17 Comments

Summary:

Gasoline approaching $4 per gallon in the USA. Airlines and the TSA putting new limits on carry-on luggage. Baggage-handling disasters. Concerns over the environmental impact of airplanes. It seems as if every day there’s a new reason out there not to travel – and that’s not even counting the efficiency benefits of a schedule without travel time.

Gasoline approaching $4 per gallon in the USA. Airlines and the TSA putting new limits on carry-on luggage. Baggage-handling disasters. Concerns over the environmental impact of airplanes. It seems as if every day there’s a new reason out there not to travel – and that’s not even counting the efficiency benefits of a schedule without travel time.

But meanwhile, some web workers are attracted to a lifestyle that lets them work anywhere – which means traveling from place to place. Others of us have commitments that require attending meetings or conferences in far-away cities. And of course there are plenty of office-based web workers who commute in the physical, rather than the tele-, sense.How are you reconciling these conflicting pressures in your own web work? Is the increasing cost and difficulty of long-distance travel causing you to postpone or cancel trips? What are you doing to replace the benefits of being there in person? Success stories – or horror stories – are welcome in the comments.

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  1. itsjustelise Thursday, May 8, 2008

    I know that my organization is about to start more stringent travel rules. I’m all for that because I think we travel needlessly most of the time. We have enough video teleconference technology, but no one uses it. People insist on hopping in a vehicle and going to the site. I think that’s insane and a waste of resources personally.

  2. I work for a large company and will have to disagree. Though I’ve been the biggest proponent of virtual communication tools such as h.320 video telecom, WebEX types of tools, etc… The reality is that personal interactions which build strong relationships, project/task understanding, buy-in, etc… is the BEST way for effective communication. However, I will have to back up and say that “a communications MIX” is best.

  3. I’m happy to say that my company “gets it” with regard to commuting or the elimination thereof, and in adopting alternate forms of collaboration and networking — including meetings in Second Life. I used to have an office on either coast and flew between them regularly, but was grounded (along with most of the other non-executives) in 2001 when the economy went south.

    I used to love to travel, but the whole process has just become so hateful that it requires a crowbar and a huge incentive to get me farther than driving distance any more.

  4. My business partner and I have a small software development firm (Esomnie Software) with an office about 17 miles from my home. While the cost of gas hasn’t impacted travel too see clients, it has caused me to work from home more often of late. Today is my second day this week. Normally, saving the commute time has been the primary motivator to work from home. But the cost of gas has also begun to play into the decision making.

  5. “Gasoline approaching $4 per gallon in the USA” – consider yourself lucky, its averaging about £1.11 per litre in the UK at the moment, which is approx $8.19* per US Gallon! Admittedly average commuting distances are probably shorter here, but that’s still over double the cost per gallon! How come fuel is so cheap in the US? Less tax on it?

    * (1.11*3.785*1.95)

  6. Mike Gunderloy Friday, May 9, 2008

    @Paul: Yes, that’s why I was careful to specify “in the USA” – I’m well aware that Americans are conditioned to expect gas at a price that looks incredibly cheap to the rest of the world. Taxes are a big part of the difference; in the UK you pay on the order of $5 per gallon in excise & VAT, while in the US the average tax (it varies by state) is around 50 cents per gallon.

  7. Interesting to read this.. I stayed home today and plan on doing more in the future. It frustrating to travel into work (though my commute is not that long) when I only talk to people over the phone and have little interaction with coworkers. I agree that face to face interaction with coworkers is vital to good relationships. But I could easly see compacting the amount of time spent on campus in favor of a “blended” solution. I am soon going to be launching out on my own and then I will be home entirely. I am looking forward to the gas savings.

  8. Great article! At eLearningZoom.com, we are helping customers everyday to leverage the Internet to work at home or anytime anywhere through our online training portal and web meeting.

    Why paying high gasoline costs with all the headaches in traffic jams?

    http://www.eLearningZoom.com

  9. Scott Blitstein Friday, May 9, 2008

    My office is just minutes from my home so it isn’t really affecting how I often I go in.

    What is changing is the number of outsourced service call offers we are passing on now that we aren’t willing to travel as far. We used to take quite a few “fill in” jobs but are now much more conscious of how much we need to recover to make them worthwhile.

    SB

  10. Victor Vogelpoel Sunday, May 11, 2008

    For a Dutch guy like me, those prices are heaven. In the Netherlands, we pay EUR 1.54 per liter which calculates to $9.03 per gallon… A very large part of this price are taxes.
    Fortunately enough, I drive a company car and have a company gasoline card.

    My partner has her own (little) car, but she uses mine whenever possible.

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