Water cooler for telecommuters
Steamboat Springs — Location-neutral workers lacking the water cooler conversations of the corporate world are invited to attend a luncheon Wednesday.
Conversations around water coolers can inspire and motivate workers or generate new ideas, but location-neutral workers need a “watering hole” of their own, said Noreen Moore, Routt County business resource director.
Location-neutral workers are people who live and work in Routt County, but whose jobs are based elsewhere. Most use cell phones and computers to “telecommute.”
Such workers contribute more than $35 million a year to the local economy and tend to be civically engaged, according to a survey conducted during the past year. Moore said Routt County is one of the first parts of the country to identify the importance of the location-neutral workers, and the community needs to nurture them.
“The business community is trying to do something for them,” Moore said. “The other piece of my mission is I want to find more of them.”
The luncheons are being held quarterly, and it is one of the first programs started for location-neutral employees. The point of the luncheon is to allow people an opportunity to network and share ideas. It is being hosted by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, and there is no charge other than the cost of the lunch.
Moore said local surveying and research about location-neutral workers has been limited mainly to people living in Steamboat Springs.
“We’re trying to determine whether those who settled in more rural areas came here for the same reason,” Moore said.
She would like to find more of the workers living in rural areas in Routt County.
“Part of the challenge with location-neutral business owners is they don’t know who they are,” Moore said.
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In an effort to make Steamboat Springs Transit buses safer and more accessible, solar-powered lighting in bus shelters and a GPS-triggered automatic voice system that will announce stops in English and Spanish are being implemented.