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Telecommuting Seen as Relief for Harried Workers With PM-The ’90s-Mass Transport

November 7, 1989

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The best way to avoid traffic jams is to keep out of automobiles - a luxury more employees will enjoy in the 1990s as they use computers and phones to ″telecommute″ while working at home.

″The communications revolution is going to have a profound effect on transportation,″ said Montreal futurist Louis D’Amore. ″We’re going to be seeing all sorts of people gainfully employed through telecommuting. ″

Telecommuting is one of the few developments that might have ″significant impact″ in reducing traffic congestion in the 1990s, and also can stem air pollution, said John Seymour, vice president of Southern California business sales for Pacific Bell.

Less than 1,000 of Pacific Bell’s 65,000 employees now work on computers at home, but the number will rise to about 5,000 telecommuters by the mid- to late 1990s, Seymour said.

Los Angeles County plans to make 2,000 of its employees telecommuters within two years, and other large employers are considering the possibility, he added.

Seymour said telecommuting ″is just plain good business.″

″When you get the employee off the freeway, they tend to have much higher morale, are happier and, frankly, are much more oriented toward doing their work in a productive way,″ he said. ″If you have a new mother, she is able to do the job and meet the demands of being a mother.″

Telecommuting means less office space is needed for employees. Seymour also said a single manager can supervise more telecommuters because employees see working at home ″as a real advantage to themselves, and generally do higher quality work and more work.″

Seymour said telecommuting that allows people to shop, bank and trade stock from home ″is just getting started.″

Lockheed, Boeing and General Dynamics said recently they are saving $5 million annually on a joint project by having employees meet via a cross- country computer network.

Seymour recently used video teleconferencing to meet with colleagues in San Francisco, allowing him to avoid flying back and forth from Los Angeles.

″I spent two hours for a two-hour meeting instead of seven hours,″ he said.

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