future activities to promote telework in the state, defined key topics for further
research in areas unique to Alabama’s telework needs, and documented the results in this report
and on the Alabama Telework Initiative website.
This study was not intended to be an academically rigorous and focused study on any one aspect
of telework. Our goal was to quickly look at all aspects of telework and to find ways that
Alabama could effectively use telework to improve its transportation system with minimum
Important results of this study include the following:
1. Alabama has a complete and competitive infrastructure for telework and telecommuting
including telecommunications networks, computing resources, temporary office space,
and educated workforces. Many Alabama jobs are teleworkable, at least on a part time
basis, even in the state’s manufacturing and service-oriented economy.
2. The potential to maintain and enhance the quality of life in Alabama with telework is
much greater than in most other states because Alabama has not incurred enormous debt
by building extensive mass transit systems. This gives Alabama an opportunity to
leapfrog its economic competitors by basing more of its economy on falling computing
and telecommunications costs rather than on increasing transportation and energy costs.
3. Telework in Alabama is held back by the lack of telework awareness, by the lack of
public officials promotion of telework, by the lack of high-tech role model firms (in
telecom, software, computing, etc.), and by the lack of a telework consulting and training
infrastructure. Telework is further held back because high-tech companies in Alabama
practice telework less than high-tech companies in other areas.
4. Telework programs are more likely to be deployed in Alabama by branch offices of
national and international companies than by Alabama headquartered companies.
Companies headquartered in the state are less likely to design effective telework
5. Telework training for managers and teleworkers could dramatically boost the
effectiveness of Alabama business and government in many respects, not just telework
6. Future research and deployment projects in telework in Alabama should focus on training
management and teleworkers, and increasing telework awareness.
7. Telework is a low cost means for Alabama to prolong the effectiveness of its present
transportation system and reduce maintenance costs. Telework allows more effective use
of the state’s transportation infrastructure to support retail and tourism.
8. Public policies and incentives could encourage telework and telecommuting in Alabama.
Telework and flextime could significantly reduce traffic during the critical peak rush hour
periods, particularly during the morning rush hour.
9. Telework fits Alabama culture and attitudes. Alabama is family-oriented, and telework is
more family friendly. Alabama tops the list of “drove alone” commuters. Alabama
culture values the freedom to go anywhere, anytime. Alabama workers value living in
low-density semi-rural areas more than workers in other states, which increases
commuting distances and times. These values make telework an attractive alternative for
10. Transportation planners in other states often consider telework to be the lowest cost
means to reduce traffic delays and to meet Federal Clean Air Act standards and to thus
avoid cuts in Federal highway funds.
11. To the knowledge of the authors, telework has not been mentioned by public officials,
agencies such as Clean Air Alabama, and private organizations such as AAA Alabama as
a means to solve Alabama’s transportation and environmental challenges,
12. Telework could be effectively encouraged through a statewide, multidisciplinary
organization to promote telework and telecommuting. Toward this goal we have
launched the Alabama Telework Initiative (ATI).
This document is a brief summary of the research we have done on the Alabama Telework
Initiative. A more complete representation of this work can be found on our telework web site at
http://cter.eng.uab.edu/telework. This web site has over 650 pages of original material.
This study was completed to assess the state of and the infrastructure for telework in Alabama, to
assess how Alabama compares with other states with respect to telework, and to make
recommendations on how telework deployment could best be promoted and supported with
limited resources to improve the transportation system of Alabama. Because of the broad scope
of business and technical subjects that needed to be assessed and analyzed, no subject was
thoroughly and exhaustively investigated. More than 25 research topics have been identified that
could be investigated to support Alabama telework.
Telework is often not considered in transportation planning. Yet a recent study by the National
Capital Region Transportation Planning Board and the Metropolitan Washington Council of
Governments identified telework as by far the most cost effective means to avoid traffic backups.
(Schreffler) Computer models project that for every additional 3% of commuters who work
from home on a given day, traffic delays could be cut by 10%. (Shaver)
This report represents only a tiny fraction of the information produced in this study and does
present the results of any area in depth. Appendix A of this document contains a list of the
documents produced by this study that can be found at the Alabama Telework Initiative website.
These documents are also available from the authors in paper and electronic form.
What is Telework?
Telework is broadly defined as doing work outside the traditional workplace. Teleworkers may
work at home, on the road while traveling, at a customer’s site, or many other places. The
stereotypical vision of telework is a worker working at home five days a week for an employer
whose location is in the same metropolitan area as the worker’s home. This vision is seldom the
case in the real world of telework. Workers are more likely to telework part time, and are likely
to report to an organization in another city or even another country. Some teleworkers may still
commute to their traditional workplace every day and use telework to avoid rush hour traffic.
Other teleworkers may work at home several days a week and have meetings at the traditional
workplace with co-workers one or two days per week. Another stereotype of telework is that of
a knowledge worker (a worker who deals primarily with the collection, processing, and analysis
of information) working at a nontraditional site using computers, telephones, pagers, etc. This is
often the case, but again, it does not apply to all teleworkers. Telework has the potential to
improve the lives of workers, to make the enterprise more efficient and productive, and to deload
transportation systems, particularly during crucial rush hour periods. This in turn can save
transportation costs, both capital and maintenance, and make present transportation facilities
safer and more effective.
The term “telework” is used throughout this report rather than the term “telecommute” because
there is a connotation that telecommuting is a substitute for commuting (assuming that a
commute would put the worker in the ideal workplace – the traditional workplace), when in fact
the telework location may be a much more productive work site for the task at hand than the
traditional work site. The terms associated with telework are confusing and some of them are
misleading. Some of these terms are defined in the Telework Glossary found in Appendix B of
this document. Some facts about telework can be found in Appendix C.
Methods of Conducting this Study
Managers and workers were interviewed at about 30 companies and government organizations in
Alabama, about 10 companies in Denver, about 10 companies in the Atlanta area, about 10
companies in the east coast area, and about 10 companies in the San Jose area. These managers,
workers, and companies are not identified in order that we may present the results unedited and
present both the positive and negative aspects of their telework programs and management
techniques. More detailed follow-on work needs to be done to evaluate the state of telework in
Alabama relative to other states, and this report identified a number of areas for investigation.
The authors recommend that a web-based survey may be the most cost effective way to proceed,
particularly if such a web based survey is combined with a broader study of Alabama
Telework Snapshot Report for Alabama
A goal of this telework research project was to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the
infrastructure in Alabama to support telework. The infrastructure consists of
telecommunications and computing infrastructure, real estate infrastructure such as
shared/temporary office space with various services, and most importantly, and the infrastructure
of telework management techniques and the related telework consulting and training
infrastructure. Management techniques for the effective management of telework come from
corporate training, telework consultants, and prior experience with managing successful telework
programs. Telecommunications, computing and real estate infrastructure may or may not be
required for a particular telework program, but management skills and employee education are
always required. The last type of infrastructure evaluated for Alabama was the representation
that telework has on governmental bodies at the state, county, metropolitan, and local levels, and
the public support given to telework by Alabama officials as solutions to transportation,
pollution, and other quality of life problems.
Telecommunications, Computing and Real Estate Infrastructure
Narrowband Internet Access
Alabama was found to have a competitive infrastructure of narrowband Internet access across the
state, both wired and wireless. The wireless narrowband voice and Internet access is particularly
strong because of the presence of SouthernLINC, a subsidiary of Alabama Power and the
Southern Company. This network was developed to support power line monitoring throughout
Alabama. This network provides cell phone coverage throughout almost the entire state,
whereas most other states have coverage only along major highways and in metropolitan areas.
The only major weakness in narrowband Internet access over wired telephone lines is in rural
areas where additional lines may not be available, and modem connections are often slower in
rural areas than in urban and suburban areas because of the long loop lengths. This means that
modems may be more likely to connect at speeds around 28.8 kilobits/second in rural areas
instead of speeds approaching 56 kilobits/second typical in urban and suburban areas.
Broadband Internet Access
Telephony Based Digital Subscriber Loop Based Broadband Internet Access. A map was
obtained from BellSouth Communications of the high-speed Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber
Loop (ADSL) coverage for Alabama. Although it is impressive in the extent of its coverage,
BellSouth requested that it not be published because coverage is constantly being extended by
BellSouth and there is no way to synchronize the Alabama Telework Initiative website and this
document with the latest coverage map available from BellSouth.
The BellSouth ADSL coverage is particularly impressive in that it covers almost every county in
the State. This includes nearly all of the counties in central and west central Alabama, which
includes some of the poorest counties in the nation. Less than 10% of the families in these
counties have computers, much less Internet access. An examination of the BellSouth ADSL
coverage map definitely shows that BellSouth has not “skimmed” off the top markets where a
significant fraction of consumers are likely to buy ADSL and ignored the rest of the state.
ADSL, whether provided by BellSouth or one of the independent telephone companies of
Alabama, provides a downstream (toward the home or business) of typically 768 kilobit per
second (kb/s) or 1.5 megabits per second (Mb/s) and an upstream rate in the range of 64 kb/s to
256 kb/s. This is very adequate for most telework applications, but the much slower upstream
rate does not support a web server with high output capability on an ADSL link. It further limits
the usefulness of doing regular high-speed network backup of large amounts of data from a home
telework environment. The cost of ADSL is typically $40 to $50 per month depending on the
speed of service in most parts of Alabama.
Some organizations and teleworkers prefer ADSL to cable modems because each subscriber has
a dedicated unshared path back to the central office. With cable modems, the traffic from all
customers in a neighborhood is mixed together on the same coaxial cable and someone with a
custom-built spy termination could spy on their neighbor’s data. ADSL guarantees unshared
bandwidth in both directions, whereas cable modem traffic carrying speed depends on the
activity of neighbors sharing the same coaxial cable.
CATV Cable Modem Based Broadband Internet Access. Cable modem broadband Internet
access provides performance similar to ADSL provided by BellSouth and the independent
telephone companies. Typical providers in Alabama are Charter Communications and AT&T
Broadband. A relatively complete list of cable modem providers is available on the Alabama
Telework Initiative website. The cost is roughly $40-$50 per month. Charter Communications
recently upgraded much of their Pipeline high-speed cable modem based Internet access service
in Alabama to a 3 Mb/s downlink speed.
The service supports telework very well, but billing is sometimes a problem. When purchased as
part of a special discount package (for example, with digital cable and one or more premium
channels) the overall cost can be very attractive, but if the individual is paying for the cable
television service and the individual’s employer is paying for the cable modem service,
vouchering is a problem because the bill does not break out the individual costs.
A summary of cable modem based Internet access in Alabama can be found on the Alabama
Telework Initiative website (cter.eng.uab.edu/telework).
Satellite Based Broadband Internet Access. Satellite broadband Internet access is particularly
interesting because of Alabama’s rural areas and the universal availability of satellite Internet
access. Because of a recent ruling of the FCC, the small satellite dishes required for satellite
broadband Internet access (as well as satellite television access) cannot be banned by local
ordinances or covenants. If a teleworker has access to the southwestern equatorial sky
unblocked by buildings or trees, there is universal Broadband Internet access in Alabama. This
service can experience outages in heavy rainstorms. Rainstorms in Alabama are often heavy but
The cost for this service is typically more than cable modems of ADSL and perhaps about $70
per month for an equivalent speed service. Like ADSL and cable modems, satellite Internet
access provides much slower uplink speeds.
ISDN Based Broadband Internet Access. Telephone companies such as BellSouth and
independent telephone companies offer broadband Internet service on unshielded twisted pair
(UTP) wires, the most common wires of the telephone loop plant. These services, called ISDN
for the Integrated Services Digital Network, comprise basic rate services of two 64 kb/s channels
(an ISDN Basic Rate Interface – BRI connection) or a 1.5 Mb/s ISDN Primary Rate Interface –
(PRI connection). Typically, this service costs several times as much as ADSL or a cable
modem, but the advantage is that it is symmetrical and an Internet server can support outgoing
traffic much better than ADSL or a cable modem. This is because the “upstream” bandwidth is
much higher. A telework-supporting employer might typically use a PRI connection to connect
a file server, web server, or mail server to the Internet.
Wireless Broadband Internet Access. Areas of Alabama including Birmingham and
Huntsville recently received wireless broadband Internet access. This is typically somewhat
short of true 3G (third generation) wireless access, but is usually around 144 kb/s, much higher
than the typical 9600 or 14400 bits/s connection of ordinary cell phones with web access. These
broadband wireless services support the concept of “work from anywhere.”
Computing Infrastructure Alabama offers competitive services for the sales and maintenance
of computing hardware and software needed for telework.
Real Estate and Office Services Infrastructure A search using the “Search Office Space”
website indicated that facilities for shared/temporary/telework centers were available only in
Birmingham and Huntsville. The facilities in Birmingham and Huntsville were competitive with
respect to facilities and prices relative to others in the nation. These facilities are designed to
give teleworkers a temporary place to meet with each other or with customers, and to give
traveling workers a more robust base of operations than a hotel room. Typical facilities offered
• 24 hour access
• Air conditioning
• Alarm or manned security
• Audio visual presentation equipment
• Business / accountancy services
• Car parking
• CAT 5 cabling or CAT 6 cabling for broadband internet access
• Catering facilities / refreshments / kitchen facilities
• CCTV security
• Disabled facilities
• Cable TV and cable modem Internet access
• Elevators for people and equipment
• Lounge area
• Manned reception
• Meeting rooms / boardrooms / conference rooms
• Modem + ISDN + Broadband + Leased line + ADSL
• Office furniture
• Personalized telephone answering
• Photocopying and faxing (possibly color)
• Postal services
• Secretarial and administrative facilities
• Secure LAN connections
• Touchdown facility
• Video conferencing
• Voicemail and/or message taking service
Management Infrastructure for Telework in Alabama
A number of informative interviews were conducted with teleworkers from government and
private industry as well as those involved in the management of telework in these organizations.
These interviews were conducted in Alabama and other states as previously discussed.
We also studied management skills that are necessary to deploy a successful telework program
(Nilles 1998). For the most part, these are the same skills that are necessary to manage a
competitive enterprise using management by objectives techniques. Traditional organizations
perceive themselves as a building where workers arrive at 8 or 9 am and begin to work on
whatever the management deems appropriate for that day. In organizations managed using
modern management by objectives techniques, each employee does what is most effective for
attaining the goals of the organization according to a long-range plan, and each employee is
measured on how well they accomplish the goals of this plan. The employee can be at any work
site, including at home, on an airplane, in a hotel, or at a customer’s site, in order to accomplish
these goals. The authors found that some Alabama employers had implemented modern
management by objectives techniques but had not implemented flextime and telework programs.
The authors found that states with the most aggressive telework programs have an infrastructure
of high-tech firms leading the way. These firms are typically in the computer, data networking,
telecommunications, software, and microelectronics industries. In Alabama, these types of firms
are found in the highest numbers in the Huntsville area. In Birmingham and in other major
Alabama cities, these types of firms are often represented only by sales and service offices.
These offices typically use telework and telecommuting to a large extent, particularly if they are
branches of national or international firms. We found that branches of high-tech USA-based and
European based firms were very likely to employ telework and telecommuting techniques,
whereas firms headquartered in Alabama and other parts of the world outside North America and
Europe were the least likely to employ telework and flextime programs. They were also the least
likely to deploy successful telework programs.
The business mix of Birmingham is tilted toward medical services, manufacturing, and financial
services. These industries are typically conservatively managed and among the last industries to
deploy telework and telecommuting programs. We were able to find, however, a number of
small and medium sized firms in Birmingham that have aggressive telework programs.
While Atlanta was forcibly and permanently moved into the world of telework by the Olympics
and chronic traffic problems (Kanell), Birmingham and other Alabama cities are still not with the
program, even after the dramatic destruction of much of the I-65/I-59 interchange in downtown
Birmingham in early 2002 that caused a disruption of normal work schedules. While this
disruption did initiate some telework, perhaps this disruption was too localized to cause
permanent paradigm shifts in telework and commuting in Birmingham.
Governmental Infrastructure and Support for Telework in Alabama
Alabama is one of about a dozen states without:
• A funded organization to promote telework
• Representation for telework on state transportation planning organizations
• Government supported financial incentives for telework
Additionally, the authors could find no instance in which an elected or appointment Alabama
official suggested telework as an alternative to traditional commuting to work to solve
transportation, pollution, or quality of life problems. Alabama’s most visible agency promoting
clean air, Alabama Partners for Clean Air, has made no known mention of telework and its
potential to reduce air pollution on their web site, http://www.alabamacleanair.com.
Training and Consultant Support for Telework Programs
The authors found no consultant networks for telework support or telework training programs
available for hire or within companies in Alabama. There were no resources or organizations for
companies and governmental organizations to share effective solutions to telework problems in
Alabama and no venues for providers of telework technology solutions to collectively showcase
their solutions. These are major voids that are holding back telework in Alabama.
Telecommunications facilities in Alabama are competitive with any state in the nation. Although
there are some areas that offer more advanced features such as wireless Internet and 3G (third
generation) wireless Internet access, the traffic loading of Alabama’s communication facilities is
far lighter than that found in other areas having more advanced capabilities and features. These
areas include San Jose, Seattle, and New York City, for example. Alabama has far better
wireless coverage than most states because of the presence of SouthernLINC. This wireless
service covers essentially the entire state, not just the metropolitan areas and the areas along
major highways. Broadband Internet is available across Alabama. Alabama has real estate
support for telework, particularly in the Birmingham and Huntsville areas.
The major voids in telework infrastructure support for telework in Alabama are in the areas of
training and consulting support for telework. These outages are being corrected through the
resources produced by this research study and the launching of the Alabama Telework Initiative
(ATI), a statewide initiative to be discussed in Section 11 of this report. The ATI is developing
training programs for businesses and governmental agencies and these programs will soon be
ready to deploy at the customer’s site or at central locations at Alabama universities and public
facilities. A Telework Consultant Directory was prepared as part of this research study and is
included in Appendix D.
Telework Policy Issues
Policy Examples from the Federal Government, a University, and a Corporation
The US Department of Defense (DOD) has issued a comprehensive policy for telework that
basically rules that each employee of a DOD contractor will be allowed to telework unless the
contracting company can give reason to show why telework would not be appropriate. This will
no doubt have an impact on portions of Alabama, particularly in the Huntsville area.
(Department of Defense Telework Policy website) The University of Washington in Seattle has
issued a telework policy for its professional and classified staff employees (University of
Washington telework policy at the UW web site).
AT&T has issued a valuable resource document for sample policies with private companies
(Allenby and Roitz at the AT&T web site). This document outlines the savings that a
corporation can realize in a number of categories ranging from training to real estate by the
implementation of an effective telework program. It also documents the amount of money that
can be saved per employee by investing in broadband connectivity for some types of workers.
AT&T’s latest estimate released in 2003 is $5000 per teleworker per year in savings using
broadband Internet connectivity versus voice band modem Internet connectivity.
Policy Recommendations for Alabama Governments
Telework can significantly improve the quality of life and economic opportunities in Alabama
for everyone, not just those who telework. Telework programs can be implemented at the
worker and first level manager levels, but the most effective programs with the biggest impacts
on society are those with top management support, public policy support, and public financial
Many states including Colorado, Virginia, Washington, Maryland, and Georgia have promoted
strong telework programs by supporting policies similar to the following generalized policies.
The following are sample policies that might be supported in Alabama
• Public officials and environmental groups could encourage telework.
• Telework could be represented in all forums that consider transportation policy.
• Companies and other organizations that support telework could receive financial
incentives. Incentives for telework might include subsidies for computing and
telecommunications equipment used for telework, as well as fees for telecom and
network services. Equipment subsidies might be for home computers, home networks,
home network termination equipment such as DSL and cable modems, fax machines,
copiers, scanners, telephone equipment, laptop computers, PDA’s (portable digital
assistants), printers, antennas, satellite dishes, etc. Service subsidies might include
monthly charges for digital subscriber lines (DSL), cable modems, and satellite Internet
access; charges for telephone services whether used for voice or baseband modems; and
cell phone charges.
• Public policy could encourage the deployment of telework/telecommuting services that
effectively support telework across all parts of Alabama. This could include both wired
and wireless services.
• Tax breaks and other financial incentives should be given to businesses that offer
employees flextime. Flextime is often a precursor to telework and also helps to deload
Alabama’s transportation system during critical rush hour periods.
• Childcare opportunities similar to those provided to non-teleworking employers could be
offered to teleworkers.
Telework Incentives Policies in Other States
In Virginia the telework!VA program provides financial incentives for businesses to start or
expand a formal telework program - up to $35,000 per company and $3,500 per employee, for
the cost of telecommuting-related equipment, answering machines, fax machines, modems, and
webcams. Administered through the Department of Rail and Public Transportation by the
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, this new capital match program provides
monetary incentives for telework arrangements from both home and telework centers. Technical
assistance and training are also provided to help develop and implement a successful customized
telework program. Participating business sites must be a private for-profit business enterprise or
non-profit organization classified as such under Section 501(c) of the Federal Internal Revenue
Code and located in northern Virginia. Priority is given to the counties of Arlington, Fairfax,
Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, Spotsylvania and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church,
Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Manassas and Manassas Park. Applicants must have a minimum of 20
employees working from the northern Virginia site. Participating telework employees must be
Virginia residents. Other states including California, Oregon, New Jersey, and Arizona have
aggressive tax funded incentive programs for telework.
Other states have recognized the advantages of telecommuting and have built incentives into
legislation to increase its use:
• Oregon offers a 35 percent state tax credit and low-interest loans for equipment to
businesses that enable telecommuting for their workers. State agencies are required to
promote smart commuting to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled.
• New Jersey provides corporate business tax and gross income tax credits for employers that
allow employees to telecommute.
• California voters recently passed a state antipollution bill that includes incentives for
• Some states like Arizona have laws requiring state government agencies to allow some
workers to telecommute and other states like Massachusetts have laws that permit some
state government agencies to allow some workers to telecommute.
States such as Arizona, Connecticut, Maryland, Oregon, Washington and others have either
mandated that a percentage of their workforce work from their respective homes or are providing
tax and other incentives for employer sponsored alternative work programs. California,
Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia, and many individual
counties (like Fairfax County, Virginia) and cities (like Austin, Texas and Washington D.C.) are
likewise in the process of encouraging and implementing alternative work options within their
jurisdictions for the betterment of their citizens and expanding economic opportunities.
Telework Policy Goals for Alabama
The authors offer the following draft goals that could possibly be adopted as goals of telework
policy in Alabama:
• Physically and mentally challenged workers should be given appropriate opportunities
when possible to improve their lives through telecommuting without unduly isolating them.
• Telecommuting workers should have the same opportunities for promotion, raises, etc. that
non-telecommuting workers have.
• Alabama should ensure adequate financial incentives are in place to make telework more
attractive to businesses.
• Alabama should strive to make it possible through the development of new technologies
and policies that blue collar hands-on workers have maximum telework opportunities, not
just knowledge workers. This may be accomplished through the use of part-time telework.
For example, a maintenance worker might spend one day a week at home ordering parts.
• Alabama should work toward an environment in which modern telecommunications
technologies are deployed, particularly in the “last mile” and home networks. This will
include ensuring that Alabama is a leader in deploying optical fiber and broadband wireless
networks to homes and businesses, and deploying high-speed wireless Internet capabilities.
Alabama has a competitive telecommunications infrastructure. No “catch up” is necessary
here, just a focus on the future to keep up and continue to display leadership.
• Alabama should strive to strengthen the infrastructure for teleworking from rural areas.
This is already feasible because of the widespread availability of electricity, telephone
service, and satellite Internet service in rural areas. Policy could reduce the differences in
broadband Internet access and its costs between rural and urban areas. Policy could also
reduce the difficulty in obtaining additional analog telephone lines in some areas,
particularly in rural areas.
• Alabama should ensure that minority communities have equal access to telework jobs and
K-12 and University Education Modules
K-12 Education Module
As part of this research program, a comprehensive preschool and K-12 curriculum development
model was prepared. William Jett, a UAB graduate student, accomplished this with help from
Gary Grimes. To the researchers’ knowledge, this curriculum is unique and is the first
comprehensive curriculum developed to teach telework skills in primary and secondary schools.
A publication style paper called “A Publication Formatted Paper on a Telework Curriculum for
K-12 Schools” can be found on the Alabama Telework Initiative web site. This document was
authored by William Jett and Gary Grimes. This paper is expected to be presented at a national
telework conference as well as a national education conference to obtain considerable exposure
for Alabama’s work in telework. The authors believe that this work is a first and that a
curriculum to support telework has not been developed elsewhere. Additional documentation is
available on one of our telework web sites (http://cter.eng.uab.edu/telework).
Additional documents include:
• “Telework Short Course for Universities, Governments, and Businesses,” by William
Jett, 22 slide Power Point presentation
• “Benefits and Challenges of Telework,” by William Jett, 4 page report
• “A Preschool and K-12 Curriculum Development Guide,” by William Jett, 89 page report
The authors are presently working to find appropriate conferences and journals for presentation
of these presentations and papers.
University Education Module
An education module, which can be used interchangeably as a module for university students,
businesses, governmental agencies, and individual teleworkers, was developed by William Jett.
This education module is called “A Telework Short Course for University Students, Businesses,
and Government Agencies”. It is available on the Alabama Telework Initiative website.
Telework Examples and Case Studies
Good Examples of Telework Planning and Deployment
Examples of real telecommuters seldom follow the stereotypical model of someone
telecommuting on a full-time basis rather than driving across town. The following examples
show that there may be few “typical” teleworkers. The following are real examples of
teleworkers known to one or more of the authors of this document, but their names are changed
for the purposes of this report and their companies are not identified:
• Sheila and Steve were senior microelectronic integrated circuit design engineers and
managers at a large telecommunications company in the Denver, Colorado area. When this
large company moved the division to Asia, Sheila and Steve found work at a
microelectronics company in Ft. Collins, Colorado. This location was 50 miles from their
previous work and further yet from their homes. They lived in different parts of the Denver
area and could not conveniently carpool. Their solution was to telework on Mondays,
Tuesdays, and Fridays and to drive to Ft. Collins on Wednesdays and Thursdays for
regularly scheduled meetings and design reviews with other microelectronic engineers.
When major snowstorms were forecast for Wednesdays and Thursdays, making driving
hazardous, they rescheduled the meetings to another day of the week or increased their
number of telework days.
• Robert is a Denver, Colorado telecommunications consultant. He and five associates
comprise a consultant firm that had office space for many years in Boulder, Colorado.
None of the associates lived near the office and their typical commute was well over an
hour. Robert and his five associates traveled extensively, and the commute from their
office in Boulder to the Denver Airport, was about 1.5 hours each way. All of them lived
closer to the airport than the office in Boulder. In the year 2000, Dick and his associates
decided to telework from their homes and closed their Boulder office. Since they already
had telework equipment at their homes, this resulted in a savings of $15,000 per month for
their office space. This money was moved directly to their bottom line and divided among
the six associates, giving each an average effective raise of $2500 per month. The benefits
included no commute time to the office, and less commute time to the Denver airport.
Members of their support staff are also teleworkers and this has resulted in better retention.
• Jeff was a patent attorney at a major telecommunications corporation in the north Denver
area until he accepted an early retirement package in the year 2000. Jeff still wanted to
work full time but opportunities did not exist in the Denver. Jeff found an attractive full
time job with a large computer company in Ft. Collins. Since the highway between Denver
and Ft. Collins was overcrowded on normal days (27 fatalities were recorded in a three
month period in 2002 in a ten mile stretch) and treacherous in winter storms, a five-
day/week commute was not attractive. Jeff solved the problem by teleworking and writing
patent applications at home three days per week and driving to Ft. Collins two days per
week to scheduled meetings with inventors. These two days are flexible, but Mondays and
Fridays, the two peak traffic days were avoided. In order to prepare and prosecute patent
applications, he uses a legal assistant who lives in Montana. Jeff primarily uses email to
communicate with his assistant in Montana.
• Sherry, Kim, and Luke run a healthcare software company in the south Birmingham, AL
metro area. To put their resources into product development and sales, they operate out
of their homes. They outsourced their software and hardware development. When they
need to do a product demonstration they transport a demo system to a customer’s location
and typically leave it installed for several weeks at the customer’s site. This provides a
lot of exposure for their products. The three associates have computers in their homes for
contacting customers and generating sales and product specification documents. They
keep in touch every day using cell phones so that they stay connected when they are
picking up children at school, running errands, etc.
• Nick is a sales representative and applications engineer covering the Rocky Mountain
area, principally the Denver-Boulder-Ft. Collins area for a large international electronic
components company. He has an office at the sales and service location of his company
in south Denver and he has a home office in the north Denver area. Since most of his
customers are within a five to ten minute drive of his home, and his office at his
company’s location is over an hour away, serving them from his home is far better. Nick
has a telephone system that attempts to locate him no matter where he is so that
customers only have to remember one number for him.
• Scott has worked as a sales representative for a major telecommunications equipment
manufacturer in Birmingham, AL for about a decade. Until 1996, a local manager
managed the sales office and the administrative support staff was provided locally. Each
sales person reported to the local manager. Since 1996, each person has reported to a
manager in his or her division outside of Birmingham and the office has had no local
manager. The sales office recently moved to a much smaller facility. Now all the sales
people work from their homes, so office space is needed only when members of the sales
team meet with each other or with customers. Each sales person has a single telephone
number that is connected to a smart call routing system that "finds them" and directs a
call to their present telephone number including mobile phones. Network support for
telephone and computing platforms is provided via a national 800 number to a call center.
These changes have dramatically improved the cost structure of the sales office, and have
made commuting a thing of the past except when the sales people need to drive directly
from their homes to a customer site.
• Ed was an electrical engineer, systems architect, and circuit designer for a large
telecommunications equipment firm in Denver. In 1995 Ed was offered a transfer and a
promotion to an organization with the same company in Chicago. Having grown up in the
Chicago area, he knew he didn’t like the lifestyle and climate of Chicago. He proposed
that he move to Las Vegas, and report to the Chicago organization. This was acceptable
to the company so he made the transfer and moved to Las Vegas. His wife Ann was a
financial consultant with a large bank in Chicago and she moved to Las Vegas, but kept
her job with the bank in Chicago. Six months after he began reporting to the Chicago
organization, Ed was transferred to an organization near Boston with the same company,
but he remained in Las Vegas. Ed visited Chicago and Boston some, but more often
traveled to visit his company’s locations in Europe. The Las Vegas location suited him
better health wise and it offered consistently low airfares to anywhere in the world. Ed
and Ann built a home in Las Vegas with suitable offices and a secure broadband wireless
network to allow them to enjoy their pool while working. They found they could
simultaneously access their companies’ virtual private networks over this common
connection. This is a good example of how companies can retain good workers and keep
them happy and productive over long careers, and support dual career couples.
• Bryan worked part time at a software research and development company in Boulder
while he attended the University of Colorado. When he graduated in 2000, he decided to
attend graduate school at the University of Washington in Seattle. He remained an
employee of the Boulder software company and teleworked from Seattle for a year after
he moved to Seattle. This allowed him to complete his project and publish several
research papers on his work at international conferences for the benefit of the Boulder
company and himself.
• Norm was a fiber optics engineer at a large optical fiber company in the Atlanta, GA area
until his retirement. After retirement, he wanted to work full time since he was only in
his mid-50s, but he did not wish to move. Norm quickly found a full time job with a
Japanese manufacturer of cabling systems. Norm now lives in the same house in
suburban Atlanta and works full time for his new employer in Japan. He travels to Japan
once every two to three months for meetings with his boss and co-workers, and also
travels to international standards meetings in North America and Europe for his
employer. Norm says that he could do his job with less travel, but he enjoys the travel
and his company is willing to pay for it.
A Bad Example of Telework Planning and Deployment
• Claudette, Vern, and Tanya were customer service workers at a large financial services
company in downtown Birmingham. Their employer selected them for a trial telework
program. They were selected strictly on the basis of their job function, which could be
easily performed from their homes because they were on the telephone constantly with
customers. Call center software was available to route the calls to their homes. All three
had less than average motivation and job performance, and none had good skills in
communicating with management and staying in touch. When the telework program was
started, they were not given training and received old computers to take home for their
work. Similarly, their management did not have training in managing a telework
program. Their salaries were cut to “compensate” for lower commuting costs and
clothing. This totally demotivated them. All three eventually lost their jobs because of
poor performance reviews and the company concluded that telework did not work.
A Tale of Two Workers in the Same Company
• Jack and Bob are technical representatives of two divisions of a large Japanese firm and
they both represent similar product lines in the USA. Bob’s division understands the
power of telework and when they hired Bob, they let him pick his spot in the USA to live
and work. He picked the Charlotte, NC area because of family and climate
considerations. Bob is very happy with his job and life and plans a long career with the
company. Charlotte is a major air hub so Bob has good access to travel. Like Jack, none
of Bob’s customers are near each other, but rather are scattered randomly throughout the
USA. Jack has worked for the company for many years but unfortunately his division is
not telework oriented. In fact, his division management in Japan believes US
representatives of Japanese companies need to be in New York City, even though he has
no customers in or near New York City. Jack spends about 22 hours per week
commuting between his home in New Jersey and his office in Manhattan. He never eats
dinner with his wife and daughter on weekdays and they are usually gone to other
activities when he arrives home. On the weekends he is usually too exhausted to do
family activities because of his 40-hour workweek plus the 22 hours he spends
commuting each week. Jack is in danger of burnout and would be far more open to a
new job opportunity than Bob. Jack’s quality of life suffers for no good reason because
he has no customers in New York City and could do all of his work from his home.
A Tale of One Company’s Journey into the Modern World of Work
This is the story of a large division of an international company in the Denver, CO area that
employees thousands of R&D and manufacturing workers. It will not be identified so that both
negative and positive aspects of its work environment may be discussed.
• 1978 snapshot: In 1978 there was no flextime or telework. The plant manager often
stood by an entrance and took down the names of employers who were even five minutes
late. Because thousands of employees had to report to work at the same time, there were
often large traffic jams and traffic accidents in the vicinity of the plant just before starting
time. At the normal quitting time, everyone left no matter what the state of his or her
work, causing another large traffic jam for miles around the plant. Traffic gridlocks were
predictable around the plant twice a day. There were constant expensive road widening
projects underway but they seemed to help very little and there were constant
construction delays and frequent accidents in the construction zones. The division had
computer terminals that employees could check out and take home. The computers were
simple terminals that accessed the company’s UNIX-based machines with acoustic
couplers rather than modems. When reorganizations came, employees were always
moved around so that they were in offices contiguous with the office of their new
supervisor and each other, even if they only had to move a few offices down a hallway.
The cost of moves was enormous, typically thousands of dollars per employee when
telephone and data connection move costs were included. Travel costs were enormous
because meetings with other divisions were always done in person. Groups consisted of
only six or seven workers and management overhead was enormous. Each worker was
typically “micromanaged.” In 1978 employees did not take personal responsibility for
the company’s success and its products lost money and were not competitive. Employees
never had long-term work goals but were rather “jerked around” from one assignment to
the next, without ever consulting the employees about their interests or long-term career
goals. Employee morale was low, employee turnover was enormous, exceeding 20% per
year, and company training and recruiting costs were correspondingly enormous.
• 1983 snapshot: In 1983 the company introduced a policy of “core hour flextime” that
permitted employees to schedule and hold meetings only between 9 am and 3 pm and
employees could adjust their hours around these core hours. Soon after this a significant
amount of telework began and work schedules became far more flexible than indicated
by core hour flextime. The company provided computers for employees to take home.
These were typically much older and less capable machines than employees used in their
offices. Traffic jams in the vicinity of the plant vanished almost instantly and at almost
no cost. Workers wasted a lot of time in regularly scheduled group meetings in which
workers told the rest of their group what they were working on, even though most of the
members of the group were totally unaffected. Managers felt good about these meetings
because they were accomplishing their own goals (finding out about the state of their
projects) and did not realize that they were setting back progress of their groups by these
meetings. Products of the division were still unprofitable and the division still had to be
heavily subsidized by other divisions of the company. Morale was still low, but
improved because of the flextime initiative and employee turnover decreased somewhat.
• 1990 snapshot: By 1990 work hours were extremely flexible and telework was common.
Even employees who ran testing laboratories could run the tests remotely from home.
Starting and quitting times for various employees typically had variations of six hours
between the earliest workers and the latest workers so that they could adjust their
schedules to be most productive and meet their family responsibilities. Employee morale
was much higher and employee turnover rates were typically less than 5%, reducing
company recruiting and training costs enormously. Traffic in the vicinity of the plant
flowed freely with no peaks, other than the usual community rush hours. The company
showed a significant profit for the first time. Managers discussed telework as part of the
workers performance reviews. Partly because of telework, organizations were much
flatter and fewer supervisory managers were required.
Groups were often distributed around the globe and workers were never moved within a
building as a result of reorganization. Some workers were even transferred to other
divisions around the USA and the world and did not move their office or residence.
Groups often consisted of fifteen or more workers and management overhead was greatly
reduced. One group that designed custom integrated circuits with complex interfaces that
had to “play together” when finished was distributed around the globe. Six workers were
in Denver, two were in other US cities, two were in Germany, two were in France, two
were in Holland, one was in Italy and one was in China. One project with two hundred
R&D workers designed and built a complex telecommunications switching system from
1990 to 1993. During this time the organization only had two general meetings. Most
communication was via email and in small meetings as needed. The Internet and the
company intranet based on virtual private networks played a big role in company
communications, although Fed Ex and DHL were important. No regularly scheduled
meetings were allowed, and meetings for the one-way transfer of information were
discouraged. Travel costs were greatly reduced. Travel was typically done to meet new
colleagues and establish relationships – after that everything was handled via conference
calls and emails. From 1993 to 1997, this group designed nine very complex custom
integrated circuits, each with over one millions transistors each, all of which worked the
first time they were tested.
By comparison, a division of the company in Holland that did not use distributed work
groups, flextime, or telework also designed nine custom integrated circuits of somewhat
less complexity, and only one of the Dutch circuits worked the first time without
redesign. The Denver division used effective software collaboration tools so that
engineers and scientists could simulate how their parts worked together during the design
process. Global conference calls were held for major design reviews of integrated
circuits, circuit boards, backplanes, and racks of equipment. Over the more than one
decade that this group worked together, its members were all together only once.
Workers had long-term goals (usually one year, reviewed by quarterly milestones) that
were mutually agreed upon by them and their supervisor and workers were evaluated
using these goals. Managers were responsible to give the workers everything they
needed to be successful. The employee’s interests and career goals were taken into
account in the formulation of the yearly goals. The division’s products were competitive
for the first time and beat the global competition in both cost and performance. Morale
was very high and employee turnover was low.
This example shows how flextime, telework and distributed work groups can help a company
gain competitiveness through improvement of worker morale, reduction of employee turnover,
the encouragement of the adoption of modern management techniques, and reduction of training
and recruiting costs. This example also suggests that telework can be most effective when
deployed as part of an entire strategy that includes modern management techniques and flextime.
Some of the Alabama companies interviewed in this project are closer to the 1978 snapshot than
the 1990 snapshot with their present business practices. This is true even of some high-tech
Alabama companies in the software, telecommunications, and computer industries that usually
lead the way toward flextime, telework, and best current practice management techniques. Some
Alabama companies regard flextime and telework only as employee benefits, not as tools that the
company can use to improve its competitiveness and be more socially responsible. This is
changing slowly, but could be greatly accelerated by an effective public awareness program on
Telework Showcase and Experiments
As part of this research project, a number of representatives of leading telecommunication
service providers and equipment vendors were contacted to determine their interest in
participating in a Telework Showcase. Because of the enormous downturn in the
telecommunications market, which has depressed telecommunication equipment sales more than
80%, it was not possible to find private support for a Telework Showcase. There was
considerable interest expressed and some positive responses early in 2002. As the year
progressed and the telecommunication market slid into unprecedented depression, enthusiasm
remained but economic feasibility did not. Some of these companies did, however, offer their
own facilities as a showcase and offered to arrange for some of their customer’s locations with
an installed base of their equipment to serve as a distributed telework showcase. Because of lack
of financial support, the researchers installed a base of equipment at the UAB Center for
Telecommunications Education and Research and in the homes of Charlotte Oliver, the
administrative assistant of the Center, and Gary Grimes, the Executive Director of the Center.
Showcase/Testbed Deployed and Tested
The telework facilities deployed at UAB were the normal information technology (IT) services
offered to all UAB employees. These included remote access to campus file servers and access
to a Microsoft Exchange mail server via a web site or a remote Microsoft Exchange or Outlook
The home network of Charlotte Oliver consisted of:
1. An analog telephone line
2. A cable modem broadband Internet access line
3. A 2 gigahertz (GHz) Pentium 4 class computer
4. An all-in-one printer/copier/fax/scanner (ink jet capability)
5. A modem in the computer for backup connectivity
6. A cell phone for voice work-from-anywhere capability
The home network of Gary Grimes consists of:
1. Two analog telephone lines
2. Five two-line analog telephones with conference and hold capability
3. A cable modem broadband Internet access line
4. An Ethernet hub
5. A phoneline network for sharing the cable modem
6. Two Pentium 4 class computers on the network
7. A color inkjet printer and a high speed black and white laser printer shared on the
8. Two 2 GHz Pentium 4 class computers
9. Zip drives and CD burners
10. A wireless 802.11a,b,g wireless network for sharing the cable modem with a PDA and a
laptop with an 802.11b PC card interface
11. A Pocket PC class PDA with a 802.11b built in wireless interface for cable modem
sharing and a global positioning system (GPS) capability
12. A laptop computer with an 802.11b interface card and Bluetooth capability.
Additionally, Dr. Grimes and Ms. Oliver had a telephone system that supported telework. Their
office was equipped with three ordinary analog lines. This permitted Ms. Oliver to transfer calls
to Dr. Grimes in the same way whether at his home or at the office, and callers could not tell the
difference. The three lines at the office permitted Ms. Oliver and Dr. Grimes to be on calls
simultaneously while receiving or sending a fax. Dr. Grimes has two analog telephones lines at
his home plus broadband access so that he can have Internet access while being on conferences
calls. No video teleconferencing facility has been installed in Dr. Grimes’ and Ms. Oliver’s
homes and no need for this has been identified.
Results of the Showcase/Testbed Deployment
The telework testbed was very successful and very few problems were identified. Among the
problems identified were the following:
1. Computer support had to be conducted by Dr. Grimes or Ms. Oliver at their home
locations, or else their computers had to be transported to UAB. This was difficult
because most of the machines were desktops. However, the desktops provided more
functionality/dollar and were far more upgradeable than laptops.
2. The Phone Line Network hub had no built-in hardware firewall.
3. Before Ms. Oliver could install a software firewall in her home desktop machine, a
hacker managed to seriously damage her software load.
4. Because various electronic copies of documents were spread over a number of computing
platforms, version control was difficult and challenging. Files had to be renamed often to
avoid confusion and wasted time in editing a wrong version of a document.
5. Dr. Grimes and Ms. Oliver had to be diligent about installing security patches since their
home computers were not supported by the campus support team.
6. File servers at UAB were not always available when needed. Dr. Grimes and Ms. Oliver
found it very useful to keep complete file system images on optical media at home.
The telework testbed was particularly valuable for Ms. Oliver during the time that portions of the
I-65/I-59 interchange were unavailable early in 2002 following the accident involving a burning
gasoline truck. Telework saved her hours of difficult commuting per day during this period.
The equipment and services found to be most useful are the broadband Internet connection plus
the two analog lines installed at Dr. Grimes’ home. He has found it extremely useful to be able
to be on a conference call with Internet support and still leave another analog telephone line
available for his family.
Technology Research for Alabama Telework
Overview of Technology Issues
The goal of this portion of the research project was to identify issues for technology research,
and in particular, to identify issues that are especially important to Alabama, given its rural
character and commodity-based economy. The actual research completed was in the area of
web-based software tools for telework support.
The purpose for this section of the report is to introduce some issues relative to the technology
base for supporting telework and to define further research that could be done with respect to
Providing Broadband Capabilities to Rural Areas
When the 1996 Telecom Act was passed, Congress was explicit that telecom service in rural
areas be comparable to that available in urban areas, including access to advanced
telecommunications and information services. At this early stage of broadband deployment, rural
customers do not have equal access at reasonable rates despite measures by the Federal
Communication Commission (FCC) to insure universal service.
Rural America still represents a viable market for broadband service for several reasons. Farmers
are actually ahead of the general home-user population in PC usage. Forty percent of farms now
have a computer, and Internet usage on farms was up to nearly 30 percent in 1999. (ITAC, 1999)
Also, telecom competition is increasing in rural areas as more businesses, especially e-commerce
companies, locate their headquarters and warehouses there to take advantage of the low cost of
land and labor.
Moreover, rural telecom consumers have shown higher customer loyalty than metropolitan
consumers; a large percentage reported they had not switched carriers over the past two years.
And while they are less likely to subscribe to enhanced services, rural customers have significant
interest in purchasing phone features like caller ID. There is a great opportunity to sell both
Internet services and enhanced features to the underserved rural market. As previously discussed
in the telework snapshot section, BellSouth and the various cable companies have provided
significant broadband access in rural counties in Alabama.
Several worthwhile research topics relative to broadband access in rural areas have been defined.
One study could be done to compare the costs of rural vs. urban broadband access. Another
study could be done to investigate the possibility of shared broadband access in specially
designed broadband villages or housing clusters in rural areas. Such villages might support
highly paid workers in areas of Alabama where incomes have traditionally been low.
A study of basic home networking technology can be divided into these categories:
• Cabling and connection technologies
• Hubs, switches, routers; topologies
• Network operating systems and protocols
• File, connection, and peripheral sharing
• Performance analysis and optimization
It is possible to build a home network based on Ethernet (on data grade unshielded twisted pair
wiring – called UTP), phone line, power line, and wireless technologies. Ethernet requires
dedicated cabling, unlike phone line and power line systems that utilize wires already present in
a home, and unlike wireless systems that avoid the use of data cables. Being dedicated lines,
Ethernet communications are generally less subject to interference than other systems
(particularly wireless). HomePNA stands for “Home Phone line Networking Alliance” -- an
association of technology companies that develop specifications for phoneline networking
technology. HomePNA 1.0, released in late 1998, operates at 1 Mbps. HomePNA 2.0, released in
late 1999, operates at 10 Mbps, although the performance will decrease if the network contains
more than approximately 50 devices. HomePNA 2.0 supports phoneline networking technology
in the home. Powerline and phoneline approaches both boast the 'no new wires' advantage over
Ethernet. HomeRF utilizes Shared Wireless Access Protocol (SWAP). HomeRF 1.0 with SWAP
supports maximum data rates of 1.6 Mbps, and HomeRF 2.0 will support data rates of 10 Mbps.
The term “Wi-Fi” stands for 'wireless fidelity' and refers to IEEE 802.11a,b and g products
designated by the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA). The intent of Wi-Fi is to
certify wireless technologies from different manufacturers so that home users can safely mix-
Limitations of today’s home networks include the following:
• A network's sharing capabilities can be difficult to configure initially.
• Home network cabling can be difficult to install and manage.
• Shared Internet access may not perform satisfactorily (hubs may present LAN URLs to
ISP providers, etc.).
Additional topics of interest include advanced home networks based on plastic optical fibers and
broadband wireless. Possible research topics include comparing the effectiveness, installation
challenges, and network security aspects of the various types of home networks. It may also be
of value to compare the down time of home networks versus office LANs.
A number of attacks against Internet Protocol (IP) are possible. Typically, these exploit the fact
that IP does not perform a robust mechanism for authentication, which is proving that a packet
came from where it claims it did. A packet simply claims to originate from a given address, and
there isn't a way to be sure that the host that sent the packet is telling the truth. This isn't
necessarily a weakness, per se, but it is an important point, because it means that the facility of
host authentication has to be provided at a higher layer on the International Standards
Organization (ISO) Reference Model. Today, applications that require strong host authentication
(such as cryptographic applications) do this at the application layer.
IP spoofing and IP session hijacking are two growing threats to network security. IP spoofing
occurs when one host claims to have the IP address of another. IP session hijacking is relatively
more sophisticated, and possibly a more dangerous attack because there are now toolkits
available in the underground community that allow relatively unskilled evildoers to perpetrate
this attack. IP session hijacking is an attack whereby a user's session is taken over, and is the
control of the attacker. If the user was in the middle of email, the attacker is looking at the
email, and then can execute any commands he or she wishes. Replacing standard telnet-type
applications with encrypted versions of the same thing can solve this. In this case, the attacker
can still take over the session, but will see only “gibberish'' because the session is encrypted.
Network security is important for almost all teleworkers. Some workers are prevented from
teleworking because they deal with sensitive information such as patient records or classified
information. A research topic here could be defined as working on methods that would allow
these workers to work at home, through improved network security and improved business
Firewalls have been employed to provide some level of separation between an organization's
intranet and the Internet. There are three types of firewalls: application gateways, packet
filtering, and hybrid systems. The term “firewall'' refers to a number of components that
collectively provide the security of the system. Any time there is only one component paying
attention to what is going on between the internal and external networks, an attacker has only
one thing to fool to gain complete access to the protected network.
Network security is a significant issue with respect to 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g wireless
LAN’s. A Pentium 4 class computer can break the Wireless Encryption Protocol (WEP)
standard used by these networks in about four hours. This is an unacceptable level of security
for many telework applications. Research in 802.11x security protocols is underway and these
are presently being standardized. This is a fruitful area for research.
Research projects here include the comparison of the effectiveness of hardware and software
firewalls particularly with respect to wireless office and home networks.
Virtual Private Networks
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) allow two offices to communicate with each other so that it
looks like they are directly connected over a private leased line. The session between them,
although going over the Internet, is private because the link is encrypted, and the link is
convenient, because each can see the others' internal resources without showing them to the
entire world. The capability of sending encrypted data over public networks such as the Internet
is called “tunneling.”
Some possibly fruitful research topics include the following:
• Capability to access multiple VPNs simultaneously from one computer;
• Capability to access a VPN uniformly through many different types of access (modem,
broadband, wireless, etc.)
• More secure VPNs
Research on VPN’s over satellite Internet connections is particularly interesting to Alabama
because of the potential for high number of rural teleworkers. Recent reports indicate that
serious problems have been encountered when using VPN software over satellite Internet
connections because the VPN software can “time out” because of the long round trip propagation
delay of signals going to geosynchronous satellites and returning to earth. This is an interesting
and useful area of research for Alabama telework technology.
Other research areas relative to VPNs include measuring how VPNs degrade computer and
telecommunication line performance, and determining whether ordinary computer users without
special training in network security can install and use VPNs effectively on their computers.
Evaluating Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies
Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technologies were popular a few years ago when people
realized that they could make free calls over the Internet. The popularity has declined somewhat
because of the low cost of calling minutes on land lines and cell phones and because of the
relatively low quality of VoIP calls. Now interest is resurging with improved Internet
VoIP is supported with a group of signaling protocols, called H.323. The H.323 standard has
evolved into a bundle of working, supported specifications. H.323 is the International
Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium's umbrella designation for packet-based telephony
standards, and its widespread industry support gives customers a degree of confidence. Most
businesses are not looking to use it for their IP telephony projects. Instead, they are using it to
squeeze more traffic onto their dedicated wide-area connections. A regular voice conversation
will saturate a 56 kbps link, but when that same exchange is compressed and packetized, there is
room for another six phone calls on the same wire. Customers evaluating IP telephony should be
prepared to consider service quality as another cost factor. Many companies still have separate
voice and data networks but would like to take advantage of the benefits of using Internet
telephony. A gateway can convert a telephone conversation into the correct format as data
packets to enable it to travel across a data network as Internet telephony. Gateways are required
at both ends of a telephone conversation so that voice can be converted before transmission, then
converted back into intelligible language at the other end.
The VoIP network could be:
• A local area network
• A wide area network
• A corporate intranet
• Or any combination of the above
Research topics in VoIP include the comparison of costs and quality with traditional telephone
calls, although traditional telephones calls are often carried over VoIP networks by the long
distance and local telephone companies. Other research topics include investigating whether it is
useful to supplement VoIP and standard voice calls with video, data, and still image capabilities.
Other areas for telework technology research in Alabama
Areas of technology research specific to Alabama telework would probably focus on rural
telework and security issues since Alabama has many jobs related to information such as patient
records and sensitive space and military classified documents. Most of these topics apply
equally well to other states and are not unique to Alabama’s needs. Some additional topics for
• Providing broadband capabilities in rural areas
• Providing the capability to access multiple VPNs simultaneously from one computer
• Providing the capability to access a VPN uniformly through many different types of access
(modem, broadband, wireless, etc.)
• Evaluating technologies for VoIP for telework applications
• Providing more secure Internet tunneling capabilities (virtual private networks)
• Providing centralized corporate management of telecommuting software bases
• Exploring 3G and 4G (third and fourth generation) broadband wireless technologies for
telework from anywhere capabilities
• Exploring advanced home networks based on plastic optical fibers and broadband wireless
• Providing telepresence and telerobotics capabilities so that workers in hands-on jobs can
• Helping telecom service providers evaluate the potential of low cost IP over optical Gigabit
Ethernet in the local loop vs. “traditional” broadband loop technologies such as cable
modems and DSL technologies.
• Another topic of importance and controversy is the measurement and comparison of “down
time” of home Internet connectivity based on wide area networks (analog modems, cable
modems, ADSL, and satellite Internet) with LAN intranet connections in traditional
workplace office buildings. Some people contend that WAN networks are more reliable
because of their duplication, while others contend that LAN networks are more reliable
because they do not go out of a building or out of a campus environment.
• Evaluating the relative effectiveness and costs of audio-only teleconferences for
teleworking compared with teleconferences that include video, data, and still image
Business Research for Alabama Telework
Business Issues in Deploying a Successful Telework Program
Dealing effectively with the business issues are at least as important as providing a technically
sound telecommuting environment with the proper computing and telecommunications facilities,
and business issues tend to be more challenging for most organizations. Telecommuting could
bring positive change to the Alabama business community by encouraging use of modern
management techniques. Telecommuting forces businesses to set goals for their workers and this
alone is an enormous step in improved management. The deployment of telework will help
Alabama businesses move toward uniform employee evaluations of traditional workers as well
Other important business issues include helping businesses determine which types of workers
can make best use of telework, determining whether full-time or part-time telecommuting is
appropriate, and helping telecommuters ensure that their home environment is appropriate for the
type of work they are doing. If the teleworker is taking airline reservations, kids screaming and
dogs barking in the background may not be appropriate. Employees need to be aware of the
necessity of childcare during telework. Employees also need to be aware of the dangers of
allowing other family members to use their telework computer. Business may need help in
formulating effective and legal telecommuting guidelines, and in identifying the resources for
which employees become eligible if they give up their office at the company.
One of the most critical business issues of telework is defusing some of the popular
misconceptions. For example, telework seldom involves workers staying home all the time.
More often, it means having some telework days or perhaps just missing rush hour traffic. While
telework previously implied not driving to a local company, now many teleworkers are located
in other states or other countries. Teleworkers in large companies may even report to a boss on
another continent. Another misconception is that telework only applies to a small segment of
workers, sometimes known as “knowledge workers.”
Many large corporations traditionally organized sales and service offices to report to a local
manager who was responsible for the operation of the entire remote office. Many firms have
replaced this model with each person reporting remotely to a manager in a specific line of
business organization. Telework has led to workers moving closer to clients and eliminating the
need for the local level of management. In many cases it has also eliminated the need for local
secretarial and administrative support staffs.
Managing Telework Employees
Not having every employee within line of sight can be a big adjustment for managers. If a
manager's view of success is based on the number of bodies in the office and the ability to look
over their shoulders, telework will surely fail. If a manager is concerned that he or she cannot
adequately judge a teleworking employee's performance, the trouble is not with the concept of
teleworking, but with the manager's ability to measure the worker’s performance relative to
predetermined goals. Managers and teleworkers should agree in advance on performance
measures, schedules, and deadlines. Managers should then manage by results, not by
surveillance. One potential course is to initially start with part-time telecommuting instead of
full-time telecommuting programs.
Research projects here might include measuring the effectiveness of training managers to
Measuring the Cost-Effectiveness of Teleworking
Many corporations may find it advantageous to invest in additional infrastructure for workers to
work from anywhere and communicate effectively and securely from many locations. The initial
and recurring costs may be high because of the need to provide for teleworking employees'
equipment, telephone and data lines.
Numerous studies and cost-benefit analyses of telework-friendly companies show that the costs
may pay off substantially. Overall, studies show that companies can save thousands of dollars a
year through telework, and this is mostly because:
• Telework increases productivity and improves attendance.
• Telework reduces overhead and real estate costs, allowing companies to grow without
expanding office space.
• Telework helps recruit and retain good employees without having to rely on location as a
• Companies may be independent from rising energy costs and shortages and disruptions in
the transportation system such as transit strikes.
Research topics here include measuring these advantages for Alabama companies and workers.
Management of Virtual Organizations
Challengers to telework feel that it will negatively influence those that remain in the workplace
by disrupting teamwork and creating resentment. They feel that it is difficult to create team
synergy and overcome the absence of informal, interactive learning (learning that takes place by
the water cooler, over lunch, or in the hallways). In addition, they claim that teleworkers have
reduced commitment and loyalty to the organization because working at home encourages
autonomy rather than solidarity. However, telework increases employee loyalty. In a virtual
environment, keeping the lines of communication open through e-mail, telephone and web-based
collaborative tools can keep the informal team together. Again, focusing on work, productivity
and proactive communication, not location, are the keys to success.
One proposed topic for future research here is a study of how teleworking organizations tend to
be “flatter” and require less managers per worker.
How Telework is Redefining the Office
In the past, an enterprise was regarded as a building where people congregated during fixed well
defined periods of time and worked, largely independently. When they were at the building, they
worked and when they left, their work day ended. In today’s world the office is regarded in a
much different context. To quote Frances Cairncross, author of The Death of Distance and The
Company of the Future, “Work used to be a place you’d go to. Now it’s just something you do.”
(Tynan) Workers typically use cell phones, pagers, laptops, and desktop computers at home, to
keep in touch wherever they are. Work for many people has extended to 24 hours per day, seven
day per week. On the other hand, people do a lot of “personal” things at the office now.
Offices today are regarded as places where workers brainstorm, build and maintain relationships,
and bounce ideas off each other. In some offices, workers telework so much that they do not
have individual offices in the workplace. The workplace consists of meeting rooms equipped for
presentations and brainstorming, with perhaps small areas for individual work between meetings.
When not in a scheduled meeting, people often work at home. According to Cairncross, “The
office is no longer the place to do work; in my office it’s the last place to work. I go home to get
my work done. I go to the office to bounce ideas off people, catch up on gossip, and engage in
productive chat.” (Tynan) As businesses and government organizations build new office space
the trend is toward smaller individual office space since many workers will do much of their
individual contribution work at home. The other half of this trend is to build office spaces with
more space for workers to meet and have conversations in comfortable and informal settings
around the office without bothering other workers.
The office will change even more in the immediate future. As people are constantly connected
by broadband wireless no matter where they go, working together can happen anywhere. With
3G (third generation) broadband cellular service people can stay connected with constant voice,
video, and data collaboration. The Seattle wireless community project (www.seattlewireless.org)
makes it possible to achieve broadband connectivity to laptops and PDA’s almost anywhere for
free. People share their cable modem and ADSL bandwidth through 802.11b wireless
transceivers so that anybody can stay connected almost anywhere in the city. Their web site
shows their coverage and it is growing rapidly. Businesses such as Barnes and Noble, Kinko’s,
and Starbucks feature broadband wireless connectivity in all of their restaurants. Hotels offer
broadband connectivity for a fee, and for an additional fee you can have broadband wireless
connectivity anywhere on their premises. Research topics here include investigating how
workers can use wireless connectivity from many locations transparently without security risks.
Additional Topics for Business Related Issues in Telework
Some additional topics for research are:
• Finding techniques for measuring the cost effectiveness of telecommuting
• Determining ways of discovering which jobs are best suited for telecommuting
• Measuring the effectiveness of full-time vs. part-time telecommuting
• Determining how to mix travel with telecommuting for long distance telecommuters
• Finding new management techniques of virtual organizations
• Finding ways of evaluating teleworking and nonteleworking employees fairly
Alabama Economic Development and Benefits Using Telework
Telework can be a powerful driver for economic development in Alabama.
Ways Telework Can Spur Economic Development in Alabama
Telework can add jobs, income, and tax revenues to the Alabama economy in the following
• Telework allows Alabama individuals to find and hold telework jobs in which they report
to organizations outside Alabama. This allows individuals to take advantage of the high
quality of life in Alabama and the low living costs while performing jobs, particularly high-
tech jobs that may not be available yet in Alabama. This also helps Alabama build a
critical mass of workers in high paying job fields.
• Telework makes it possible for Alabama to export expertise nationally and globally and
add the proceeds to the Alabama economy. For example, Alabama has medical, metal
processing, vehicular, and aerospace expertise that can be “exported” nationally and
globally using telework technology.
• Telework makes it possible for Alabama companies acquire talent they need which may not
be presently available in Alabama by using teleworkers in other states or countries. This
removes a roadblock for companies wishing to relocate to Alabama or expand their
activities in Alabama that cannot be fully supported by the present talent base.
• Telework enables special economic development programs. An example of these programs
the development of televillages in highly desirable undeveloped areas of Alabama (such as
lake front property) by providing shared broadband telework services. Without the
televillages, these areas typically do not the needs of highly paid workers unless satellite
Internet access meets their needs. These televillages allow teleworkers to effectively
telecommute to centers of finance, technology, and healthcare anywhere in the world.
Transportation Specific Economic Issues for Telework
The following are transportation specific economic development enablers for Alabama made
possible by telework:
• Telework preserves the present excellent transportation system of Alabama, reducing
maintenance costs and reducing costs of needed upgrades as the population and economy
grows. Telework is the lowest cost means of reducing traffic delays. (Schreffler)
• Telework frees transportation infrastructure to support tourism and retail, two essential
parts of the Alabama economy.
• Telework may be the lowest cost solution to meeting Federal Clean Air standards and
avoiding the withholding of Federal highway funds critical to the development of Alabama.
• Telework makes the Alabama economy less sensitive to catastrophic outages in the
Alabama transportation system, such as the partial destruction of the I-65/I-59 interchange
in Birmingham early in 2002.
Other Economic Benefits of Telework
Telework can benefit the economy of Alabama in ways not directly classifiable as economic
• Telework infrastructure can be also used to deliver other services such as telemedicine,
home healthcare, telerehabilitation, emergency medical services, teleshopping, distance
learning, narrowcasting of religious services to nursing homes and shut-ins, narrowcasting
local sporting events, and narrowcasting neighborhood meetings.
• Telework can make the Alabama economy less sensitive to increases in energy prices and
to energy shortages.
• Telework allows businesses to align its future cost model with reducing costs of computing
and telecommunications and partially isolating itself from the increasing costs of energy
• Money spent on gasoline and diesel fuels generally goes out of the Alabama and USA
economies. This negatively impacts the Alabama and USA economies.
Benefits of Telework
There are many benefits of telecommuting to economic development, businesses, and to
telecommuting workers and families. The authors have identified a number of these benefits and
summarized them briefly in list form in this section.
Economic Development Benefits
• Alabama teleworkers reporting to organizations in other states can have access to better
paying and more stable jobs in research, development, design, marketing, and planning that
are often not part of Alabama branches of companies. This could greatly improve
Alabama’s tax base and make it more recession-proof.
• Federal support for transportation projects in Alabama could be less susceptible to
curtailment for failure to meet amendments to the federal Clean Air Act.
• Existing transportation facilities can be better used to support retail, tourism, and
recreation. Highways have to be sized for peak periods and commuting generally results in
far more peaks, called rush hours, than other more profitable uses. This is extremely costly
and inefficient, and partly caused by the fact that businesses are not given tax incentives to
provide employees flextime opportunities and telework resources.
• Housing developments and condominiums have been built as teleworking televillages with
shared broadband telecommunications access. This is a great opportunity for Alabama to
develop lakefront properties, etc.
• Telework can be used to employ workers in other states and fill holes in the Alabama work
force when attracting new industries and businesses to Alabama.
Benefits to Alabama Businesses
• Workers can be more productive with telework and have less absenteeism due to stress,
accidents, and car repairs from accidents during work commutes, etc. Workers may enjoy
flextime as a result of telework and usually give their most productive hours to the
company, which may not be during normal work hours.
• Business can save on office space, office furniture, heating, lighting costs and parking lots.
Businesses often locate in costly urban areas where space is very expensive.
• Workers often use the time they normally waste (dressing for work and commuting) for
productive tasks for the good of their employer.
• Business can avoid employee relocation costs by taking advantage of telework
• Businesses can reduce training costs because telework often reduces employee turnover.
• Business can enjoy greater employee loyalty by allowing workers to telecommute. Many
employees job hop to improve their work location even if they like their work and
• Business can put together the ideal teams of people without regards to geographic and
demographic limitations. The ideal team can be recruited and allowed to work together, no
matter where the members wish to live.
• Businesses can keep running from employee’s homes after bad weather, after a terrorist
attack, after an oil shortage, and after an event that cripples the transportation network.
The Social Benefits of Telework
• Transportation fuel conservation: automobiles and mass transit vehicles consume massive
amounts of fuel for commuting.
• Environmental concerns: commuting produces an enormous amount of pollution, and
pollution abatement costs far more than producing the minimal energy for telecommuting.
Also, it is wasteful for workers to have heated and cooled space at home go empty while
they are at work in space requiring heating and cooling.
• Safety concerns: commuting is dangerous and results in many injuries and deaths in the
USA every day.
• Health concerns: studies have shown that the workplace produces far more stress than
doing the same tasks at home. Also, contagious diseases, which cause employee
absenteeism, like colds, influenza, and pneumonia are often spread in the workplace.
• Potential employment of underutilized segments of the workforce such as retirees, the
disabled, workers in urban areas, geographically remote areas or areas from which
manufacturing industries and farming have moved away.
• Telework reduces pollution: Commuting by auto or mass transit is energy and pollution
intensive. When a worker works at a traditional workplace, both the workplace and the
worker’s home have to be heated/cooled. Telework is the lowest cost route to meeting
Federal Clean Air Standards.
Benefits to Individuals and Families
• Workers can save on commuting costs (cars, fuel, insurance, etc.) and clothing costs
(purchase, cleaning, etc.). Workers can also save on food by eating at home instead of
eating at expensive restaurants for lunches and other meals.
• Working at home allows people to be close to their families and to build ties, even though
they are not constantly communicating.
• Workers can save time, often several hours of wasted time in commuting to work.
• Workers can often stay closer to clients and more in touch by staying at home.
Teleworkers located in the same cities as their clients have less travel.
• Workers can reduce stress and stress-related disease by avoiding some commutes and
achieving better balance between work and family.
The Alabama Telework Initiative
A Concept for ATI: The Alabama Telework Initiative
The Alabama Telework Initiative (ATI) was founded as an activity of the Center for
Telecommunications Education and Research in 2001. ATI was founded to serve as a focal
point for Alabama government organizations, private businesses, civic organizations, and
universities to cooperate in the development of telework practices and technology that will
directly benefit the economic development of Alabama in many measurable ways. ATI will be a
one-stop resource for telework solutions across a broad spectrum of disciplines including the
technology, business, social, and legal aspects of telework.
The focus of ATI will be helping individuals and organizations make good choices for telework
technologies and business practices. ATI will also develop and evaluate new technologies and
business practices for telecommuting, concentrating on the unique Alabama business
environment. Other activities of ATI will include promoting an effective telecommunications
infrastructure to ensure that Alabama is competitive with other states in offering telework
solutions. ATI will suggest public policy alternatives in telecommuting to ensure that all
Alabama citizens are able to take advantage of the economic benefits of telework without being
isolated and are able to leap over the barriers that might otherwise keep them from participating
in certain types of jobs based on demographics. The needs of urban, suburban, rural, minority,
and handicapped individuals will be addressed.
ATI will provide comprehensive resources and knowledgeable consultants to individuals,
businesses, and government agencies seeking telework solutions. Individuals served might be
telecommuting to Alabama business sites or sites outside Alabama and even outside the USA.
Businesses served will include Alabama organizations seeking more effective business practices
as well as organizations outside the state of Alabama seeking to take advantage of the expertise
of talented Alabama citizens. ATI will maintain an updated and current list of telework
consultants. The present version of this list is found in Appendix D of this report.
ATI will work with the appropriate legislative and regulatory agencies in Alabama to promote an
environment in which telecommunications providers will seek to provide Alabama citizens and
businesses with a competitive infrastructure for telework. ATI will also promote and help new
types of real estate development in Alabama. Examples are shared offices, residential real estate
and urban redevelopment projects with broadband wired and wireless infrastructure.
ATI will deliver its services through extensive web resources, a physical facility which provides
space for showcase systems, consultants, a physical library, telephone assistance to Alabama
businesses and individuals, and policy experts to work with the appropriate state, county and
local agencies. ATI will be funded through the sponsorship of participating business,
government, civic, and individual memberships. ATI will also provide a platform for conducting
telework and telecommuting research, both engineering and business, to fill the unmet needs of
Alabama businesses and individuals. Providing a liaison with similar organizations in other
states and globally will be another task for ATI. This will give Alabama access to the most
effective telework best current practices to stimulate economic development. ATI will also
promote the telework capabilities of Alabama at key national and international economic
Today, the economy in Alabama is sensitive to rising energy costs and downturns in
manufacturing. Telework can make the economy more resilient to rising energy costs. More
importantly, telework can make it possible for workers in Alabama to report to organizations
outside of Alabama. This is important because much of Alabama industry is focused on
manufacturing and assembly, and the higher paying, more stable jobs in research, development,
design, marketing, and planning are located elsewhere, in many cases even outside of the USA.
Telework can give Alabamians access to these better paying, more stable jobs and eventually
make it possible for companies to locate these functions in Alabama as critical mass in these
areas is achieved in the Alabama workforce.
UAB has significant resources that have made considerable strides in telemedicine and the
understanding of health care delivery and costs. These resources can now be focused on the
broader opportunity of telework for the benefit of all Alabamians by adding diversity and vitality
to the economy of Alabama. Metro Atlanta (Metro Atlanta…), Colorado (Colorado Telework
Coalition), California (California Department of Personnel), Virginia (Telework!VA) and other
areas have organizations to help businesses better utilize telework. Alabama has a much higher
quality of life to protect than many other states so we must act quickly so that we are not in a
position of offering only temporary remediation of rapidly declining qualify of life. For many
other states and major metropolitan areas in the USA this is the only alternative.
The founders of the ATI believe that telework can boost the productivity and economic vitality
of Alabama more per dollar invested than any other possible infrastructure investment. ATI will
provide the technical, business, policy, and legal experts to ensure that Alabama gets the
maximum results from all resources, public and private, invested in telework and telecommuting.
Targeted Activities for ATI
The targeted activities of ATI will include:
• Helping Alabama businesses and individual take advantage of telework to avoid
transportation commutes within the State of Alabama on a full or part-time basis.
• Helping Alabama individuals find and hold telework jobs in which they report to
organizations outside the State of Alabama. This allows individuals to take advantage of
the high quality of life in Alabama and the low living costs while performing jobs,
particularly high-tech jobs that may not be available yet in Alabama. This also helps
Alabama build a critical mass of workers in high paying job areas.
• Helping Alabama export expertise nationally and globally. For example, Alabama has
medical, metal processing, vehicular, and aerospace expertise that can be “exported”
nationally and globally using telework technology.
• Helping Alabama companies acquire all the talent they need, which may not be presently
available in Alabama, by using telecommuters from other states or countries. This will
remove an important roadblock for companies wishing to relocate to Alabama or expand
their activities in Alabama that cannot be fully supported by the present talent base.
• Working with state and local authorities to assure that telecommuting becomes a primary
commute alternative balanced with cost effective transportation alternatives.
• Supporting telecommuting incentives designed to reduce traffic congestion and to help
Alabama communities comply with Federal Clean Air Act Amendments.
• Encouraging special economic development programs which are enabled by telecommuting
infrastructure. An example of these programs is to work with government agencies and
land developers to stimulate the development of highly desirable, but undeveloped areas of
Alabama (such as lake front property) by providing shared telecommuting broadband
resources which otherwise would not support a highly paid and talented community
because of the barriers of commuting to good jobs. These “televillages” will allow
teleworkers to effectively telecommute to centers of finance, technology development, and
healthcare delivery anywhere in the country or the world.
• Using telecommuting infrastructure to deliver other services such as telemedicine, home
healthcare, telerehabilitation, emergency medical services, teleshopping, distance learning,
narrowcasting of religious services to nursing homes and shut-ins, narrowcasting local
sporting events, and narrowcasting neighborhood meetings.
• Publishing a newsletter to help businesses and individuals take advantage of telework and
• Helping Alabama ad hoc private/government coalitions apply for private and federal
government infrastructure and economic development grants.
• Developing new technologies and business practices, particularly those unique to the needs
• Forming a respected public policy resource center that will help ensure that all Alabama
citizens will be able to benefit from telecommuting opportunities especially those in rural
settings and people of all races and backgrounds. For example, telecommuting
opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged will be promoted in ways which
make their daily lives easier while not isolating them from the workplace
• Making quantitative and qualitative measurements to document how telecommuting
impacts the lives of Alabamians and Alabama’s economy
• Compiling case studies of particular solutions which are beneficial to economic
development and the quality of life in Alabama to be used as benchmarks
• Sharing ideas and resources with similar organizations in other states. The Atlanta
metropolitan area is particularly rich in telecommuting resources (Metro Atlanta
Telecommuting website) and business models because of the experiences which were
initiated during the 2000 Summer Olympics and have been carried forward and developed
• Promoting Alabama telework talent and infrastructure at telework and economic forums
• Promoting the inclusion of telework infrastructure in new residential and commercial
developments, in urban redevelopments, and in rural developments.
• Helping Alabama individuals and business adopt “work anywhere” technology so that
teleworkers can be effective anywhere
• Developing and presenting K-12 educational activities relative to telework and
A Delivery of Services Model for ATI
ATI will deliver its services in the following ways:
• One or more “brick-and-mortar” physical centers will be provided to house
o Faculty and industry consultants (business, engineering, legal, etc.)
o A physical library
o Facilities for face-to-face meetings between center consultants and clients
o A “solutions showcase” to demonstrate successful telecommuting technologies
• Extensive web resources
• Telephone coverage to answer questions regarding telecommuting for individuals and
• A referral list to private resources in Alabama to address technical, business and legal
issues of telecommuting. An Alabama Telework Consultants Directory is found in
Appendix D of this report.
• Organizing telecommuting showcase events, telework road shows, and conferences
within the state of Alabama
• Serving in a consulting role to Alabama transportation agencies to ensure that
telecommuting is considered as an alternative
Initially, the services will be built around existing resources at UAB and the Birmingham
business community, but the participation of other universities and organizations across the State
of Alabama will be welcomed. ATI will eventually be distributed using separate physical
facilities and telecommunications technology so that all of Alabama will be served effectively.
A Business Model for ATI
It is planned that ATI will be supported through state governmental agencies, federal community
service and infrastructure grants, business development organizations, chamber of commerce
organizations, corporate partners who use telecommuting services, corporate partners who
provide telecommuting technology, and donations from foundations and individuals. Unlike
similar telework organizations in other states that have only a few large corporations as partners,
ATI will encourage businesses of all sizes and individuals to join the telework network.
The founders of ATI prefer a government-private partnership for financial support, with most of
the resources and direction of the organization coming from private sources. A representative
sample of the telework organizations of other states and metropolitan areas is shown in Appendix
E of this document. These are listed by type of financial support and structure.
Specific Recommendations for Telework Programs
The recommendations presented here are few and are targeted to the unique things learned from
the teleworking experiences of Charlotte Oliver and Gary Grimes. There are many excellent
resources on telework on the web. Also highly recommended is the book “Managing Telework”
by James J. Niles, Wiley, 1998.
Recommendations for Managing Telework
The following recommendations may prove valuable in managing telework and planning
• Do not select teleworkers only on the basis of job function. Consider motivation,
personality type, and communication skills when selecting teleworkers.
• Provide a “no-fault bail-out strategy” if telework does not accomplish the required goals.
• Regard your office as a place to meet people, develop relationships, brainstorm, bounce
ideas off people, etc. If you are going to work on a report or design something as an
individual contributor, your best place may be at home.
• Do not assume that telework should be full time. For example, some of the most effective
arrangements are teleworking three days a week and meeting with associates in the office
two days a week. Meetings can be scheduled to avoid rush hour driving and high traffic
days, typically Mondays and Fridays. Be sure that your part-time teleworkers also have a
core hour flextime schedule when not teleworking.
• Do not assume that teleworkers should live in the same metropolitan area. Teleworkers can
live almost anywhere and be effective contributors.
• Telework can help avoid rush hour traffic even if workers drive to the office every day for
part of the day.
• The most essential ingredient of any telework program is to measure workers with respect
to previously mutually agreed upon goals Don’t try to guess how many hours your
teleworkers are working per day and what they are doing each minute of the day.
Recommendations for Using Technology in Telework
• Do not assume that all teleworkers will need a telephone and computer. Think about the
specific requirements of each job. Some workers may not need these, while others may
need much more equipment and telecommunications services.
• Consider getting a computer strictly for working at home. If other family members use
your computer you are taking risk with viruses. Even if your email service screens viruses,
other family members may be getting email from non-screened sources and may
contaminate your work computer.
• Have effective virus detection and recovery software on your home computer and use it
often. Use it to screen all attachments to email. Do not open any nonessential attachments.
Remember, most viruses appear to come from people you know.
• Make a copy of files you need from your office file server and write them on a CD-R or
writeable DVD. That way you will not need to download large files, and will be able to
access files from home when the server is down or when your Internet connection is down.
• Do not make the graphics on your company’s basic forms (vouchers, time reporting,
personnel directory, etc.) intensive on the web. Teleworkers with ordinary modem
connections and work-from-everywhere teleworkers with PDA’s will thank you! Graphic-
intensive web forms can take forever to load with ordinary modem connections.
• Consider having your best computer at home. It is not a good idea to have to drive to work
to use a better computer. Note to employers: Do not supply outdated computers for
teleworkers to take home and use. You will be wasting their precious time and risking your
• Remember that home networks do not have the same backup services of typical office
networks managed by IT professionals. Do not forget to backup work daily on Zip disks,
CD-R’s, USB flash memory devices or backup memory devices.
• If you have a broadband connection consider a backup broadband connection. If you have
a cable modem, consider adding ADSL and vice versa. While a four-day outage may not
ruin the life of a typical Internet surfer, the lost productivity of a teleworker may be
profound and more than justify the extra $40/month.
• Provide teleworkers with computers with duplicated hard drives so that they can back up
entire drives including the operating system using Norton Ghost, NovaStor Instant
Recovery, or a similar software product. Consider buying only computers with redundant
hard drives in a RAID-1 configuration. These are available off the shelf from several
computer manufacturers and others. That way, when a hard drive crashes, recovery is
• USB compatible flash memory devices are available with large capacities and very
inexpensively. For example 128 Mbyte devices are available for less than $50. These are
the size of a small pocketknife and are very effective for carrying files between a home
office and a traditional office.
• Power Point presentations can be carried on PDA’s and connected directly to projectors
and display devices to give presentations on the road without carrying a laptop computer.
• Ink jet printers produce great quality output and have the lowest initial cost among color
printers. However, their costs per page and speed are poor compared with compact black
and white laser/LED printers for ordinary text documents. Since a good model of each
type can be purchased for under $300, it often makes sense to have one of each at home
and alternate between them for different print jobs to optimize costs and quality. Flat
screen monitors often leave room for one of each on a desk.
Project Conclusions and Recommendations
• Telework offers great potential to maintain and improve the excellent transportation system
of Alabama through traffic reduction and increased safety.
• Telework fits the Alabama culture, except for possibly a portion of the business
• Alabama has an excellent telecommunications and computer infrastructure to support
• Alabama lags most other states in having a telework incentives program and telework
representation on governmental planning bodies.
• Telework may be the lowest cost method for achieving Federal Clean Air Standards in
Birmingham and other parts of Alabama.
• The Alabama Telework Initiative needs to develop programs to educate managers and
workers on how to deploy and implement telework programs, serve as consultants to
government on transportation, environmental, and economic development issues, and
educate the public through media releases about the possibilities of telework.
• There is a need for a comprehensive study of telework programs in Alabama.
• There is a need for government officials in Alabama to become aware of the possibilities of
telework. If they recommended telework, more businesses and government agencies would
investigate and adopt telework.
• A telework fair in Alabama could give telework the press attention and public awareness
that telework needs to become a factor in improving transportation, reducing pollution, and
helping with Alabama economic development.
This work was sponsored by the University Transportation Center of Alabama (UTCA) with
matching funds provided by the Wallace R. Bunn Chair of Telecommunications at the University
of Alabama at Birmingham. The Wallace R. Bunn Chair of Telecommunications was a gift to
the University of Alabama at Birmingham by the BellSouth Foundation and the Alabama
Imminent Scholars Program.
Ascend Communications, Telecommuting Network Planning Guide: A Resource Guide for
Planners, Executives and Information Managers, Alameda, CA.
Allenby, Brad, and Roitz, Joe, “Telework Technology and Policy,” website,
Analysis of Home-Based Telework Technology Barriers. Final Report on Technology Barriers to
Home-Based Telework. ITAC Webinar16 June 2002.
Berner, Jeff, The Joy of Working from Home: Making a Life While Making a Living Paperback
/ Published 1994
Boyle, Bill, Cable & Wireless Staff are to Work from Home, Computer Weekly, April 27, 1995,
Bredin, Alice, Lagatree, Kirsten M., The Home Office Solution: How to Balance Your
Professional and Personal Lives While Working at Home / Paperback / Published 1998
Cairncross, Frances, et al, “The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is
Changing our Lives,” March 2001.
Cairncross, Frances, “The Company of the Future,” January 2002.
California Department of Personnel: Telework, website,
Caterinicchia, Dan, A Digital Rebirth: Denver Turns an Air Force Ghost Town Into a High-Tech
Mecca website, www.civic.com/civic/articles/2000/feb/civ-cover-02-07-00.asp
Canadian Telework Association, website, http://www.ivc.ca/
Colorado Telework Coalition (CTC) website, http://coloradoteleworks.org/default.htm
Dhir, Amil “Home Networking: The Transition from PC’s to Information Appliances” ECN,
May 15, 2001 Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 106-107.
Department of Defense (DOD) Telework Policy, website,
IDC Government, Telecommuting: New Challenges in Information Security, IDCG Pub. No.:
W1831, March 1995.
Hasbrouck, Stephanie, “Work is What you Do, Not Where You Go, UAB Reporter, March 26,
2002, Vol. 36, No. 20, pp 1-3.
International Telework Association and Council website, http://www.workingfromanywhere.org/
ITAC, the International Telework Association & Council website, http://www.telecommute.org/
Kannell, Michael E., “On the Job Anywhere, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Page G1, April 7,
Kistner, Tony: A Taxing Dilemma for Telework. Network World. 24 December 2001. website,
Kraut, Robert E., Research Recommendations to Facilitate Distributed Work, Technology &.
National Research Council / Paperback /Published 1994
Metro Atlanta Telecommuting Advisory Council (MATAC) website,
Morehead, Nicholas, Virginia adds telecommuting incentive website,
Murray, Katherine, Home but Not Alone: The Work-At-Home, Parents' Handbook / Paperback /
National Transportation Library: Transportation Implications of Telecommuting website,
Nilles, Jack M. “Managing Telework: Strategies for Managing the Virtual Workforce,” John
Wiley and Sons, 1998.
NIST Information Infrastructure Task Force Committee on Applications and Technology, The
Information Infrastructure: Reaching Society's Goals, NIST Special Publication 868.
NIST Information Technology Laboratory bulletins online, Security Issues for Telecommuting,
1997 website, http://www.itl.nist.gov/lab/bulletns/archives/telecomm.htm
Pacific Bell website, http://www.pacbell.com/Lib/TCGuide/tc-12.html - contains Pacific Bell's
four page Telecommuting and Resource Access Security Checklist of questions to consider
when creating a telecommuting security policy.
Pescatore, John, Telecommuting and Security Aspects, Research Activity #9008, IDC
Government, February 9, 1996.
Piskurich, George M., An Organizational Guide to Telecommuting /Paperback / Published 1998
Pratt , Joanne H., Telecommuting: Checking Into It / Published 1996
Robertson, Ken, Work Transformation: Planning and Implementing the New Workplace /
Paperback / Published 1998
Robertson, Robert E. Overview of Challenges Facing Federal Agencies. GAO report on telework
challenges, website, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d011116t.pdf
Robinson, Brian, A New Civic Center , website,
Rosen, Jill, Is telecommuting answer to state woes? Website,
Sakar, Dirya, Massachusetts signs telecommute deal, website,
Schreffler, Eric N. & Elham Shirazi, State of the Commute 2001,
Search Office Space America website, http://www.searchofficespace.com
Seattle Wireless Community Project website, http://www.seattlewireless.org
Shaver, Katherine, “Steering Employees Toward Telework,” The Washington Post Metro
Section B1, Monday October 27, 2003.
Telecommute website, http://www.telecommute.org and http://www.workfromanyplace.com
includes resource links to new stories, organizations, teleworking studies, and telecommuting
Telework Consortium http://www.teleworkconsortium.org
Telework!VA Program (Virginia) website, www.teleworkva.org
Till, Johna Johnson and Tolly, K., The Safety Catch, Data Communications Magazine, May
Tynan, Daniel, “Office,” PC Magazine, March 20, 2002, pp. 106-107.
University of Washington Telework Policy for Professional and Classified Staff Telework
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Internet Firewalls, NIST Special Publication 800-10, December 1994.
List of Documents Produced by this Study
Telework Websites Developed During This Study
This document represents only a small summary of the work completed with the support of the
UTCA and the W.R. Bunn Chair in Telecommunications at the University of Alabama in
Birmingham (UAB). Most of the documentation for this study can be found on the
http://cter.eng.uab.edu/telework Web site.
Web Based Documentation
The following web based documents are available on the above referenced Web sites and
represent the only complete documentation of the work completed during this project:
1. “The Alabama Telework Initiative” by John (Urcun) Tanik, Daniel Sanabria, Ryan Giles,
and Gary Grimes, 54 page report
2. “Telework Examples” by Gary Grimes, 5 page report
3. “Telework Glossary” by Gary Grimes, 2 page report
4. “Interview with Deb Nellis Financial Officer Division of Preventive Medicine University
of Alabama at Birmingham” by Igor Nikolic, 6 page transcript
5. “Work from Anywhere” by Gary Grimes, 2 page report
6. “Concepts for the New Office” by Gary Grimes, 2 page report
Telework Technology Research
1. “Home Networking for Telework” by Ozgur Aktunc, Bunyamin Ozaydin, and Sahin
Bulut. 54 pages
2. “Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)”, by Anil K. Erukala, 11 pages
3. “Secure Socket Layer”, by Satish , 11 pages
4. “Satellite Internet by Chandhrasekar Saravanan”, 11 page report
5. “Satellite Internet by Chandhrasekar Saravanan”, 23 slide Power Point presentation
6. “Telework, Technology and Small Corporations,” by Jousef Muneer, 11 page report
7. “Telework and Technology” by Samuel Puppala, 12 page report
8. “Cable Modem Deployment and Availability in Alabama”, by Hrishikesh (Rick)
Deshpande, 5 page report
9. “Virtual Private Networks” by Rajanikanth Boddupalli, 17 page report
Telework Educational Modules
1. “Integrating Telework into the Alabama K-12 Curriculum.” by William Jett and Gary
Grimes, IEEE style research paper for publication, 12 pages
2. “Telework Short Course for Universities, Governments, and Businesses,” by William Jett,
22 slide Power Point presentation
3. “Benefits and Challenges of Telework,” by William Jett, 4 page report
4. “A Preschool and K-12 Curriculum Development Guide,” by William Jett, 89 page report
Telework Business and Entrepreneurship Research
1. “Economic Incentives for Telework by Igor Nikolic”, 30 page report
2. Alabama Center for Telework Initiatives Vital to Economic Development”, by Gary
Grimes, 21 page report
3. One Corporations Venture into Telework, Flextime, and Virtual Teams,” by Gary Grimes,
4 page report
UTCA/ATI Telework in the Press
1. “UAB to Explore Options for Telecommuting in Alabama,” from Birmingham Business
Journal, March 15, 2002
2. “Work is What You Do, Not Where You Go,” from UAB Reporter, March 4, 2002
• ADSL, SDSL, DSL, etc.: A family of high-speed digital loop carrier systems used by
telephone companies to deliver high-speed Internet access to homes and businesses over
ordinary unsheilded twisted pair (UTP) wires. ADSL is Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber
Loop, DSL is Digital Subscriber Loop, and SDSL is Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Loop.
ADSL is the most common implementation and hence the most commonly used term. In
ADSL the downstream path has higher bandwidth than the upstream path. In SDSL the
paths have equal bandwidth. DSL is a more general term that includes the others.
• Distributed organization: A distributed organization is one that does not reside in a single
building or location. It may be a teleworking organization in which workers work from
home or it may simply be comprised of remote offices to which people report on a regular
basis. In this case, the workers would generally not be considered teleworkers even though
their boss might be in another city, state, or country.
• Hoteling: Hoteling is the sharing of office space in a company location designed for use on
a drop-in basis by employees. Employees either reserve space in advance or drop-in to use
a cubicle equipped with standard office technology like phones, PCs, faxes, printers,
copiers, e-mail, Internet access, etc., on an as-needed basis.
• Knowledge worker: A worker who collects, processes, and manages information rather
than providing manual manipulations on objects.
• Office metering: In this office operation, space is designed for use on a shared, as-needed
basis. The workforce literally checks in and out of this office, using and then leaving
behind its standard business tools and technologies.
• Satellite office: A satellite office is a fully-equipped office location established by the
company, normally in suburban locations, where employees can reserve space and work
one or more days a week closer to their homes. Satellite offices reduce employee commute
times and help ease community traffic congestion. These are typically operated by and for a
single employer. Many companies are opening satellite offices to reduce commute times
for employees and help alleviate city traffic and parking congestion problems.
• Shared office: An office at the traditional workplace that is shared among several
teleworkers. The use of a shared office is called hoteling, as defined above.
• Telework and telecommuting: Telework and telecommuting refer to an employee working
at home rather than at an office location outside the home. This document refers most
often to telework rather than telecommuting because telecommuting implies that the work
is done at one place rather than at a preferred place when, in fact, it is done at the most
advantageous location. This may be remote from a centralized business location.
Telework covers many different situations, from working at home an hour a day to adjust a
schedule around rush hour traffic, to working on another continent from the organization to
which the teleworkers report. The stereotypical model of a teleworker working full time at
home and reporting to a local organization may actually be the least popular and least
effective model for telework and telecommuting. If someone has a 9 to 5 job at a remote
office in a city remote from his or her boss, this is usually considered distributed work, not
• Telework centers: These are centers similar to a satellite office, but the space is shared by
employees from numerous public and private employers. They are normally operated
independently, and employers are charged for the space and services utilized by each
employee per day. These centers are located closer to employees' homes than their regular
• Teleservices: Teleservices can be used to improve access to information and government
services in inner cities and rural areas by providing access via the telephone, establishing
mobile programs, or establishing satellite offices closer to large population
• Touchdown facility: This is a shared or temporary office space that typically provides
more business and communications services than a hotel room
• Virtual mobile office: In this option, workers are equipped with the tools, technology and
skills to perform their jobs from anywhere the person has to be - home, office, in a car or
airplane, in a hotel or airport, or at a customer's location.
• Virtual office: This is a misnomer that refers to a real office in someone’s home. It is
called a virtual office because it is often impossible to determine whether someone is
working at their traditional office or in their home by calling or sending the worker an
• Virtual organization: This is a misnomer that refers to a real organization that is
distributed, or in other words is not contained in a single building or location. The
members of the organization may report to distributed offices and commute to them, or
they may be teleworkers who work in their homes at remote locations.
• Virtual private network (VPN): A virtual private network is network that gives users the
privacy of a private network over private leased lines but is actually implemented over a
public network such as the Internet. In order to achieve privacy, software is present in both
the host and clients to encrypt and decrypt the data, making it unreadable to people outside
the virtual private network. VPNs “tunnel” through the Internet with their encrypted data
streams that only members of the VPN can read.
• Virtual team: Again, a misnomer. A virtual team is a real team that is spread out
geographically, perhaps a group of people working from home in the same city or across
the world toward a common goal. A teleworker may be a member of a number of virtual
teams, each with a different goal.
• Work-from-anywhere: A concept that workers can work from anywhere using laptop
computers, cell phones, PDA’s, etc. A worker can thus work from an airport, an airplane, a
hotel room, a home, a car, or anywhere.
• Work/life issues: A relatively recent human resources term that includes flextime and
(from Appendix II to ITAC Testimony to MD Senate, April 3, 2000
• Telework saves businesses in the USA $441 billion annually. (Morehead)
• Employee satisfaction and productivity increase 10% to 30% with telecommuting. (Rosen)
• 19.6 million teleworked in Q3 1999 (ITAC)
• 8.5 million teleworked in 1995 (FIND/SVP)
• 137 million teleworkers by 2003 worldwide (Gartner Group)
• 9% of US workers telework; 41% believe their jobs are “teleworkable.” (Rutgers U.
• In the USA, if 10% of the nation’s workforce telecommuted one day per week, it would
eliminate 24.4 million miles of travel.
• 17% of Finns telework. (www.eto.org.uk/eustats )
• AT&T teleworkers work five more hours at home than AT&T office workers (Chicago
• JDEdwards teleworkers are 20-25% more productive then JDE office workers (Chicago
• A 40 minute commute equals eight working weeks every year (Colorado Telework
• $8,000 per worker in office space savings can be saved yearly (Institute Distributed Work)
• Manager/staff ratio of virtual organization 1:40 ratio versus. 1:4 of traditional (Fort
• Telework can cut corporate real estate costs by 25-90% (PC World)
• AmEx teleworkers produced 43% more business than office workers (Colorado Telework
• Compaq productivity increases ranged from 15-45% (Colorado Telework Coalition)
• IBM US reduced real estate costs by 40-60% (Telecommuting Review)
• AT&T saves $3,000 per teleworker annually (ITAC/AT&T)
• Greater than 65% of teleworkers are employed by firms with less than 100 employees
• Greater than 22% of teleworkers are employed by firms with greater than 1000 employees
• 53% of teleworkers say the ability to work at home is important to their employment choice
• Teleworkers drive 18 miles to work (ITAC, 1999)
• Teleworkers save 52.9 minutes of commute time each workday (ITAC, 1999)
• Employers can save 63% of absenteeism costs by employing teleworkers (ITAC, 1999)
• Teleworkers typically work one-two days per week (5.5/mth) from home (ITAC, 1999)
• 45% of teleworkers have a separate home office space (ITAC, 1999)
• $441 billion potential US employer teleworker savings from reduced absenteeism and
recruiting costs, and from more productivity (ITAC, 1999)
• 67% of teleworkers are married or from couple households (ITAC, 1999)
• Teleworker ages: 17%, 18-29 Yrs; 60%, 30-49 Yrs; 22%, 50-64 Yrs. (ITAC, 1999)
• Teleworker income: 15% earn <$20,000; 9% earn >$100,000; 60% earn $20-$80,000;
mean of $44,000 (ITAC, 1999)
• Teleworkers work: 38% of time at their computer, 17% on the phone, 24% reading,
research & analysis, 9% in face-to-face meetings. (ITAC, 1999)
• 40% of teleworkers can schedule multiple personal tasks and errands on the same day that
they work from home (ITAC, 1999)
• 26% of teleworkers work before or after hours so they can meet personal tasks and errands
• Teleworkers drive 9.3 miles to taxi kids and run errands (ITAC, 1999)
• Ford, Delta and Intel provided computers to their 512,000 employees to create a
competitively superior workforce. (www.zdnet.com)
• Unisys Outsourcing, with 100% of employees teleworking, reduced office space by 90% or
$1 million annually. (MWCOG, 9/99)
Directory of Alabama Telework Consultants
Name Affiliation Phone Interest
Baird, Debra Ph.D. Stillman College 205-366-8975 General, Training
Professor and Chair Department of Education
P.O. Box 1430
3600 Stillman Blvd.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403
Marcie H. Battles University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-3147 General, Training
MSEE 1530 3 Avenue South – BEC 256
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Callahan, Dale, PhD, PE University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8440 General
Assistant Professor 1530 3 Avenue South –BEC 256
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Conner, David A. PhD, PE University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8440 Management Issues
Professor Emeritus and 1530 3 Avenue South –BEC 256 Employee Evaluation
Chair Emeritus Birmingham, AL 35294-4461 Policy, Training
Crawford, Martin, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8461 General
Professor Emeritus 1530 3 Avenue South –BEC 356
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Feldman, Dale, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8426 Telemedicine for Wound care
Associate Professor School of Engineering – HOEN 360
1076 13 Street South
Birmingham, AL 35294-4440
Goldman, Jay DSc University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-0027 General
Professor and Dean School of Engineering – HOEN 310
Emeritus 1076 20 Street South
Birmingham, AL: 35294
Grimes, Gary, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-3147 General
Professor 1530 3 Avenue South –BEC 256
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Jovanov, Emil University of Alabama in Huntsville 256-824-5024 Training
Professor 213 EB General
Huntsville, AL 35899
Segner, Edmund, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-0513 Structural Engr. Problems
Professor Emeritus 701 20 St. South AB 770 Admin. Consult in Higher Ed.
Birmingham, AL 35294 Research Adm. Issues
Tanik, Murat, PhD University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8440 Component Based Software
Professor 1530 3 Avenue South – BEC 261 Engineering
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Vaughn, Gregg L. PhD, PE University of Alabama at Birmingham 205-934-8440 Network Security
Professor and Chair 1530 3 Avenue South – BEC 253 Network Software
Birmingham, AL 35294-4461
Telework and Telecommuting Organizations in Other States
Other states have organizations that promote telework and help employers, businesses, and
individuals with various issues. These include private organizations that have
government/private partners, university based organizations with government support and
industry partners, and branches of state governments.
Examples are as follows:
Private organizations with state, county, and local government participation and private
sector members with civic and business group participation:
• Metro Atlanta Telework Advisory Council (MATAC) http://www.matac.org/index.html
• Colorado Telework Coalition http://coloradoteleworks.org/
• Telecommute America (California Style) http://www.svi.org/telework/
University based programs with state/county/local government and private support:
• Washington State University Energy Program Telework Center
• University of California Davis Telecommuting and Travel Research Program
Public/private partnerships include:
• Telework!VA (Virginia) is a $3 million partnership administered by the Virginia
Department of Rail and Public Transportation (www.drpt.state.va.us) through the
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (www.mwcog.org).
State government offices include:
• California Department of Personnel Administration Telework Office