Resolving, if possible, the traffic chaos that has gripped the greater metropolitan area of San Jose (GAM) is the aim behind a number of state institutions turning to telecommuting (teletrabajo in Spanish) and flexible work hours.
Daily, some 300,000 vehicles enter the GAM. Of these, some 60,000 used the Circunvalacion (ring road). And most will tell that is just too much traffic for an antiquated and poorly maintained roads infrastructure.
Drivers to and from work or getting to and from an appointment have their time and money stolen in needlessly burning expensive fuel, and arriving late, for example.
Working from home or flexible work hours would not only reduce traffic congestion, would prevent personal wear and tear and be more productive.
A study by the Universidad Nacional estimates that in 2009, the country lost some US$590 million in production solely attributable to traffic congestion.
The Ministry of Health, for example announced on June 21 the adoption of a work from home (telecommuting) program. The Defensoría de los Habitantes (Ombudsman’s office) will begin a pilot program in August for its workers to telecommute or in some cases, opt for flexible work hours, according to Ombudsman Montserrat Solano.
The Contraloría General de la República (CGR) – Comptroller’s office – has had the practice of flexible work hours and telecommuting for some 2 years. Of its 677 employees, 230 start their day at 6:00am or 10:00am and 122 work from home, according to Marieal Azofeifa, press director at the CGR.
So, the question is why aren’t more state institutions and private businesses adopting either or both of these measures?