Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Internal Google Study Shows Telecommuting Works - No Need For Buses

Posted by Tom Foremski - January 23, 2014

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From left, Doug MacMillan, reporter for Bloomberg BusinessWeek (WSJ today); Melissa Daimler, Head of Organizational Effectiveness at Twitter; Rowan Trollope, head of Cisco's Collaboration Technology Group; and Todd Carlisle, Director of Staffing at Google.

It's good to see USA Today, New York Times, and even our own SF Chronicle getting into the story on the widening schism between tech workers and their neighbors in San Francisco. 

Yesterday, Room 400 in City Hall, was at the epicenter of this issue as Google and other tech companies battled citizens protesting their use of public bus stops. 

Google was quick to claim that its buses greatly reduced road congestion and sent a list of talking points to its SF workers to make sure transportation officials understood the green, community-wide benefit of its 100-miles long transportation network.

It claimed that the alternative was thousands of extra cars on the roads causing far more congestion than its buses.

Google neglected to mention that a far greener solution already exists: telecommuting. The Internet eliminates the need for buses altogether.

Telecommuting has made great progress in recent years as HDTV, and collaborative video tools such as Google Hangouts, make working remotely seem as if you are in the office.

Todd Carlisle, Google's head of staffing, has repeatedly said, "There is no difference in productivity."

At an Inforum event at the Commonwealth Club last summer, (above) Carlisle said Google had studied all the data and found no difference in the performance of teams working remotely, and teams inside the Googleplex.

Goole's investigation into the productivity of its workers has not been released publicly because it likely contains sensitive information. But Carlisle has been adamant about the conclusion.

Why has Google kept this vital information away from city officials? Has the city requested Google use telecommuting? If so, what was the objection? If it doesn't affect productivity then Google should scale-back this divisive program.

It's the smoking gun in this entire debate.

Telecommuting would stop dead the harmful community conflict overnight with no harm done to Google. Why does Google insist on busing workers?

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City Hall Room 400: Is There Room For Google Buses? -SVW

San Francisco slaps a tiny tax on tech commuter buses - USA Today.

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