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Blog // Connect Michigan

Connected Nation Staff on the Internet Advisor

By Wil Payton

Connect Michigan recently released a report on Teleworking in Michigan, and Chris McGovern, manager of research development for Connected Nation, was interviewed January 14 on the WJR-760 Internet Advisor program to provide some additional insight.

Below is a portion of the dialogue from the interview:

Chris: One in 5 Michiganders work from home at least part of the time. This translated to about a quarter of a million Michigan employees who say they are working from home on occasion. With unemployment rates being so high and with businesses working so hard to keep qualified workers, teleworking becomes a viable alternative.

Host: This was brought up on the program earlier we were discussing the recent Detroit Auto Show and the fact that the state was now experiencing a shortage of engineers and IT professionals.

Chris: With teleworking it allows people to stay connected with their home communities. If there was a great job opportunity in Detroit, for example, then a person wouldn’t have to uproot their family and move them across the state or across country in order to take advantage of that job. At the same token, business are able to bring in some of the best minds from anywhere in the nation or, for that matter, anywhere from around the world. They are not restricted to the job pool that’s right around them.  Teleworking benefits both the workers and the businesses.

Host: And the teleworkers tend to be a bit more satisfied with their job because they can do it from home as opposed to always having to always go in and we are also finding that the greatest growth is with some of our more productive senior citizens over the age of 55.

Chris: Right. The biggest group that we saw between 2010 and 2011 is among those workers who are 55 and older…

Host: Go Gray!!!

Chris: It’s folks taking advantage of those opportunities maybe to work from home all the time, or even myself. We got some snow the other day so I worked from my home and I was able to stay productive without going out and getting into all the weather and everything.

Host: We constantly hear from people in outstate Michigan who say there is still not enough broadband reaching into those areas which are beautiful areas that people want to continue living in but they really can’t get a good enough broadband signal to be really productive in what they want to do.

Chris: Availability is definitely an issue, particularly in the rural areas. But when you look at the statewide broadband maps, we are seeing more and more state coverage. I want to say around 95% of households in the state have broadband available to them.  And so what we are seeing at Connect Michigan is that you are really getting a transition with the people who are saying that availability is the biggest issue to those who are now saying that either the price is an issue—say with satellite or some of those connections that are more expensive in far out areas—or those people who are saying that they are really not interested because they don’t see the benefit to them. The way we see it is that broadband is a tool and just like any other tool, if you get a hammer and you don’t know how to use it you are not going to value it.

To read Teleworking in Michigan – Empowering Workers Through Broadband

click here

To hear the entire podcast click here and be sure to follow Connect Michigan on Facebook and Twitter for more articles on how technology impacts your life!


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