New Yorkers Enlist Telecommuting Technology To Cope With Transit Strike

“We&'ve been offering teleconferencing and video conferencing for three years,” said Amy Agnew-Dugdale, spokeswoman for LiveOffice Corp. “Now we&'re offering services free for the duration of the strike.”

Stranded commuters can simply log onto the company's site or call 800-251-3863 to sign up for the company&'s products.

Jim Cameron, vice chairman of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, said if enough people try telecommuting during the strike it could catch on. Cameron, whose rail watchdog organization represents the interests of thousands of Connecticut citizens who commute to New York City, noted that telecommuting services weren&'t available during the last transit strike in 1980.

“This is something that many employers would embrace on their own, but now that it&'s been forced on them, it may become interesting,” Cameron said in a statement, adding that telecommuting “might result in a retraining of the workforce.”

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Agnew-Dugdale said the LiveOffice services seem to be made to order for stranded commuters with jobs in New York City. A service called “IM conferencing” enables users to meet on the Web for chat sessions, and the sharing of applications like Excell and Word. Even software can be shared over the system. “Once you&'re logged on, you can launch a teleconference just by dialing out” to prospective attendees, she said.

Paltalk, a New York City-based company that offers voice and video chat services, is offering free unlimited video chat rooms to companies inconvenienced by the strike. Corporations interested in the service can contact the company by e-mailing [email protected].

During the strike, the company will provide chat rooms with free video conferencing for typing, talking, and viewing.

The firm said it has 3.9 million active chat room members and is the Internet&'s largest voice and video chat community. “We&'re painfully aware that many individuals are in a pre-holiday work crunch,” said Michael Levit, Paltalk&'s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “We hope to help provide a solution to this transportation breakdown by helping companies to conduct their business virtually.”

Laplink Software is offering a two-week free trial of its Laplink Everywhere, a Web-based remote access program. The software can be downloaded. The firm said the program may be the best solution for commuters who rely on a PC and telephone at their regular jobs.