- Eighty percent of JetBlue's reservation agents work from home. And as the airline just passed its six-year anniversary of allowing its agents to telecommute, the company reports that the move has not only saved them money and expensive office space... it's also increased productivity.
Six year ago, when the company first got off the ground and telecommuting was first offered to the reservation agents, JetBlue had 40 agents, seven supervisors and four support staff people. Today, there are 1,500 agents and 1,200 of them have opted to telecommute.
Having so many workers telecommuting gives the company the flexibility it needs to compete in what can be a turbulent industry. Miller says it's much easier to ask workers to jump on their computers when the company needs extra agents manning the phones and dealing with a flood of customer calls than it would be to ask them to jump in their cars and head out to the office.
Gartner, Inc., an industry analyst firm, reports that this commingling of roles will continue to increase this year.
A January report out of Gartner shows that analysts there expect telecommuting, buoyed by concerns about fuel consumption and the growing availability of broadband Internet access at home, will increase by 9 percent this year. That growth rate is predicted to be 8 percent between 2004 and 2008.
[Dave Foster, a research analyst with the Aberdeen Group] says this kind of flexible work arrangement is opening up a whole new pool of available talent for the company. ''They might be attracting people who might not want to go to an office -- a whole new market of people who would like to telecommute.''
And Miller says that's exactly what's happening.
''It was a popular and successful program because we had a lot of mothers who wanted to get back in the workforce but didn't particularly want to leave home,'' she adds. ''It's really worked for us.''
Working from anywhere
Yesterday Paul Haggis, writer-director of Crash, won Oscars for best original screenplay and best picture. His is another example to add to the long and growing list of things that can be done almost anywhere. Haggis suffered a heart attack while filming Crash. While he was getting well he decided against hiring a fill-in (after all this was his baby). He had monitors brought into his hospital room and finished directing his film from his bed. What was perhaps even more impressive is that he did it while whacked out on medication. Related: Telecollege (?) gets a boost And a milestone for a telecommuting-friendly company: