Fifty-one managers at Bell Atlantic Corp.'s Washington office headquarters in Arlington went on remote control Friday. They won't have to do much in the morning to get ready for work other than dress and put on the coffee -- work will be at home, at least for next six months.

For T. Elaine Myers, a Bell Atlantic assistant manager for human resources, the telecommuting trial means she saves lots of time and gasoline. Normally she makes a 140-mile round trip into work every day from Hagerstown, Md., where she lives. Now, she plans to work at home two or three days a week, or as her in-office meeting schedule permits.

Bell Atlantic will be watching closely to see if the experiment works. Employees in the program, who commute an average of 50 miles a day, will keep a daily log of their activities and submit a monthly report. They have been advised that the workday does not end when children come home from school, that children should not be allowed to answer the telephone and that they should get themselves a comfortable chair and a room with a door.

Though the program is designed to offer employees alternative work schedules, there also is a "sound business reason" to let them work at home -- they can test the technology that makes telecommuting possible. Bell Atlantic offers such telecommuting goodies as electronic mail, voice messaging, conference calling, call forwarding and special phone lines that allow voice and data to come into the home over one line.