Monday, January 22, 2007

Close enough for government work

The U.S. Patent Office has successfully made the case for reimbursing remote workers for their high-speed internet costs, according to this editorial on CNET today. This is pretty cool -- a big government agency is setting a goal of having a significant portion of its workforce not driving the DC-Beltway:

The agency believes that this program will improve work force recruitment and retention, reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the Washington, D.C., area, and deliver substantial cost savings. It expects to have 3,300 employees participating in this program by 2011.

They're putting their money where their federal mouth is by making either 50% or 100% of the employee's broadband costs fully reimbursable. Employees will have to submit receipts and they also need to characterize their broadband use by how much time they spend actually working online. This is a meaningful incentive, and a strong sign to their employees that a relatively stodgy government agency is genuinely, really earnest in its support of remote workers.

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