Negatives of working in the Washington D.C. area like horrific traffic jams and high gas prices have helped earn the city a designation as "Best City for Teleworking," according to the results of a survey released Thursday.
The survey, conducted by the Intel Corp. and research firm Sperling's BestPlaces, chalked up the potential benefits of teleworking and matched them with cities across the U.S. Washington came in first in the very large metro area category, followed by Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.
"Teleworking is different from telecommuting," said William Giles, an Intel spokesman. "Teleworking means being able to work wherever you are and whenever you want. Telecommuting was a way to avoid going into the office."
Intel expects the teleworking phenomenon to grow. It's already off to a good start with the thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots in use in the U.S. Giles noted that Intel, which has been the prime mover behind Wi-Fi, plans to offer a WiMAX card later this year for computers equipped with Intel's Centrino Duo Mobile Technology. That development will spread the wide-area wireless technology further and, with it, give teleworking another boost.
"Ultimately you will want to be able to detect the best wireless available wherever you are -- Wi-Fi, WiMAX or 3G," said Giles, who added that the newer wireless technologies enable users to use more robust applications such as Powerpoint and the new collaborative software tools. He said Intel, with its network of facilities throughout the country and the world, has been in the forefront of the teleworking experience. Another example he cited was Intel's deal with VoIP provider Skype, whereby 10 people can hook up in conference calling.
Washington fits the bill for extensive teleworking, Giles said. In addition to long commuting times and high fuel costs, which keep people out of the office, the nation's capital has a high percentage of white collar workers with desk jobs, which lend themselves to distance work.
He also cited the federal government's Continuity of Operations Program (COP), which calls for government agencies to be able to continue operating in emergencies and disasters; teleworking employees can help ensure that operations continue in dire circumstances.
The Intel-Sperling study said a lone Washington worker teleworking one day a week would result in an annual savings of $488 in transportation and $2,708 in time.
Teleworking cities in the large metro category were led by San Jose, followed by Baltimore, Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis In the medium metro area category, the Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Conn., area placed first. The small metro area list was topped by Boulder, Colo.