Winter weather can freeze Atlanta businesses’ productivity. And since winter isn't over yet, there's the possibility winter weather will strike again.
Instead of wasting another business day, Georgia Commute Options has tips to help metro Atlantans telework. Here are a few reasons why businesses should encourage teleworking for winter weather days:
- Safety: By keeping drivers off icy roads, you are not only keeping your employees safe but all drivers.
- Productivity: Telecommuting drives up employee efficiency. Forbes reports that two-thirds of managers see an increase in overall productivity from their remote employees.
- Health & Wellness: Allowing employees to work from home makes them healthier. In a 2014 study, 80% of remote workers reported higher morale and 82% reported lower stress levels. Working remotely also removes cars from the road, improving air quality for our lungs and the environment.
- Cost-savings: Studies show that unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800 per employee per year. That adds up to $300 billion per year for U.S. companies. The American Management Association found that organizations that implement a telework program saw a 63% reduction in unscheduled absences.
- Test for the future: Allowing employees to work from home during weather advisories lets employers test drive teleworking. If employers see positive results, GCO has worksite advisors who can help employers create a permanent teleworking program.
And, here are some tips for employees who may be new to teleworking:
- Set up your environment: Find a quiet space where you can focus. Experts say your workspace should NOT be at your kitchen table or in your bedroom. Ideally you have a comfortable desk and chair set up.
- Establish office hours: Create a schedule that delineates when you are “at work” and when you are off the clock. Establishing office hours helps separate your work life from your home life.
- Be reachable: Check in with your manager and co-workers at least once a day. Not only does it let them know you are available, it fosters healthy working relationship with your team.
- Move around: FEMA suggests standing for your calls and taking necessary breaks helps you stay focused and productive while working remotely.
Learn about all the benefits of teleworking before the next winter storm strikes. http://bit.ly/2rATPIx
After pedaling across the finish line of Biketober, Atlanta’s Annual Bike Challenge, you might be wondering where our collective two-wheeled endeavors took us.
From the BeltLine to Path400, bike lanes to cul-de-sacs, Biketober results exceeded expectations. Participation in this year’s challenge increased 31 percent, with a total of 1,762 riders. These riders logged nearly 30,000 trips during the challenge – a 49 percent increase from the previous year.
In addition to enjoying a less stressful commute, participants in Biketober helped reduce congestion and emissions across the region, something we all stand to benefit from. We also awarded more than 20 prizes to participants! Take a look at everything riders won this year:
$600 towards a bike or bike gear from a bike shop of your choice
Winner: Currie Cole Smith - Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. - Team Kimley-Horn
$500 towards a bike of your choice
Winner: Joseph Gardner –The Biking Dead
Uuni Pizza Oven
Winner: Tom Rasmussen – Bikefriendlyatl
$100 gift card for Vespertine NYC apparel
Winner: Tim Ehlbeck – Team Daimler Bikers North America
2 x T2 Helmet from Torch
Winner: Daniel Pastrich – Team Monkey Business
Winner: Candice Thiessen
Men's or Women's apparel set from Patagonia
Winner: Sean Sanders - Morgan Stanley – Atlanta
Winner: Alice Grossman - Georgia Tech CEE Transpo
Two tickets to ANY show at Dad's Garage
Winner: Linda Rathje – Team Stevens & Wilkinson
Two tickets to Mission: Escape Atlanta
Winner: Robyn Stoddard - high consequence commuters
Gift Card to the new Georgia Beer Garden
Winner: Nathan Woodruff - Council of State and Territorial – Epidemiologists
4 x $25 gift cards from Midway Pub
Winner: Alex Fite Wassilak - TSW Planners
Winner: Dave G - Manifest Speed
Winner: Kat Meagley - Just Keep Spinning
Winner: Scott Palmer - Bike Roswell! Board 2017
Passes to Atlanta Rocks! Indoor Climbing Gym
Winner: Angela Speeth - Lord Aeck Sargent-1
4 x Free Flight Coupons to the new Monday Night Brewing Garage
Winner: Sarah Kuester - CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Winner: Aung Aung - Georgia State University - Adair Park
Winner: Yeou Jih - City of Atlanta Resilient - Road Warriors
Winner: Yolonda Freeman - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
4 x all-inclusive tickets to any Family Series Show at the Center for Puppetry Arts
Winner: Joel Webber - FullStorians
Winner: Jeevan Kumar Makam - RCEC team
Winner: Christian DiCenso - Delta Air Lines Cycling Club
Winner: Tenisio Seanima - For Alice
1 x free week (5 days Monday through Friday) of Good Measure Meals (valued at $120.00)
Winner: Pearl Caplan - CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Southwest Airlines Certificates (valued at $150.00 each)
Winner: Jennifer Leavey - Georgia Tech Sci Riders
Many thanks go to our generous sponsors for enlivening the competition by making these prizes possible. And to all who participated, thank you for making Biketober 2017 a huge success. We hope you all join us again next year!
- The Georgia Commute Options Team
With additional shoppers on the road, commuting around the holidays can be tough. To make your commute easier during the busy shopping season and beyond, you can try an alternative commute like carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit or biking. If you are indeed thinking about making the switch to a new form of commuting, or you’re looking for a holiday gift for your favorite commuter, check out these suggestions for “must have” commute accessories to add to your wish list this holiday season:
- Noise cancelling, Bluetooth Headphones or earbuds – Listening to music, a podcast or audio book is one of the best ways to unwind before the day starts. Cutting out the chords gives you more freedom and flexibility.
- Tablet, e-reader or book – Many avid readers find their commutes among the best times to squeeze in a few pages. Think of all the reading you can get done while your friends are white knuckling their commutes.
- Backpack, messenger bag or laptop bag – Having a productive commute means bringing your work with you. Stay organized and mobile with a new bag this year.
- Portable batteries/Power Bank – Nothing is worse than being in the middle of a playlist with most of your commute to go and your phone dies. It’s always good to have a backup for those times you can’t plug in.
- Water bottle or travel mug – Whether your choice is water or coffee – we all have to stay hydrated (and awake), right?
- Compact umbrella – The weather can be sporadic this time of year. So having a lightweight umbrella on-hand at all times is essential.
- Waterproof Phone Case: Always being on the go can be tough on those essential accessories. Keep your phone protected with a durable, waterproof case (it’s just one less thing to stress about).
Of course, the best gift of all is a new stress-free commute. Check out all your clean commute options at www.GAcommuteoptions.com.
Easier commutes. More exercise. Time with friends. Metro Atlantans had a range of reasons for participating in this year’s Biketober: 2017 Atlanta Bike Challenge. For Decatur resident, Dave Mathews, it was to raise awareness for safer roads in honor of fallen bikers.
For more than two years, Dave has participated in the annual bike challenge with colleagues who support Bike Friendly Atlanta (BFA), a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness for cyclists struck and killed by a vehicle. “Ghost bikes” are memorials created by the organization to represent fallen cyclists.
The 2017 Atlanta Bike Challenge began Oct. 1 and after a few days, Dave’s team was at capacity, so a second team formed. Ranging from professional bikers to novice athletes, the team members woke up each workday of October to ride and log their miles throughout the metro area.
“Our organization travels throughout the Southeast in hopes of promoting our cause and creating a safer environment for all cyclists,” said Dave. “We’re always open to new challenges and welcomed the opportunity to participate again in this year’s Atlanta Bike Challenge.”
As a professional tennis player, Dave uses biking as cross-training. And along with other colleagues on his team, Dave will bike about 4 to 5 days a week. While the activity levels range, Dave insists that no interested rider is left behind regardless of skill level.
“Some members of the team ride about 1,300 to 1,400 miles a month as part of their commute,” said Dave. “But whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or a casual rider, speed won’t dampen my enthusiasm to bike each morning.
Whether you choose to bike for exercise or time with friends, consider biking as a clean commute option to help reduce traffic while making it a bit easier for everyone to breathe!
Whether or not you are participating in the Atlanta Bike Challenge with the explicit goal of getting healthier, here are some helpful tips to keep you moving through Biketober!
- Drink lots of cool water. When cycling, drink before you get thirsty. Sip on the water and electrolyte drinks, even if it’s not hot outside on those hot days.
- Take breaks. This sounds like common sense, but it is important.
- Dress appropriately.
- Hydrate and replenish after each and every bike ride.
- Check the weather: Determine what type of gear and clothing you should pack for your ride. Remember that bike lights will always make you more visible in the rain
- Wear a helmet.
- Ditch the headphones. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings when riding. Listening to headphones will block out ambient traffic noise. Consider a small portable stereo if you want to listen to music.
Pack a Snack
- Powered by the Peel: Bananas are snacks ready to roll; they are famous for their potassium and contain carbohydrates that may enhance your muscles' abilities to use the fuel efficiently.
- Peanut Butter Jelly Time: PB&J's are perfect pocket fuel. The bread and jam (or honey) provide carbohydrates and the peanut butter offers protein and fats. Allergic to peanuts? Try almond butter if you can tolerate tree nuts or sunflower butter if not. Swap a tortilla for bread to prevent having a squashed sandwich. Cut your sandwich into quarters and have one piece at 15- to 20-minute increments.
- Trail Mix: Dried fruits and nuts are a concentrated source of carbohydrates. Dried apricots, prunes and raisins have the added benefit of potassium. Mix your favorite fruits with nuts and seeds to keep your body supplied with energy, vitamin E and magnesium. If you have a heavy sweat rate, you may want to choose salted nuts and seeds.
- Water Works: In general, if you're planning to bike for an hour or less, water is the best way to stay hydrated and to prevent drinking the calories you just burned. If you're going to be rolling for more than an hour, have a heavy sweat rate or the weather is exceptionally hot, consider having two bottles with you — one for water and one for a sports drink. You may purchase a sports drink for the sake of convenience, but making your own with black or green iced tea, a splash of juice, some sugar and a pinch of salt is easy and provides an added antioxidant boost. Take sips of fluid often to maintain hydration and alternate between the two drinks if packing both.
Track your progress at ATLBikeChallenge.com and make sure to celebrate the strides your making.
To make the Atlanta Bike Challenge: Biketober! A fun experience, here are just a few things to keep in mind as you plan your rides.
Ride with confidence - Don't worry about holding up other traffic. Being more visible and taking a primary position is the best way to stay safe. Only let people pass when you feel safe (the law is on your side!)
Grab a bike buddy – One thing you can do that is guaranteed to make your bike commute a better experience is to find someone to share it with you! Even if you just meet up halfway, having someone else to share the joys and experiences of the road with can make bike commuting feel like you’re on an adventure and not headed to/from work!
- Stopping – make sure you can stop quickly and safely if you need to.
- Turning – practice turning quickly and confidently to avoid objects or make a turn while riding at speed.
- Observation – practice looking over your shoulder and to your right and left while riding.
- Riding with one hand – lift one hand at a time off the handlebars and repeat until you can control your bike with either hand (this is so you can learn to signal turns with your hands)
Dress normally - If your ride is less than 30 minutes (~4 miles), chances are you can just ride in your normal work clothes. Unless you want to ride fast, you can just cruise into work on your bike - no sweat! This will save you time and hassle, and if you find yourself a bit sweaty you might be amazed how simple it is to clean up with a few handy wipes.
Pro tip: roll rather than fold your work clothes to avoid creases.
Find the best route - Don't just take the route you would if you were in a car; try looking for routes through quiet neighborhood streets or other parallel/alternatives routes where traffic is naturally slower and safer. Adding a little bit of distance in exchange for a more comfortable ride is almost always worth it!
Keep your cool - Learn to keep calm and not to react to angry or impatient drivers-keeping a cool head will maximize your safety and make the commute less stressful and in the end a much better experience.
Check your Progress at ATLBikeChallenge.com.
Maybe you were sitting in your car this morning, stressing about the cars all around you, wondering how you ended up in this routine. Maybe you were thinking about that New Year’s resolution that faded away in March or April and want to find a way to finish the year strong. Or, maybe you’re just looking for an excuse to enjoy a little more of that crisp air and appreciate Atlanta’s canopy as it begins to don the warm autumnal hues. Well the Atlanta Bike Challenge: Biketober is your chance to challenge yourself and your friends to ditch the car and make cycling a part of your daily routine.
The #AtlBikeChallenge is a fun and free bike competition hosted by Georgia Commute Options to promote bicycling as a healthy and clean commute alternative from Oct. 1-31. You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to participate, riders new and old will be joining social teams to compete for a chance to win exciting prizes like tickets to see the Hawks, two Southwest Airline tickets, a week of free Good Measure Meals or even a trip to Italy or San Francisco.
Participants are encouraged to create teams with their coworkers, friends and family; people who can encourage each other to stay motivated throughout the month. You and your team will earn points for every mile you ride, every day you ride and for every person you encourage to sign up.
Teams will compete against nine others in a pool. After the third week of Biketober! The top teams from each pool will face off in an exciting Final Sprint, a playoff to determine the top Biketober team in the region.
Go to ATLBikeChallenge.com to find out more and to register. Make October the month that you give a clean, healthy commute a try- Get out and ride!
Also check out some of these tips to keep you riding throughout the month:
Are you someone who loves to drive, or someone who just does it because you think you have to? For one day, why don’t you challenge yourself to plan your travels without using your vehicle. On Friday, September 22, put your keys on the counter and don’t even think about them because it is International Car Free Day. You might find that commute alternatives are easier than you thought, so give it a try.
There are a ton of resources out there to help you take the one-day challenge:
- Maybe you want to ride a bike for the day- There are lots of resources out there that can help.
- If you live in Atlanta, check out their Relay Bike Share Program.
- If you live outside of Atlanta, check Zagster’s website to see other participating locations.
- Talk to your boss to see if teleworking is an option on that day.
- Visit the Georgia Commute Options site or download the app to find a potential carpool partner or explore other alternative options.
Check out a Car Free event happening around Atlanta
City of Decatur:
There will be a celebration at the Historic Old Courthouse Square from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Take the pledge to go car free to enter a raffle for two Decatur Wine Festival tickets.
Participants can join for information on alternative transportation options from GA Commute Options, the Lifelong Community Board, Decatur Active Living, the Emory Cliff Bus and more.
Visit www.decaturga.com/carfree for more info.
“There is no downside to using transit,” says long-term Commuter Champion
We love our rock star transit commuters! Martin Chen became a Commuter Champion back in 2012 and is still taking transit like a boss.
When you take transit, you can delegate the driving to someone else and use your commute for some valuable me-time! Plus, you’re doing your part to take cars off the road and ease traffic congestion for everyone.
Read Martin’s story and consider how transit could improve your daily commute!
When did you decide to ride transit to and from work for the first time, and why?
From the very beginning when I came back to Atlanta after college.
Name the top five best things about riding transit to and from work.
Avoiding traffic, being able to do something else other than driving, predictability, mental health, and people watching.
How far do you live from the nearest train station or bus stop?
We chose our house to ensure that we were close to a MARTA rail station and on the bus route. I live less than .25 miles from a bus stop and within 3 miles of two train stations.
If you have children, has the possibility of emergencies influenced your decision to ride transit to and from work?
I have three children. All three are in a daycare that we chose because it was close to the MARTA rail line so that I would not need a car.
How often do you worry about the weather as a transit rider?
I can go door-to-door without ever being exposed to precipitation. On the elevated platforms at most stations, however, you are buffeted by the cold winds. On those extreme days, I just drive to another station that is not exposed to the elements, like Sandy Springs station.
Does riding transit really get you to and from work faster?
Not always, but I don't want to drive in traffic.
Are there five rules you wish all transit commuters should follow, if so, what are they?
No food or drinks, no music without earbuds, no occupying seats with luggage and bags during peak period, no proselytizing, and no panhandling.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in riding transit to and from work for the first time?
There is no downside to using transit.
Ready to give transit a try? You could earn cash and prizes for it! Let us help you get started and while you’re here, check out our new Live Chat for assistance!