I’ve seen a few articles promoting telecommuting in Minnesota since Best Buy and Yahoo pulled in the reins on telecommuting in their offices. Over the weekend I noticed another vote for telecommuting from Brent Christensen at the Minnesota Telecom Alliance in the Minneapolis Star Tribune…
Today it’s more and more common for a Twin Cities company to employ talented people from throughout the state who do their work from home, taking advantage of the growing rural broadband network that makes the remote workstation a reality in every corner of Minnesota. Rural communities and regional centers — once concerned about a “brain drain” in which talented, educated young people were moving away, often to the metro area, seeking jobs — are now seeing the opposite trend, as Minnesotans who want the pace of a Greater Minnesota lifestyle can often depart the city and the suburbs, and take their good jobs with them.
It’s that trend that is fueling efforts like eWorkPlace, a Minnesota Department of Transportation initiative designed to facilitate more telecommuting throughout the state. Scientists are not needed to prove that the infrastructure for providing high-speed Internet service throughout Greater Minnesota is far less costly than maintenance of our network of highways. And more people working from home means less traffic, fewer emissions and less-frequent need for road construction.
From the start of this trend, the state’s telecommunications providers have worked with employers and communities to provide and continually upgrade the state’s communications network, providing the high-speed, high-capacity and reliable broadband Internet that is increasingly in demand. The biggest names in the Internet world, like Google, have even come to Minnesota in the past year for free workshops to help hundreds of the state’s small businesses establish a Web presence and take their operations worldwide.