By Charles Melton
POULSBO — While Electronic Data Systems employees in Little Norway may soon be freed from the daily grind of traveling along State Route 305, they will remain in the area.
EDS, an information technology firm that has been in the city since 1984, is moving out of its current 8th Avenue location as part of the company’s effort to streamline operations and consolidate its real estate holdings, said EDS spokeswoman Maxine Levy.
“Our lease is up on Nov. 30 and we’re not renewing our lease in that space,” Levy said.
At the end of 2004, the Poulsbo EDS office had 150 employees and since the beginning of the year 125 of those employees have been transitioned out of the 8th Avenue site, she explained.
“Some of them are now working from home, others are working at other EDS sites in the area and others are working at clients’ sites,” Levy said.
Even so, all of those employees will remain within 20 miles or 30 minutes of the city, she said, noting that the move is not a sign that the company is leaving the area.
“It was really about consolidating all our real estate holdings and becoming more efficient in our operations,” she commented.
While it is uncertain if the company will expand its operations in the area, layoffs and personnel cutbacks have not been discussed, Levy said.
EDS is recognized as international leader in information technology, applications and business process services, she added. It works with both government and private entities.
“The reason we located in Poulsbo was because of some government work we were doing there and we’ve decided to stay ever since,” Levy said.
City Councilman Ed Stern, who been a longtime proponent of telecommuting, greeted the news with more than just a hint of enthusiasm.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” Stern exclaimed as he began recounting the numerous gains that could result from EDS’ decision.
EDS will benefit from reduced overhead, liability and lease on real estate, but its employees and their families stand to gain as well, he said.
“Employees get more time at home and will have increased flexibility that will allow them to work their schedules around time with family,” Stern said, adding that another big winner in this situation is the everyday commuter who travels up and down SR 305.
“This creates less traffic on already busy roads and that’s also less exhaust going into the environment,” he said.
EDS has taken the lead and brought the future into the present, which is remarkable, he said.
“They’re setting the example for everyone else to follow and it is incredibly exciting,” Stern said.