Telecommuting takes off in Atlanta

A recent survey of metro Atlanta commuters by the Clean Air Campaign shows increasing numbers of people getting to work not via car, rail, bike or even using those bits hanging off the ends of our legs; but by computer – working from home, also known as telecommuting.
Over a quarter (27%) of commuters now work from home at least occasionally – a 35% jump in only three years. Those who frequently telecommute has grown even more – 75%. Telecommuting has now become so popular, it’s outpacing the rate of carpooling.
The Clean Air Campaign can share some of the kudos for this amazing transformation as the organisation and the region’s transportation management associations have been providing free professional telework consulting services since 2004. This is really important work as many employers have troubles understanding just how beneficial to their business allowing staff to telework can be.
The Clean Air Campaign is a non-profit that works with employers, commuters and schools in Georgia to encourage actions that result in less traffic congestion and improved air quality.
I think a couple of the most common fears about telecommuting among employers are productivity and security. I’ve been teleworking for close to a decade now and if anything, I think it’s made me more productive – it’s just a matter of having a dedicated space to work and a bit of self-discipline. Security is certainly a valid concern and employers need to ensure that the equipment used by teleworkers has been checked by the company and a few simple ground rules laid down – just the same as when computers are used on-site.
The Clean Air Campaign also mentioned another factor in the increasing popularity of teleworking in Atlanta – in 2008, the state of Georgia became the first in the country to offer a telework tax credit for employers. What a great idea!
Have a think about the amount of your life wasted by commuting to and from work. If it bugs you as much as it bugged me; perhaps have a chat to your company about the financial and environmental benefits of telecommuting. Even without the progressive policies of Georgia, a solid teleworking scheme can save money, make money – and there’s always the environmental warm and fuzzies of fewer transport related emissions. It’s something the company can crow about as part of their in-house green initiatives.