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We love bringing you stories of our partners. They’re employers and workplaces just like yours that have connected with Georgia Commute Options to give their employees better commutes and more productive work days. Take a look at the stellar telework program at Market Force:

Market Force became a Georgia Commute Options partner in April 2015, and more than 25% of its employees participate in our programs. Market Force offers telework to all employees, and many employees telework fulltime. Employees who aren’t working remotely full-time have the option of teleworking one to three times per week. The company offers flex scheduling for employees as well.

Since Market Force teleworkers use their own equipment to log into work, the up-front cost to the company stayed low. After all, telework doesn’t always require a huge technology overhaul. Often, an employee with a laptop is all a workplace needs to get started!

And the results speak for themselves:  In 2015, Market Force’s clean-commuting employees reduced more than 182,000 miles and saved almost 74 tons of pollution. Plus, their employees saved a collective $85,000 in fuel & car maintenance costs. Clean commutes like teleworking can really pay off, office-wide!

So what can a Georgia Commute Options partnership do for your office? Let us help you get started. Learn more here!



MARTA Uses Satire To Poke Fun At Atlanta Traffic

There’s a new movement for transit in the Atlanta region, and it comes with a hilarious new ad campaign. Click through for some good natured traffic bashing in the spirit of promoting transit.

And you know, commuting via transit can really pay off for you—in the form of cash and prizes from Georgia Commute Options! Learn here about how you can earn up to $150 if you make the switch to transit or another alternative to driving alone.

 

PATH Foundation Seeks To Add 37 Miles of Trails Around Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA -- The PATH Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary with plans to add 37 new miles of trails.

The PATH Foundation has spent the past 25 years building a network of off-road trails in and around Atlanta for walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters. Since walking and cycling are two of our favorite commute modes, we’re excited about more trail space coming to our region.

Click through to read about PATH’s goals for funding their trail extensions. Then consider making walking or biking part of your daily trip to work!

Working From Home: How to Be a Productivity Ninja

It’s no secret that we’re totally on board with telework. It gets cars off the road, improves work-life balance, and gives you back the time you’d normally be stuck behind the wheel.

But how do you go from Telework Novice to Telework Ninja? This article has some tips—everything from streamlining your office space (feng shui, anyone?) to dressing for the day (tuck in that shirt, Gary), to scheduling regular breaks (long live the sacred hourly cupcake ritual).

Paying attention to the details is the best way to make telework work for you and your boss. And if your workplace doesn’t yet have a telework policy, we can help you build one! Learn more here.



6 Tips for Making Telework Work for Your Team

Want to let your employees telework, but not sure how you’ll manage them? This list has some tips for you. (Granted, it’s written about sales teams — but we think it’s valuable advice for all telework managers and employees.)

Maintaining relationships, embracing technology, establishing communication ground rules—these are all key elements of a solid teleworking practice. Click through for the full list. And if you’d like some help drawing up a teleworking policy for your team, we’re on hand for you! Learn more here.

Clayton County cities honored by ARC

Clayton County is getting some love from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC): three Clayton cities have been presented with the 2016 CREATE Community Award for Regional Prosperity and economic Development.

Lake City, Forest Park and Morrow formed a “Tri-Cities Initiative” two years ago, and this partnership brought on the recognition.

Way to go, Clayton County!

Cherokee Students Share Ideas To Improve Atlanta Region

Speaking of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), let’s talk about how teens are taking an interest in city improvement thanks to the Model Atlanta Regional Commission (MARC) program.  MARC, a six-month youth leadership program, focuses on regional challenges and asks local high school students to submit their ideas.

Five MARC participants come from Etowah High School in Cherokee County, and they’re already making waves (in a good way).  Click through to read more about their awesome ideas for improving our region.



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employs more than 13,800 people in the metro Atlanta area— 5,300 of which are regular teleworkers. Buy-in from our agency leadership has been crucial to the success of our telework program, and it has helped us reach the full potential of our mobile, flexible workers. 

As the CDC’s Community Transportation Services Lead, I support the Agency’s comprehensive telework program with educational and instructional material. It’s a program that requires special management with a workforce as large as ours, an effort requiring both internal coordination and external consulting from Georgia Commute Options. We feel telework is worth that extra effort — because it gives our employees benefits that, in turn, make them better workers for the CDC. So we’ve committed to making telework a part of our office culture, and that means leaning in on an organizational level. 

We lean in because of the benefits telework brings to our employees. And any talk about the benefits of teleworking has to start with cost and time savings. Every metro Atlanta commuter knows the cost of getting to work, every day of all the gas and time we burn while sitting in traffic. The CDC Roybal campus is particularly prone to traffic congestion, so any measure that helps reduce the number of cars traveling through our worksite provides a huge benefit to the agency.  Telework is a solution that gives that money and time back to our employees, helping them take a crucial step toward better work-life balance. In fact, Georgia Commute Options reports that teleworking saved CDC employees a cumulative $190,000 in commute costs last year — a savings we’re thrilled to facilitate, because it makes for happier, more productive workers. 

And while we’re on the subject of productivity, let’s talk about the assumption that workers won’t be productive if they’re allowed to work from home. It’s common for managers to worry that teleworking will give employees the chance to stray off task, and that’s a valid concern. But think about it: staying on task at the office is a pretty big challenge already. Working in a shared space gives coworkers the power to consistently interrupt each other —and that’s actually a great thing. It can help build office relationships and rapport. But it also means that employees get distracted, and simple tasks stretch into day-long pursuits. Stepping out of the office environment a couple times a week gives employees the chance to zero in on solitary tasks, shortening turnaround time and saving the “people energy” for their in-office days. The result is better productivity and a higher-quality work product from our staff. 

Those in-office days have to be part of the telework equation. That’s why we lean in with our time and planning, organization-wide. Rather than isolating telework days as a special consideration, we work hard to make them part of a larger work week strategy that balances remote tasks against in-office tasks and gives the right amount of time to each. Example: At the CDC, we do lab work and classified research. We also do a lot of coordination with other government agencies. These are tasks that all employees know are not telework-eligible.  Setting those boundaries empowers all our employees to plan their weekly task lists for maximum efficiency. 

We also lean in through our use of technology. At the CDC, one of our most significant investments in telework has come through hardware. Once we committed to making telework available agency-wide, we began issuing all employees laptops with docking stations. This lets employees access our Virtual Private Network (VPN) from wherever they’re working, giving them the flexibility to complete tasks in-office and out, all on a single platform.  Transitioning our workforce from desktop computers to laptops required a substantial up-front investment — but compared to the time, money and effort that would have gone into updating each employee desktop one-by-one, this decision has more than paid for itself.  Additionally, we have instituted an Agency wide Telework Management System.  This system automates the request and approval process, which streamlines access to teleworking and provides accurate data for later assessment. 

When it comes to overseeing the telework vs. in-office balance, we’ve learned to empower our managers and team leaders to make it successful in their departments. Telework requires a mindset shift: managers and coworkers have to remember to treat every day as a regular day, no matter who’s in the office and who’s working remotely. It’s important not to fall into the trap of waiting to schedule meetings until all workers are in the office. In an ideal telework setup, work continues with complete continuity, enhanced by workers’ flexibility — not hampered by their absence. 

While infrastructure improvements have helped accommodate telework at the CDC, our most important takeaway is this: Nothing can take the place of support from organization leadership. Not every employer has the resources to invest in custom technology and new laptops — and not every employer needs to. But support starting at the top goes a long way toward identifying the tools and processes that can make telework work for any size company.

In order to maximize employees’ potential, management should give them both the flexibility to balance their work with their lives and the parameters to keep that work in check. It’s worked for us at the CDC. It can work for any company with the desire to get creative.

Mr. Scott Kemp presently serves as the Community Transportation Services Lead for CDC in Atlanta.  A retired Marine, with 20 years of active service and 6 years’ service as a DoD civilian, Mr. Kemp has been involved in transportation and logistics for his entire career. One of his primary responsibilities for CDC is to develop and promote alternate commuting options and participation.



This week is the 6th Annual Georgia Telework Week!  Recently, I have thought a lot about what telework means to me in terms of savings.  My commute one way is 70 miles and takes an average of 90 minutes, so the cost impact is quite evident.  Fortunately I have been able to limit my commute days to 2-3 days and spend at least one night with my very generous, in-town-living sister and her family.  Being able to telecommute a few days a week has made a difference in my bank account but has also made a difference in my sleep, sanity and relationships.

Last week, Wallet Hub, an online financial information and resource company, published an article that stated that 50 million American workers want to work from home but only 2.9 million do.  What if the rest — the 47 million — were allowed to telework even one day per week? Think about the benefits of teleworking for the employee, the employer and the environment.

Savings in Dollars

Wallet Hub also released a handy calculator to find out how much you could save. I love this sort of stuff, so I plugged in my numbers.  Based on this calculator, if I teleworked just 2 days a week, annually, I could save an average of $5,071 in gas and car costs and earn an extra $6,605 from extra work if I chose to work during the extra 3 hours I would have spent commuting. That’s a pretty significant amount of extra money!

Savings in Sleep

So on the days I commute, the alarm goes off at a jarring 4:15am — and with Atlanta traffic, I’m at my desk by usually 7:15 but more often it is 7:30ish.  On telework days, I wake up at 6:45am, a sleep savings of 2 ½ hours.  I’m at my desk and working usually by 7:30 once I’ve had my morning hugs and the kiddos are off to school. 

Savings in Sanity

When my commute begins to creep toward the 2-hour mark, my attitude and sanity usually take a turn for the worst. I am not a happy camper on either side whether it is getting to work or trying to get home in the evenings.  Strategic teleworking days have allowed me to make Alex’s baseball game or Theo’s soccer practice or to make it to my favorite gym class: Zumba.  I’m much more relaxed, which is good for my fourth point.

Savings in Relationships

Being able to telework keeps my relationships on the positive side.  It is mentally exhausting on those weeks where teleworking isn’t feasible.  The stress pours into my family.  My two boys start acting out and my husband who has been saddled with 100% of the parenting duty has had enough.  Telework days give me quality time with my family so I can throw the ball with Alex, snuggle with Theo and cook a dinner with Matt. 

My company’s willingness to allow me to telework on a weekly saves the Weber family in numerous ways.  

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.



What does telework look like for you? Show us and you could find your name in lights.

It’s Georgia Telework Week, and that means it’s time to enter the #MyTelework photo challenge!

We want to see your telework space. Maybe your pet keeps you company. Maybe you have an army of action figures watching your every keystroke. Whatever it is, the world needs to know about it—so we’ve created a contest just for you!

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Tweet OR Instagram your telework photo to @gacommute with the hashtag #MyTelework
  2. That is literally it.

At the end of Georgia Telework Week, we’ll select our First, Second and Third Place winners from the bunch. And that’s where the prizes come in.

THE PRIZES:

  • First Place: Your photo on a digital billboard near where you work or live, AND $50
  • Second Place: $50 in your pocket
  • Third Place: $50 goes to you, too

Also: You can enter as many times as you want.

All we’re saying is the odds are good you could walk away from this with $50. You know what $50 buys? A lot of tunes to listen to while you work. A lot of Chinese take-out for your lunch break. A sweet pair of slippers for working in.

Ready to enter? Tweet or ‘gram your #MyTelework photos today!

Got questions? Contact me here.

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.



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.



Teleworking can have immediate impacts on our environment, air quality, and commuter mobility, reducing vehicle emissions and strain on existing infrastructure. On August 7th, Governor Nathan Deal proclaimed this week, September 15-19, as the fifth annual Georgia Telework Week. Thank you to our valued and committed partners who joined us for the proclamation signing.

(Pictured from left to right: Allison Little - UCB Pharmaceuticals, Trent Williamson - Cobb Chamber of Commerce, Sean Saffle - Georgia Commute Options, Keith Parker - MARTA, Governor Nathan Deal, Toby Carr - Georgia DOT, Allie Velleca - Georgia Commute Options, and Cam Yearty - Georgia DOT)

The potential growth for teleworking in our region is tremendous. On average, teleworkers report better work and life balance as well as higher job satisfication rates than other employees. Additionally, formal telework programs play a key role in business continuity, allowing businesses to continue should an unforeseen event occur. Metro businesses can save money as a result of lower facility and energy costs, more productivity from their workforce, reduced absenteeism, and increased recruitment and retention.

During Telework Week, we ask for Metro Atlanta employers to commit their support of teleworking. Those who sign their commitment to the recognition week will see their company name in an Atlanta Business Chronicle ad on October 3. 

Georgia Commute Options promotes the use of alternatives to driving alone to and from work, like teleworking. You can learn more about the activities occurring during the fifth annual Georgia Telework Week here. To get in touch with a Georgia Commute Options representative to learn more about how to get a telework program started at your workplace, please click here.



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