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Telecommute from the Adirondacks? Yes, please!

Could the Adirondacks go from being Forever Wild, to Forever Wired?

That is what the Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work is trying to figure out.  Hosted by Clarkson University, this initiative represents a group of regional leaders and working professionals who are committed to sustainable economic growth in the park.

Our vision is to advance creative work and lifestyle choices by promoting technology and services that encourage commerce and entrepreneurship with negligible impact on the natural environment.

. . .

By 2019, our goal is to add 2019 corporate telecommuters, mobile workers, and working wired entrepreneurs to the region in support of green tech commerce and new economic opportunities. . .

- The Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work

I can barely contain my excitement after reading something like this. I have long felt that an area like the Adirondacks is a prime location worth marketing to the growing mobile workforce. It seems like such an obvious win-win situation. Telecommuters get an opportunity to live in the Adirondacks, to enjoy all that the area has to offer, and these skilled professionals would in turn be helping to grow the region’s population base. It is a way to bring jobs to the area, so to speak, without a lot of the problems traditionally associated with that type of effort. The positive chain reaction this could have for local businesses and services, and the region’s economy in general, is hard to overstate – and this economic growth has the potential to be low impact, and environmentally sustainable.

The Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work

Jess and I have long dreamed of moving to the Adirondacks. However, to do so would involve giving up our jobs and trying to find work within one of the local economies – and so reality creeps in and we decide it is something we won’t be able to do until retirement. But what if we didn’t have to give up our current jobs? Well, we’d probably be looking at houses in the area sometime tomorrow afternoon. That is the possibility an initiative like this could potentially tap into.

That said, the success of something like this is still largely dependent on how people work and do business. Fact of the matter is, there are not a lot of jobs out there right now that allow someone to work 100% remotely. This trend is changing though. As Vice President in charge of technology for a national non profit, I have a front row seat to the shift in how individuals and teams view telecommuting. As I watch the technologies advance, and as businesses wise up to the benefits of a mobile workforce, I can’t help but feel that this is an unavoidable area of growth. The Adirondacks are very wise for exploring it.

The Adirondack Initiative for Wired Work is conducting an online survey to better understand the needs of potential mobile workers and businesses. It only takes a few minutes to fill out, so if this is something that interests you, I encourage you to do so. You can find it here: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB229EMVH7YCE

They are also sponsoring an annual Forever Wired Conference that will be dedicated to “advancing issues surrounding life and wired work in the Adirondack North Country Region.” The Conference Tuesday Sept. 8th from noon to 5pm.

For more information, visit the Initiative’s website here: http://www.clarkson.edu/adk

2 Comments

  1. Bjay
    Bjay08-06-2009

    I like it! I live in a very different area – dry desert, prickly cactus, intense heat. But the area is magical.

    I recently made a suggestion to our downtown planners to try something like this: http://tucsoncitizen.com/bjays/2009/08/04/advice-to-rio-nuevo-wake-up-and-smell-the-telecommuters/

    I’ll be watching this with interest!

    • Dave
      Dave08-21-2009

      Thanks for the comment Bjay, and nice blog. Telecommuting efforts do indeed share a lot of the same challenges and possibilities.

      I worry though that it may be awhile before a truly remote area can build a sizable base of telecommuters. In my own experience, I am finding that companies are warming up nicely to “local” work from home situations – where the employee is still within a quick drive to the office for emergencies or short notice meetings. But that true full time telecommuting, which can take place from a distance, is more rare and takes a unique job/situation.

      With the efforts of folks like you, and the Adirondack Initiative, I hope this continues to change.

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