Tuesday, April 15, 2008

not a flat Commonwealth yet

Something interesting in the Economist: The joys and drawbacks of being able to work from anywhere.

Which sparks a question: It will not be soon, but when does Somerset County become a suburb of the Washington, DC metro area? That came to mind reading this news article in the Somerset Daily American about how local officials there are focusing on increasing broadband infrastucture there.

If you think the Somerset question is a little out there... consider that the distance between Wellersburg, PA (in Somerset County) to Berryville, VA (in the Washington DC MSA) is 60 miles as the crow flies. Of course there is some interesting topography between the two. It may be a little less inconveivable when you also factor in the idea that a lot of DC jobs are not strictly for telecommuters.. but those who have the flexibility to work from home a day or two a week, something that is not uncommon in the Federal workforce.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a former telecommuter, and then spending close to 80% of my time on the road (in different cities from day to day), I can tell you that many of the telecommuter drawbacks will find there way into nomadic work.

"The danger is that the anytime, anyplace office will lure us into the tiger cage that is the everytime, everyplace office."

True then. True now.

I'm also unsure if this will cause a continental shift in the dwelling locations of knowledge workers - or sales execs, market managers, investment bankers, etc. Somerset would need to do more than wire its downtown to attract these people. They need the cultural amenities that these people enjoy as well - arts, restaurants, recreation areas like bike trails, etc. That's a pretty big paradigm shift for the Somersets of the world. One that I think only happens if an existing metro sprawls into an old-growth small town. It can't generate it on its own without heavy investment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008 3:26:00 PM  

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