By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved an amendment that would establish a special commission on telecommuting to evaluate and study the impact of telecommuting on state workers. The commission, required to submit its report by December 1, 2021, would look at the costs and potential cost savings associated with working remotely; the IT requirements needed to allow remote work; the effect of remote work on employee productivity, recruitment and retention; and the environmental impact of telecommuting.

“While we continue to telecommute, practice social distancing, and do everything that we are able to stop the spread of this deadly virus, it is time that we think about what our lives will look like once we are on the other side of this insidious pandemic,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Walter Timilty (D-Milton.)

Timilty noted that studies illustrate that telecommuting boosts employee morale, encourages a better work-life balance, reduces absenteeism, lowers turnover rate, enhances health of workers, improves the environment and improves productivity.

“Telecommuting can increase employee diversity,” continued Timilty. “Having to commute to an office space can limit applicant pools to a certain region. With diversity of location also comes the opportunity for diversity of experience and skillset, qualities sought for a robust team of employees. Additionally, telecommuting offers organizations an opportunity to expand its inclusion. Many parents or older adults seek the flexibility of telecommuting in order to care for their children or aging family members.”

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