Jet Blue's Stay-At-Home Work Force
By Bootie Cosgrove-Mather
Published January 13, 2004 | CBS Evening News - Salt Lake City, Utah
SOURCE: CBS Evening News
Nothing about the morning family chaos, from breakfast to brushing, even hints at the job Suzy Dall has upstairs the minute her four kids and husband are out the door.
"What will you do right now?" asked CBS News Correspondent Wyatt Andrews.
"Now, I will go up and log on," Dall replied.
Log on -- as one of 800 reservation agents for Jet Blue Airways and every one of them -- like Suzy -- works from home.
This is not telecommuting -- where someone works from home once in a while. Right by the window, overlooking the cul de sac, is the only place Suzy Dall ever goes to work.
"This is it. This is my office," she said. "Once that first call comes in, my whole focus changes. I'm not Mom anymore -- all of a sudden I'm this person who is trying to be a good customer service representative."
What's unique about the Jet Blue system is that all those hundreds of home based workers are the reservations system. There is no backup.
"If you call 1-800-JetBlue you're going to get someone in their home," said Jet Blue's CEO David Neeleman.
Neeleman created those jobs as a way to reduce employee turnover. He figured that the reservation agents -- who take more than ten million calls a year -- would be happier at home than in some call cubicle warehouse.
"The minute we made that transition their productivity was 25 percent better," he said. "Even today I can't figure out why more companies don't do it."
What Neeleman has tapped into is not just the Internet revolution. He's also tapped what could be called a family centered revolution -- where one parent in a two-income household spends more time at home.
"I'm able to be here when they leave in the morning. And I'm here when they come home from school in the afternoon. So I feel like I am a stay-at-home mom, yet I can get my work done in between," Dall said.
The airline is also convinced this is the future -- information jobs that don't need an office and don't need to be exported overseas. Suzy Dall believes the job changed her life -- without changing what's important, her family.
Says Dall "I like the win-win."
©MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved