Dubious Distinctions

10/26/2010 06:39 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Washington D.C. residents, listen up: You all may know it's true, but now you have the evidence to prove it. D.C. is a black hole for bad drivers -- they get sucked in and can never leave. Last month, Allstate published its sixth annual national Best Drivers Report. Guess what? D.C. is dead last. That's right, number 193. In case my friends in Baltimore are snickering, you are number 192. So unless you live in or plan a move to Ft. Collins, CO or Chattanooga, TN, numbers 1 and 2, respectively, I suggest you check your insurance deductible and stay alert.

Just to add on another accolade, how about the recent study by a company called INRIX, which found that D.C. has the fourth worst traffic congestion in the nation. INRIX collects and sells traffic data around the country, so they probably have a pretty good picture of what's moving and what's all jammed up. Bottom line is that if you get in your car in D.C. (or one of our other major cities for that matter), you have a much better than average chance of sitting in traffic and getting into an accident. To add insult to injury, Telework Exchange research finds that Americans spend more time in traffic than on vacation. Boy that sounds like fun, sign me up.

Well, there is another idea. How about if we spent less time driving? After all, it's National Work and Family Month. Lets all spend time doing something that is more important. Getting off the road is good for the environment, good for our wallets, and may keep us out of the emergency room and the body shop. Here's the magic word in it all...telework. Teleworkers spend less time in their cars and for those of us in major metropolitan areas that may keep our car and human bodies in better shape.

Speaking of better shape, I have been on a little fitness kick this summer. Well, it started last year when I saw myself in a video (that's me about 40 seconds in, closest to the screen) and asked a colleague, "who is that fat guy sitting next you?" Oh no, it was me. Well, I started eating less (gee, my doctor was right; it is arithmetic - calories in/calories out). That got me part way to my goal, but exercise is a big part of getting fit, so I started doing something I hate, but can do almost anywhere -- running. When I started, I couldn't make it a quarter mile without stopping, out of breath. Today, I run about 20-25 miles a week. Now, I don't run fast and I probably won't ever run a marathon, but I do run almost that far in a week.

So why am I talking about this? My built-in excuse for not exercising was always, I don't have time or I don't have my stuff to work out, or [insert your favorite excuse here]. Now that I work at home, I have no excuse. I have my workout stuff, I have my shower and all my clothes right here, and I even have the time I used to spend getting to and from work. The other day, I went for a run about 5:00 in the evening. I started out from my house and headed up the hill along a major commute route near my house. The cars were backed up almost half a mile and as I ran alongside, I could see the frustration and defeat in the faces of everyone one of those commuters (I told you I run slow). And these were the people who left early. So instead of sitting in my car getting frustrated and stressed out (or in an accident), I was doing something healthy and stress relieving. This is the part of the telework value proposition that is hard to quantify, but is very real. If you are a teleworker, you know it. If you are a manager contemplating telework as a productivity tool, remember, stressed out employees are not as productive and tend to make more mistakes. Some food for thought as you are sitting in traffic this evening.

If you want to continue the dialogue on telework, write to me at or visit my blog at