216023 Teleworking: Timely for tobacco control?

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 4:30 PM - 4:50 PM

Eileen Eisen-Cohen, PhD , Maricopa County Tobacco Use Prevention Program, Maricopa County Department of Public Health, Phoenix, AZ
Maricopa County faces a federal mandate to reduce particulate pollution or lose millions of dollars in federal highway funds. In response to a County-wide call to reduce particulate matter, employees were encouraged to drive less and reduce the number of trips made in a car. Simultaneously, program revenue declined resulting in a 50% budget cut. Maricopa County Tobacco Use Prevention Program (MACTUPP) initiated a teleworking program that reduced costs by almost $90,000 its first year and reduced staff commuting an average of 1000 hours a month.

Utilizing remote access technology, field staff, equipped with laptop computers and a virtual private network (VPN) key, gave up their office or cubicle in exchange for less driving and higher morale. Employee surveys found an 88% increase in job satisfaction, while 75% of staff found telecommuting more successful than anticipated, and 81% changed their travel mode on days they did commute to the office (e.g. light rail, bus, or carpool). The only cost incurred to operationalize this program was the price of buying the VPN keys (less than $2,000).

This program can easily be replicated and this pilot is currently being considered department-wide. It retains employees while directing funding to programs and services. This model lessens dependence and obligation on traditional work-spaces and directly benefits the environment.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Administration, management, leadership
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
1. Learn how to transform a community education program with a virtual office 2. Implement a greener, more environmentally protective program 3. Re-tool programming and evaluation systems for telecommuting 4. Create a budget to save program services and staff in lean economic times

Keywords: Funding, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I administer this program and conducted the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.