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Free telework spots offered temporarily

September 27, 2005|By DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

For a limited time, federal employees tired of long commutes and soaring gas prices can telecommute for free at the Hagerstown Telework Center as part of an initiative by the federal Government Services Administration.

"They just need to call up and we'll schedule them in," said Michael Pellegrino, director of the Hagerstown Telework Center. "They would, obviously, need the OK from their supervisor, but they can call us from our main number."

The Hagerstown center is one of 14 within the Washington metropolitan area funded by the GSA, which covers the operational costs for the telework center and bills government agencies based on the number of days their employees work from the center. Through Dec. 31, federal agencies can send their workers to the telework center for free. Use of the center normally costs $25 per day, Pellegrino said.

Pellegrino said about 22 federal workers from 15 agencies telecommute from the center at least one day a week. The center is equipped with 25 work stations and includes Internet access, printing and fax machines, voice-mail service and a conference room.

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GSA spokeswoman Viki Reath said the administration made the offer in the face of rising concerns about gas prices, although it is too early to tell how many government agencies will take advantage of the opportunity.

Pellegrino said he believes more and more companies, in the private and public sectors, will begin to explore options such as telecommuting as gas prices climb and congestion issues intensify, particularly along Interstates 70 and 81.

The center is in the Elizabeth Hager Center, 14 N. Potomac St., Suite 200, Hagerstown. For more information, call the center at 301-745-5600 or visit www.wc-link.org/telework.

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