Teleworking can have immediate impacts on our environment, air quality, and commuter mobility, reducing vehicle emissions and strain on existing infrastructure. The projected average annual impact of one person teleworking is 2,000 fewer miles driven, over 50 hour of commute time saved, and a great reduction of smog in the air we breathe.
On February 20th, Governor Nathan Deal proclaimed this week, March 2-6, as the sixth annual Georgia Telework Week, which aligns with National Telework Week.
(Pictured from left to right: Phil Peevy, Georgia DOT; Ron Roberts, Georgia Commute Options; Jenny Schultz, Georgia Commute Options; Governor Nathan Deal; Charlotte Weber, Georgia Commute Options; Jeff Parker, Georgia Commute Options; Matt Fowler, Georgia DOT)
Many employers in the Metro Atlanta region with telework programs have seen employee increased productivity, in fact the American Management Association estimates that teleworkers are 10%-20% more productive than their office counterparts.
To learn more about the activities occurring during Georgia Telework Week, visit GaCommuteOptions.com/telework. You can also find information on the free telework consulting and training Georgia Commute Options provides.
Ok…so maybe this isn’t true, but in honor of Georgia Telework Week, I thought it might be fun to share how my husband and I telework together.
He is pretty much a full-time teleworker unless he is traveling. His company has an office in Buckhead, but he gets to avoid the 26-mile one-way commute and work from home most days. I, on the other hand, try to telework once a week (per my New Year’s blog), but the onset of potential storms found me at home more than usual lately.
Teleworking with your spouse is much like sharing an office. Luckily, I already share my actual office with a teammate, so I have a bit of experience and use this to make teleworking with my husband work smoothly.
- Pick your work space. We both prefer to work when others are around. We usually both sit at the kitchen table or one of us will take over the bar area. Our kitchen has a ton of windows, and we can even sit close enough to the door to let the dogs out without having to get up from our chairs and interrupt our work.
- Take turns on the phone. We have an office space upstairs, so we take turns taking phone calls and video conferences from upstairs to not interrupt the other person. My office mate and I do this a lot, so it is nice to extend the same courtesy to your spouse.
- Be lunch buddies. I am the first person to try and recruit someone to grab lunch with. The break from work to walk to the café in our building is always more fun with company (shoutout to the sweet ladies at the Northcreek Café who know my order and don’t judge me for eating cheeseburgers 3 times a week). While at home, I can guilt my husband into making my lunch or we both break and prepare lunch together.
- Finish the work day. As we are both required to work 8-hour days, it is important we start and end the work day together. Yes, we each may have to do a little overtime or hop on a late afternoon call, but once the 8-hour day is complete, the main level of the house is no longer a work space and is converted back to a living space. If either of us have additional work to complete, we go to the office space upstairs or put on headphones so as not to be distracted by other activities in the house.
I hope these tips help you realize that teleworking at home with a spouse or roommate can be done and it can be fun, too. Make a plan for how to handle calls and treat your telework partner like you would an office mate in your regular office.
Reap the benefits of Georgia Telework Week and enjoy teleworking this week!
Allie Velleca is the Georgia Commute Options Program Manager. When she is isn’t at work, she is teaching dance, paper crafting, or filming Snapchats of her two greyhounds, Charlie and Larry. If you are trying to find Allie at the Georgia Commute Options office, just look for the desk with Atomic Fireballs, washi tape, and a glowing reindeer. Want to get in touch with Allie? Email her here.
What goes through your mind while you’re stuck in traffic? Are you thinking about all the emails that are stacking up while you’re sitting still on the highway? Or are you missing that class at the gym you look forward to every week? Are you thinking how much more you’d like your job if the commute didn’t get in the way?
Maybe it’s time to look at teleworking.
With the sixth annual Georgia Telework Week (March 2-6) approaching, many look for ways to get involved and make their own impact. We’ve got all the details of what’s happening during the week right here:
- Free webinars: Attend one of four free webinars to learn more about teleworking. Find the one that’s just right for you. (P.S. the password for all webinars is ‘telework’). Click here to get the listing.
- Make the Commitment: Every company that commits to teleworking or learning more about teleworking during Telework Week will have the chance to be featured on a Georgia Commute Options billboard in April.
- Photo Contest: Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@gacommute) and participate in our #MyTelework Photo Challenge. One lucky winner will have his or her photo featured on a billboard in Metro Atlanta and receive a $50 prize. Learn more about participating here.
- Win $25: Log your telework days for the chance to win in our monthly drawing. 1 in 10 win!
- Spotlight Stories: Check out our blog each day for teleworker stories and tips. Do you have one to share? Send it to us here.
Commit improving traffic congestion and air quality. Commit to Georgia Telework Week.
Charlotte Weber is an Environmental Project Manager and the Georgia Commute Options Telework Specialist. She is an avid teleworker herself, but when she's in the office there's always a basket of fresh produce by her desk to share. Have questions about teleworking or how to get a policy set up at your workplace? Email us at Telework@GaCommuteOptions.com.
Did you know research shows that a frustrating commute to work can have a significant effect on your health? Long distance commuters have decreased cardiorespiratory fitness and higher blood pressure. February marks American Heart Month, and there is no better time to establish heart healthy habits than now. According to the American Heart Association, lowering stress and increasing physical activity are two ways to a healthier heart. The good news is that choosing a commute alternative, such as carpooling or riding transit, can help with both! Becoming a clean commuter even once or twice a week, can reduce your stress and improve your outlook.
Registering with Georgia Commute Options can help you find a vanpool or carpool partner– you save money and can share the drive. Sharing the ride can help you get to work less stressed and home quicker in the HOV lane.
Physical activity is also an important part of overall good health. The average transit rider walks 95 minutes a week, giving them a head start on the goal of 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Want another way to combine your commute and exercise? Many choose to bike part of the way to work, saving time at the gym and improving their cardiovascular health.
I’m lucky -- my employer offers the option to telework 1-2 days a week. Teleworking lowers my stress, as I do not have to fight the rush hour commute. It also allows me to find time in my day for a workout, whether during my lunch break or during what would be my long commute home. An added bonus to taking a commute alternative: you can log your commute with Georgia Commute Options and be entered into the monthly $25 prize drawing.
In honor of American Heart Month, make a commitment to a healthier you by trying a commute alternative.
Alexandra is an Outreach Manager for Georgia Commute Options and works with our commuters in Norcross and Johns Creek. If you need help finding an alternative to driving alone to your work site in those areas, she’s your girl! She’s also an Atlanta native who knows her way around town. Fun fact about Alexandra: She, her grandmother, and her dad all went to the same elementary school. Need to get in touch with her? Email her at AlexandraO@GaCommuteOptions.com.
You have a void in your life. An empty space that needs filling. A gaping chasm that mocks you daily of your crushing solitude.
You know the void I’m talking about. It’s your passenger seat.
Be honest: You’ve felt it, haven’t you? A sense that there’s more to this journey (…to work). You’ve grown tired of traveling life’s roads alone and long for something more. But what can you do to fill the gap in your car? How can you find the one person out there who makes up your perfect (ride)match?
Search no more, lonely drivers. Georgia Commute Options has a match for you.
Using our online ridematching tool, you can find other solo drivers like you. People that live or work near you and are searching for the perfect carpool partner to make their commute complete. People that share your passion for long walks on the beach…and for reducing traffic by getting cars off the road.
This Valentine’s Day, don’t keep traveling the long road to work alone. Find your ridematch at GaCommuteOptions.com, and take the first commute of the rest of your life.
(And for an even sweeter Valentine’s treat, see how you can earn cash and win prizes for making the switch from driving alone! Click here to learn more.)
Lesley Carter is a communications specialist and the voice of Georgia Commute Options social media. As a car-free Atlantan, she knows how to get creative when getting from A to B — and she’s eager to help other commuters discover their non-driving potential. Lesley’s previous credits include ad copywriting, editing, blogging and youth outreach.
February has arrived and love is in the air. While you’re busy planning Valentine’s Day dates, we’re coming up ideas for giving your commute a little affection. Here are five of our go-tos to help you love your commute.
- Music. Get your morning commute started with the top jams. Download or stream tracks like Uptown Funk or the latest catchy Meghan Trainor hit on Spotify or iTunes. With your hips moving in the morning, you’ll be feeling motivated to knock items off your to-do list all day.
- Learn. Spend your time more wisely by listening to a podcast to get those wheels turning. Invisibilia, Serial, Freakonomics, and Stuff You Missed in History Class currently top the podcast charts.
- Gram. There are a whole bunch of Instagram feeds that can keep you occupied for far longer than your commute. Need some ideas? Heart-string tuggers: @littleshortstories and @humansofny. Pups: @thedogist and @harlowandsage. Chuckles: @kidsaretheworst and @satiregram.
- Organize. Life is easier when you take the headache out of it. Mint can help you organize your money, Google Keep is what we all look for in list-making, and IFTTT turns the Internet into your personal assistant you never have to pay.
- Caffeinate. Love coffee and travel? Get both in this video learning how to prep your joe around the world. Then recreate them at the office!
Remember, watching videos and gramming while driving is dangerous and against the law. These commute dates are for ridesharers only—so carpool, vanpool or take transit to really feel the love!
Do you have any commute dates that help improve your commute? Share them with us in the comments.
Jenny Schultz is a Communications Specialist working on the Georgia Commute Options program. When she's not at work, she spends most of her time baking, dancing, and pretending to paint her house. Jenny has a pretty sweet telework space complete with Ikea furniture, a stability ball, and a fantastic view of her backyard.
In December 2011, my resolution was not to make resolutions ever again…save one: to live a life that I love. A life I love is filled with compassion, non-judgment, empathy, humor and kindness to everything that lives.
Now within that broad mindset, I do have one simple rule I have vowed to live by. Some would consider a resolution. I want to be the change(s) that I want to see in the world. I gave some thought to the things in my life that are unpleasant and cannot totally be avoided, and that is where I chose to be the change. I won’t go into the whole list; for the purpose of this blog I will speak to a topic that many metro Atlantans can relate to: the often miserable daily commute.
In the spirit of the Serenity Prayer, let’s apply that loosely to commuting:
Serenity to accept what I cannot change – That’s easy. I’m a single mom who has to work to pay the bills. After my divorce in 2012, I knew I would have to find a better paying job, and I accepted the fact that I would again be driving to Atlanta.
The courage to change what I can – A position came open with the Georgia Commute Options program as part of the Outreach team, and I jumped at the chance. Now I am able to take care of myself and my daughter on my own. And the best part? The fact that I get paid to do a job that I love. I admire the efforts of our team and the generous incentive programs in place to encourage individual commuter behavior change. Our $3 A Day program pays first-time clean commuters up to $100.00 just to try it for 90 days! I am proud that what I do encourages others to join in being the change so many of us would like to see.
The wisdom to know when I have it better than I ever could have imagined – Ok, so maybe I am back in the car again. It is what it is. But I am afforded the wonderful privilege of teleworking when I do not have to be in the office. And there are so many winners in this deal.
- Georgia Commute Options officially has the world’s most loyal, hardworking employee;
- If the weather is inclement to the point of being dangerous, I am not pressured to be on the road, thereby staying out of the way of emergency responders;
- I am proof positive that teleworking WORKS, so part of my efforts in 2015 will be to convince more Atlanta area employers to give teleworking serious consideration.
And finally, the wisdom to know the difference – At Georgia Commute Options, we know alternatives to driving alone are not available for all Atlanta drivers. But until public transportation becomes more a part of the culture of this city, please keep in mind that we are here to answer questions, encourage drivers to participate in our incentive programs, and, well…at least consider being the change you want to see. Happy New Year!
Elaine Mayo is an Account Manager for Georgia Commute Options servicing the 85 South and 75 South areas. She knows long commutes can be hard on the mind, body, and family as she used to have a 90-minute one-way commute. As a yoga teacher and runner, she feels extremely connected to our planet and believes Georgia Commute Options efforts start with each of us as individuals. Elaine is looking to make our region a healthier place for her, her daughter, and future generations.
Atlanta's newest transportation choice is open for business, and it brings new and exciting commute options to the table. The Atlanta Streetcar runs a 2.7 mile loop from the King Historic District to Centennial Olympic Park. With twelve stops, including a platform right outside the Peachtree Center MARTA Station, the Atlanta Streetcar makes even more of downtown accessible by transit. Plus, the streetcars allow bicycles on board, so going multimodal is even easier!
The big, beautiful, blue cars each hold up to 200 people, which means less traffic congestion downtown! So jump on the system and take a streetcar to your next destination. The office buildings in the Peachtree corridor, Phillips Arena, the Sweet Auburn Curb Market and more are all within walking distance of the alignment. And, during the first three months, the system is totally free!
See more route information and helpful fare info here.
Save money, discover Downtown, and ride Atlanta's newest transit system.
Shayna Pollock is the Project Manager for Transportation and Sustainability at Central Atlanta Progress. She commutes from Reynoldstown to Downtown on her loyal bicycle, affectionately called "the minivan" for its basket capacity. In her free time, she can be found doing yoga, reading, or baking.
It is really easy to say on December 31st that you are going to go to the gym five days a week or only eat sweets on the weekends, but it’s not always that easy to do. I am the worst at holding myself accountable to something for a month, let alone 365 days a year. This year I am making a resolution that I know I can keep and I have this blog post to keep me honest:
I will use a commute alternative to work 20% of the year.
(Since I usually work 5 days a week, that means I’m taking an alternative commute 1 day a week.)
Trying commute alternatives does not mean you have to give up your car and your freedom forever. It is about making small changes that will ultimately make a huge impact. I drive 62 miles round trip to work, or 310 miles each week. Think about the impact I can make on air quality by removing 62 miles from Georgia roadways every week. I even calculated it below using My Commute Impact Report from my commuter profile at GaCommuteOptions.com. The cost savings is amazing. We could use that money to pay off my husband’s truck or put it aside in a savings account for our kid’s college fund.
Per Year (50 weeks/year)
Round Trip Miles
Pounds of Pollution
Now I need to decide which alternatives make the most sense for me. Luckily my employer supports telework. I have a great office space at home with high-speed internet and I could save a lot of time by not driving into work. But, I am also thinking about finding a carpool partner. Our office is in a multi-tenant office complex, and I bet the ridematching tool could help me. Once my profile is updated, I can set up email reminders to alert me whenever I have new matches in the system. I found six matches on my first try!
The thing is, switching up your commute doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing deal. Maybe you can’t completely replace driving alone with biking, taking transit or carpooling every single day. But what if it wasn’t every day? Could you possibly ride in with a coworker just on Fridays? Take transit on Tuesdays? Dust off that bike and ride it to work twice a month? (That one could also help you with that annual resolution to get fit!)
Think about how small changes could add up to big benefits for you in 2015—then, let us know how we can help.
Allie Velleca is the Georgia Commute Options Program Manager and also services some accounts in the I-75N corridor. When she is isn’t at work, she is teaching dance, paper crafting, or filming Snapchats of her two greyhounds, Charlie and Larry. If you are trying to find Allie at the Georgia Commute Options office, just look for the desk with Atomic Fireballs, washi tape, and a glowing reindeer.
Welcome 2015! And welcome back to work and the daily grind. Or is it? Don’t let the post-holiday blues convince you it has to be last year’s old routine. If you’re looking to shake things up in the New Year, why not start with how you get to work? Resolutions don’t have to be just good intentions this year — they can become reality if you work them into your daily commute.
Our friends at USA.gov compiled a list of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. Not surprisingly, weight loss and plans to get fit are at the top of the list. On one hand, you can purchase an expensive gym-bership and fight for your turn on an elliptical. Or, you can slide on your sneakers and walk to work. Or hop on your Huffy and cycle there! Either way, you can easily get your cardio in, see the sights and help reduce traffic and pollution.
Maybe you’re no stranger to your fat burning zone. Congrats; you’re already in tip-top shape. But is your bank account? If your finances are the part of your life you have resolved to work out this year, consider commute alternatives. There’s lots of money to be saved by taking transit or joining a carpool or vanpool as opposed to driving alone. Carpooling can save you $800 a year, and riding transit can save you almost $1,200 annually. Don’t forget, Georgia Commute Options has cash incentives like $3 A Day, $25 Prizes, and $40-$60 Gas Cards when you choose to switch up your commute.
And still there are those that want to improve their mental fitness. By taking a carpool, vanpool or transit, you’ll have time to read, nap or get extra work done. As a passenger, you’ll have the opportunity to reduce stress and invest your time in different interests. You’ve got 99 problems, but your commute doesn’t have to be one.
No matter your goal, Time.com wants you to remember that in order to successfully stick to your resolution, you should share your experience with others. Not only does it hold you accountable, it encourages your friends and family to join in the fun. Share your commute with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and reap the positive rewards!
Courtney is the Georgia Commute Options Administrative Assistant. You'll hear her friendly voice if you ever give us a call. She's a Pinterest and Netflix junkie, and loves baking and making lists. If you want to get in touch with Courtney, you can email her here.