I haven't rambled about how good telecommuting is for the ol' Earth in a while, because it's just so intuitively obvious to the casual observer. But Computerworld notes companies with big telecommuting programs in a series about green IT. Discovery Communications comes out high on their list, in part because their green efforts fit in with their overall brand so well (walking the talk and all that jazz, dontcha know). They're doing things like keeping their server rooms a few degrees warmer, doing some other cool power management stuff, and doing some simple things to keep staffers off the road as much as possible. From the article:
IT issues a laptop to every one of its 3,619 employees who require a computer and provides secure remote access and voice-over-IP capabilities. All laptops have power management capabilities enabled, and users are encouraged to turn off the computers at the end of the day. "Thirty percent of the staff telecommutes at least one day a week," says Kline.
In 2004, Discovery installed teleconferencing systems to cut down on business travel. "Teleconferencing has a huge ROI for us because it's a cheaper use of people's time," says Kline.
If I had to pick, I would say that getting telecommuting going is good, but ubiquitous videoconferencing is even better from a making work efficient for everyone who works for you. We all waste so much time physically moving in and out of meetings. Being able to pop into a meeting in a matter of seconds rather than having to shuffle down to the conference room, wait for everyone else to show up, run back out for coffee and copies, sit back down, and so on and so on -- well, you can see why it's better. Not only do you save time, but using good meeting tools you can eliminate the need to make copies of agendas and other materials -- everyone has a digital copy on his or her desktop, and no trees are harmed in the making of that particular meeting.
Plus if everyone is virtual in the meeting then it's no longer important who is virtual from their desk down the hall and who is virtual from their back patio. It levels the playing field. How nice.