As remote work becomes more viable, local governments taking notice
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

In Boston and other coastal tech hubs, the booming startup culture has been a boon when it comes to amping up the economy and attracting new residents, but something of a burden where factors like traffic and mass transit are concerned. As a result, leaders in Massachusetts have come up with a potential solution to some of their traffic woes: A “work-from home” credit for businesses that embrace remote work and telecommuting.

While not the first state to explore such tactics to economic growing pains, the new legislation is unique in it’s blanket approach, granting businesses a $2,000 tax break for each employee who begins telecommuting after New Year’s Day 2020. Although telecommuting is on the rise nationally, only roughly 4.7 percent of the Massachusetts workforce telecommutes full time. At the same time, Boston enjoys the worst rush hour traffic in the nation, making proposals like the remote work credit a longshot worth exploring.

In Vermont, the situation is somewhat flipped — as is their legislation looking to promote remote work. The state suffers from a declining and fast-aging population (among the top states in the country for both stats), as well as a relatively stagnant tech industry, plus lots of space for new residents. In a bill that Governor Phil Scott signed into law earlier this year, remote workers who relocate to Vermont from out-of-state could be eligible for up to $10,000 in moving costs to help bring younger, more tech-savvy talent into the state’s workforce.

To qualify for the subsidies in Vermont, a person must work primarily from a Vermont home office or co-working space and be employed full-time by a company that is based outside the state.

The phenomenon of government-promoted remote work initiatives is hardly relegated to the Northeast, or even just the United States, for that matter.

The tiny island of Arranmore off the northwest coast of Ireland made headlinesrecently by revamping the local broadband connectivity and sending out an open letter to residents in locales like New York City selling the island as an ideal residence for telecommuters.

On the Arranmore Island Community Council Facebook page, the chambers touted the newly installed broadband claiming it delivered “connectivity that is as good as any office in New York City.”

“Your commute, no matter where you are, will only ever be five minutes,” the post goes on to state. ”You’ll have the best diving in Ireland on your doorstep, and seafood to rival the tastiest of Manhattan Clam Chowders.”

Even Tokyo, home to the world’s most extensive public transport system, is testing out a trial remote work policy ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, wherein half a million daily commuters will be asked to work remotely to help the city gauge solutions to its already-crowded subways over a two-week span.

Whether or not any of these programs succeeds hinges on the ability of next-generation communication tools, among other business-critical applications, to perform in locations outside of the main office. If remote workers can’t access business networks from the comfort of the Green Mountains or the rugged Irish coast, for instance, they’ll have a hard time justifying the relocation.

But the real challenge hingest on visibility into network performance, and the ability for enterprise IT to ensure that issues affecting remote workers don’t happen in isolation. This calls for teams to leverage monitoring solutions that can give IT a “local perspective” into issues that take place at the edge of the network, or in network environments they don’t own or control outright, namely the cloud.

To ensure your company isn’t hopping on the remote work bandwagon prematurely, network teams need to employ comprehensive monitoring solutions that can bridge the physical and digital gaps between teams and provide a clear visual into performance.


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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: work from home , vermont , tokyo , telecommuting , remote work , remote office , network monitoring , network performance monitoring , Boston