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12/20/2005
03:55 PM
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Workers Coping With NY Transit Strike By Telecommuting

Vendors for teleconferencing, videoconferencing, and remote-access tools are stepping in to help former commuters work from home.

As New Yorkers struggle with the city’s first transit strike in 25 years, they are finding a host of telecommuting options available to them to help them work from home.

“We’ve been offering teleconferencing and video conferencing for three years,” said Amy Agnew-Dugdale, spokeswoman for LiveOffice Corp. “Now we’re offering services free for the duration of the strike.”

Stranded commuters can simply log onto the company's site or call 800-251-3863 to sign up for the company’s products.

Jim Cameron, vice chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said if enough people try telecommuting during the strike it could catch on. Cameron, whose rail watchdog organization represents the interests of thousands of Connecticut citizens who commute to New York City, noted that telecommuting services weren’t available during the last transit strike in 1980.

“This is something that many employers would embrace on their own, but now that it’s been forced on them, it may become interesting,” Cameron said in a statement, adding that telecommuting “might result in a retraining of the workforce.”

Agnew-Dugdale said the LiveOffice services seem to be made to order for stranded commuters with jobs in New York City. A service called “IM conferencing” enables users to meet on the Web for chat sessions, and the sharing of applications like Excell and Word. Even software can be shared over the system.

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