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 RYE BROOK, N.Y., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Home is still where the

heart is -- but it's also where the work is for some 6.6 million Americans, including a growing number of people who work for America's biggest corporations.
 They're a new breed of commuters whose employers have seen the wisdom in having them trade the traditional daily grind of going to the office by car, bus or train for telecommuting by phone, fax and computer. And, while their numbers may be small today in comparison to total office employment, a recent national survey by Link Resources of New York reports that the number of workers who telecommute more than 35 hours a week from a home office is expected to grow by more than 50 percent by 1995.
 According to the Link study, there were over 39 million Americans participating in work at home in 1990. The broader category includes self-employed individuals who work full-time at home, individuals who work at home through part-time work, individuals who work at home at night and on weekends, and individuals who telecommute as part of their full-time job.
 Work at home is possible today because of the advent of sophisticated personal computers and the emergence of innovative telecommunications companies such as MCI Communications Corporation that are bringing competitively priced-products to the corporate, small business and home-work marketplaces.
 Nationally, such well-known companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, J.C. Penney, and Molson Breweries USA -- as well as the State of California and several departments and agencies of the Federal Government -- have employees who are engaged in telecommuting.
 MCI Targets Corporate Telecommuting Market
 It is the individuals employed by mid-size and large companies that MCI's Eastern Division is targeting with its new "Telecommuting Consulting Service." Explains MCI Eastern Division President, Jonathan Crane, "We're working with a number of large corporations to develop for them custom telecommunications solutions that will assist their telecommuters and home workers with telecommunications and other capabilities that were once available only at corporate offices."
 The MCI Telecommuting Consulting Service is provided to companies which have large sales forces that work full or part-time from home offices or have plans to set-up formal telecommuting programs.
 MCI representatives look at the flow of information to and from these home offices to determine how advances in technology such as electronic mail, conference calling, fax service and expanded phone service can help improve productivity and save money.
 "We've designed systems that have delivered significant bottom-line savings -- as well as improved productivity and greater management control for customers that have an enormous investment in their field sales forces," Crane explained.
 Crane said major multinational corporations are finding that MCI's Vnet is a key to success. Vnet, MCI's virtual private network service, allows businesses to connect home offices to their company networks for seamless interoffice dialing and at a price that is reduced 25 to 50 percent over dial 1 rates. Equally important, he said, is the fact that Vnet's location level billing increases management control and flexibility by providing MCI customers with call detail from all company locations and even employees' home business offices.
 Using MCI 800 Service home-based employees can call their offices for voice mail messages, connect to E-Mail and participate in teleconferences on a cost-effective basis. Through a PC and modem, homeworkers can also access MCI's Gateway Fax, a dedicated fax network, which MCI introduced in 1988.
 "Today, both corporations and their employees can have the home- field advantage," said Crane. He adds that the most compelling benefits of telecommuting are increased competitive edge, increased productivity and morale, reduced office costs, office space and parking needs, and the retention of top-flight employees.
 More Time 'At Work'
 Digital is a good example. After having experienced the benefits of telework at its California offices, the computer giant is conducting a corporate pilot program out of its Southern States Regional Office in Maryland. While most other programs involve sales personnel, Digital's program asked for employees to volunteer to work at home for a few days a week -- with the approval of their managers. According to Gail Sheridan, the region's telecommunications manager, Digital expects to realize increased productivity because the telecommuters will have more "office time" -- and less commuting time.
 "We're discovering the obvious," Sheridan observed. "It's hard for the car to break down or get caught in a traffic jam when it's parked in the employee's garage."
 She noted that nearly all Digital employees telecommute ad hoc while on the road and at home. The same is true for MCI, which for the third year in a row has topped ComputerWorld's list for the most effective use of information systems.
 MCI employees conduct the vast majority of their internal communication via the company's electronic mail system called MCI Mail. Many employees use laptops at home and when travelling on the road to send and receive important messages. MCI employees can also dial a 1-800 number from their homes to access their voice mailbox to receive phone messages at any time of the day.
 Important Marketplace
 The spending patterns of telecommuters underscore the importance of this growing marketplace to telecommunications companies such as MCI.
 According to Link Resources, telecommuters and other home workers now spend more than $11.8 billion on telephone and on-line services -- and an additional $13 billion on computer hardware and software, fax phones, desk-top copiers, and cordless and cellular phones.
 The expenditure of $6.2 billion for long distance services were by far the lion's share of the telephone spending. In addition an estimated $5.7 billion is spent on local telephone service, $1 billion for on-line services and $584 million on residential fax machines. According to Link Resources, the average home-worker averaged nearly $50 a month on long distance services, most often with a company like MCI that has aggressively spurred product innovation and competitive pricing.
 Digital's Sheridan said telecommuting is extremely important in attracting and retaining top employees. Telework, she explained, is especially attractive to employees because it allows them to save money on transportation, clothing, food and other expenses while increasing productivity because of fewer distractions.
 "Our people need head-down, deep-thought time to do their jobs right. Telecommuters can get it working at home -- without the stress of commuting almost two to three hours a day," she said.
 Crane, however, doesn't believe that telecommuting is the exclusive property of the urban worker.
 "MCI believes telecommuting can deliver a real boost to workers in smaller cities and in rural America where jobs are often scarce," said Crane. "Today, workers' area and zip codes are no longer barriers to where they work."
 He explained that MCI has been successful in helping sales-and marketing-driven customers establish effective telecommuting and telework programs because of its own experience in using MCI's wide array of telecommunications.
 "Since most MCI employees telecommute at one time or another during a typical work week. They understand the importance of sales and customer service and can easily relate to the telecommunications needs of our customers," Crane pointed out.
 -0- 6/23/92
 /CONTACT: Frank J. Walter of MCI Eastern Division, 914-933-8292/
 (MCIC) CO: MCI Telecommunications Corporation ST: New York IN: TLS SU:

LD-OS -- NYFNS5 -- 2655 06/23/92 07:33 EDT
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Date:Jun 23, 1992

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