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VA Congressman Pushes For Teleworking Legislation

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Car-shaped piñatas served as stress-relievers at Tuesday’s Great Commuter Stress Out. The event was meant to help spread awareness about commuters’ teleworking options.
Jonathan Wilson
Car-shaped piñatas served as stress-relievers at Tuesday’s Great Commuter Stress Out. The event was meant to help spread awareness about commuters’ teleworking options.

By Jonathan Wilson

A Congressman from Northern Virginia says the solution to the region's traffic problems could be eliminating the distinction between home and office for thousands of government workers.

Congressman Gerry Connolly says the biggest obstacles for the movement, now commonly called teleworking, are managers who think working from home means watching soap operas.

"Every study about teleworking shows just the opposite that, in fact, people set aside concentrated periods of time to work. They're more productive. Their morale is higher," Connolly says.

Connolly is cosponsoring the Teleworking Improvement Act which would push federal agencies to have 20 percent of their workforce teleworking by 2015.

Connolly says this would take five percent of cars off local highways, easing congestion and reducing pollution.

A senior adviser at the General Services Administration, the independent agency charged with helping to manage and support federal agencies, Jeff Sawislak, says the effect would be similar to what drivers see in the month of August, when many people go on vacation and traffic runs more smoothly.

"If we could get those people to telework for the rest of the year it would do amazing things for traffic in this area," says Sawislak.

According to Sawislak, 50 percent of General Services Administration employees currently work from home.

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