If you were on the road in Lagos yesterday, chances are you’re still recovering from the gridlock that plagued the Victoria Island area. Couple that with the tankers debacle three weeks ago along Ojuelegba road that practically slowed traffic to snail speed, and I’m ready to blow a fuse.

As though that wasn’t bad enough, I came across this depressing stat – an average Lagos resident will spend 600 hours per year in traffic. That’s five years, or 7% of the average lifespan.

Wait, I’m not done.

Kenya has its fair share of traffic woes, enough to fill diaries, I’m told. Ngong road in particular is infamous for its epic traffic jams. If the gods are out to get you, they’ll make you get stuck in Ngong road traffic.

I can’t even…

I know traffic jams are a “normal” part of every metropolis but there comes a time when it just gets too much. Some of the ones I’ve been in for the past one month in Lagos have been insane. One particular day, I spent about six hours on the road. That’s six hours being next to unproductive, sweating and inhaling fumes. And when you consider the EU just passed a law that says workers will be paid for time spent commuting, you begin to hope maybe, just maybe, our own laws will be updated also.

Pipe dream, I know.

So, I’m left pondering realistic ideas. Like why isn’t telecommuting a huge part of our corporate culture already? Lagos is a megacity, we have reasonable internet services available across the state and all the tools to make remote workers err…work are actually quite effective. And free.

This thing I’m suggesting isn’t even for just those working in the tech space. Every company could benefit from having more telecommuters on the workforce.

Telecommuting means your staff spends less time traveling and more time actually working. Having not to worry about traffic means your people aren’t “eager” to leave work early. Some folks wouldn’t mind a 10% paycut if they were allowed to work remotely. You spend less on fuel (if you have a car) and so on.

Some jobs are a shoo-in for telecommuting. Copywriters, web and graphic designers, reporters, business analysts, maybe customer service agents and managers, these people shouldn’t even need to commute to the office everyday, if you ask me.

Telecommuting means talent and skill takes precedence over geography, something the world’s most profitable companies embrace wholeheartedly. To quote the CEO of Diebold, “We want the brightest people on the planet.” Telecommuting helps you achieve that.

Everything is available to make such a transition easy and near painless. Apps and software that can coordinate collaboration across the planet, as well as create virtual working spaces, online project management tools, video conferencing and so on are all available. And affordable.

But then again, you might enjoy the fact that your staff spends so much time on the road being unproductive. Good for them. If they want to telecommute, they should go found their own company.

Photo Credit: Ding Zhou via Compfight cc

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