As Long Island commuters embark on a “summer of hell” on the rails and roads, some workers are surveying the scene from a comparative heaven — their own homes.
Telecommuting lets you “put in a full day and not feel like at the end of the day you’re worn out,” said Kay Spalding, who works from her Mineola home twice a week for the White Plains-based Amalgamated Family of Companies, where she is executive director of marketing.
While Spalding carpools when she goes to the office, some LIRR riders have gotten special permission to work from home during this summer’s two-month repair project at Penn Station.
Julia Perl expects to work from home about two days a week. “I expect my productivity to actually rise . . . because I won’t be losing those three hours or maybe four hours a day of commuting time,” said Perl, 53, a commercial real estate appraiser who lives in Syosset.
On Monday, some Long Islanders said a trouble-free morning LIRR commute did not alter their plans to work remotely, since disruptions tend to happen more often in the evenings.
“It really does seem like there’s something every single day without fail, and it seems like it always pops up at 5,” said Jesse Pardo, 29, an insurance broker who lives in East Rockaway and plans to work from home one or two days a week.
With reduced service, he said, any further problem could cause a “total meltdown.”
Greg Waldman, 39, who works at a financial firm in midtown, plans to work from his Jericho home two days a week and might even spend some nights at the home of a cousin who lives in Manhattan, even though that means missing out on evenings with his wife and 6-year-old son.
“You get to work and you’re exhausted, you’re not as productive as you would be in normal circumstances,” he said.
Telecommuting is an increasingly common arrangement. To be sure, a few high-profile employers such as IBM and Yahoo have curtailed the practice, but census figures show the number of employees who regularly work from home grew by 115 percent from 2005 to 2015, said Karen Sobel Lojeski, an assistant professor in the department of technology and society at Stony Brook University.
“If employers are smart, they’ll allow people some flexibility” this summer, she said. “The message companies would send . . . is, ‘I care about you, I know your commute is going to be a misery if you have to do it every day.’ ”
Indeed, the misery has become so extreme that Syosset resident Shuprotim Bhaumik said he has begun to look forward to out-of-town trips.
“I’ll take LaGuardia [Airport] over the LIRR or Penn Station, so that’s saying something, right?” said Bhaumi, 50, a real estate and economic development consultant who plans to spend about half his days working from home this summer.