With metro Atlanta’s traffic situation getting worse, gas prices at $3.40 plus a gallon, and pollution in our air, teleworking is a wonderful alternative to the solo drive. It allows us to not only use less gasoline/oil, emit less pollution, but also remain stress free.
I’m sure that Assurant also sees the benefits of teleworking, including increased productivity from employees, fewer call-outs, more available office space for those unable to telework, an increase in available parking spaces, healthier and happier employees, and lower overhead expenses.
For me personally, I am no longer stressed due to traffic and the commute. At home, I enjoy fewer interruptions while still being able to engage in human contact with my co-workers, via instant messaging, telephone calls, and email. The time previously used to commute is now used to fix my son a healthy breakfast before going to school, which allows me to maintain a better balance between my work and home life. My budget for clothing, car maintenance, and eating out has also decreased tremendously. I’m able to exercise during my lunch break (I’ve lost 15 pounds). I could go on and on, but all I’m going to say is……….WIN-WIN-WIN!
Kris Powers, Hazard Operations associate at Assurant’s Duluth location, has participated in the company’s teleworking program for a year and a half.
Assurant, with more than 2,000 employees in north metro Atlanta, believes that providing employees flexibility in work schedules helps contribute to a highly satisfied, productive work force, and can contribute to a higher level of customer service and performance. As part of that flexibility, Assurant believes that teleworking can provide opportunities for success for customers, employees, and for the company.
Teleworking makes employees happy. Happy employees are motivated to go the extra mile, which makes for happy clients. It's a simple equation.
That's why we introduced a telework program at ADP more than 20 years ago. With two decades of experience under our belt and more than 5,000 associates nationwide participating in our program, we know telework works. Not only are our associates happier and more productive, we have also experienced a higher retention rate among our workforce.
In 2008, ADP recognized the need for expert counsel to fully capitalize on all of the benefits telework could provide. Establishing a partnership with The Clean Air Campaign has allowed us to grow our program by 10 to 15 percent each year, ultimately enabling us to realize our full potential.
In addition to reducing commute costs for our associates, having a telework program in place allows us to leverage savings on real estate expenses because we no longer need as much office space. The savings we realize annually far exceed the cost of any equipment or support infrastructure investments needed to facilitate an effective teleworking experience.
But ADP recognizes that the impact of these savings extends far beyond the company's bottom line. Based on data from the latest AAA "Your Driving Costs" report, our teleworking employees are saving approximately 50 cents a mile on gas and car expenses. Over the course of a year, this can yield thousands of dollars in savings on commute costs. In fact, from last September to this September, our Georgia associates saved a combined total of more than $200,000 on commute costs as a result of teleworking.
During that same time period, ADP teleworkers in Georgia have also eliminated 400,000 vehicle miles of travel, keeping 200 tons of pollution out of the air we all breathe. Not only is ADP doing our part to be environmental stewards, we are also providing our associates a better work/life balance. Having this work arrangement in place, everyone comes out a winner.
This week, ADP is helping The Clean Air Campaign by supporting the third-annual Georgia Telework Week. I encourage you to show your support for telework as a business strategy that has been proven to increase employee productivity by as much as 20 percent. For any company considering telework, I recommend that you talk to businesses or companies already engaged in teleworking. I assure you that you will be highly encouraged by the response you receive.
Mac Peden is a senior vice president at Automatic Data Processing, Inc.,
(ADP) headquartered in Alpharetta, GA. Leveraging more than 60 years of experience, ADP is one of the nation's leaders in offering a wide range of human resource, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source.
At Coca-Cola Refreshments Customer Care, we love to use the motto, “Live Positively.” It is our way of showing our commitment to sustainability in everything we do. As part of that commitment, we introduced a telework program in 2004. Following a highly successful pilot program, we partnered with The Clean Air Campaign in 2005 to make teleworking available to all employees at our Alpharetta-based location. Since that time, our program has grown rapidly. Currently, we have 425 associates—more than 50 percent of our workforce—who telework five days a week, using the opportunity to avoid the hassles of traffic congestion and have a productive workday.
Our teleworking associates make a significant contribution to our company’s sustainability efforts. Each workday, they collectively eliminate 850 commute trips, keeping more than 7 tons of pollution out of the air we breathe. They also save nearly $7,000 in gas and car-related expenses each day.
The results of our telework program have not only benefitted our associates’ wallets, but also improved productivity and morale. Recent internal surveys show that our associates not only enjoy the convenience of working from home, but also the additional time they get to spend with their families because they no longer have to sit in traffic.
Beyond these altruistic benefits, telework has also proven to be a very cost-efficient business strategy. We have reduced real estate expenses because we need less square footage for our operations with more employees working remotely. Our teleworking arrangement is truly a win-win for our company and our workforce, allowing us to deploy associates so they can be more efficient and better serve our customers.
This week we are proud to support Georgia Telework Week. Now in its third year, the week is designed to educate employers about the benefits of telework as a strategy that yields improvedemployee satisfaction, cost savings for companies, environmental stewardship and increased productivity in the workplace.
Georgia Telework Week is just as much a call for employers to establish new telework programs as it is a celebration of employers who have previously-established programs. In metro Atlanta, some 250,000 commuters have jobs they believe are conducive to this type of program, but their employers have not given the green light for them to telework. Just think of all the traffic congestion this region could alleviate - and the productivity gains that would result – if these commuters were to work from home even occasionally. There has never been a better time to join the movement.
Luiz Montoro is a Customer Care project manager for Coca-Cola Refreshments
The Clean Air Campaign, together with Governor Deal and employers from the public and private sector, is excited to kick off the third-annual Georgia Telework Week, taking place August 20-24, 2012. Join us in celebrating the success of telework across the state as a pollution-free commute option and an effective workplace strategy.
Governor Deal proclaims third-annual Georgia Telework Week
Pictured from L-R: Tedra Cheatham, The Clean Air Campaign; Mac Peden, ADP; Michelle Higgins, Ista; Governor Nathan Deal; Rosa Vichcales, Humana; Sadler Croft, The Clean Air Campaign; Luiz Montoro, The Coca-Cola Company
Metro Atlanta and surrounding cities continue to grow and prosper, which in turn brings more traffic to our region. A solution has proven to be successful in not only reducing traffic congestion, but also increasing employee productivity and morale, as well as company retention and reputation; this is telework, and next week kicks off the third-annual Georgia Telework Week, which seeks to build awareness about teleworking success across the state.
Since 2007, teleworking has increased among metro Atlanta commuters 20%. This growing trend allows employees more flexibility. Teleworkers enjoy this alternative because of the huge savings on fuel, clothing, food and even shaving supplies. Employers are using it to increase in productivity by as much as 20%, and reduce overhead costs anywhere from 10% to 90%. Here are some anecdotal examples that reinforce the notion that it’s not about where work gets done, but it’s about getting work done:
- One teleworker spends half of his one telework day a week at home and the other half at a restaurant with two other coworkers. They have found that they have fewer distractions than being at the office, but are still able to collaborate on projects.
- Another’s company headquarters is in a different state so he is a teleworker 100% of the time, only visiting the main office two or three times a year. His company pays for office space at a telework center so he can still have the structure of an office environment. It has a mix of private offices and workstations and provides internet, meeting space, IT and administrative support and coffee, all for people who telework.
- A teleworker in Atlanta has been working from home since 2001 for five different companies. He once turned down a job that would have required him to work from the office and instead accepted an offer that has explicit permission to continue teleworking.
- One commuter currently teleworks two days per week and hopes to be teleworking 5 days a week by the end of the year. She says not driving through traffic helps reduce her stress, which improves her overall health.
- A teleworker reports 50% of his company to be teleworkers. He’s in the office a total of two weeks every year for meetings and it’s never more than three days in a row.
All teleworkers will tell you they enjoy it because there are generally less distractions, greater flexibility, more time for sleep, fuel savings, and that the best commute is no commute.
Anecdotal examples credited to Reddit.com/r/Atlanta
So it’s back-to-school time, which means that Clean Air Schools programs are gearing up to bring the pursuit of less traffic and cleaner air to the younger set. Since children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, the effort to improve air quality within school zones is an important one. But what does clean commuting look like in a school setting?
Actually, The Clean Air Campaign’s school programs are pretty similar to our employer and commuter tools. Where workplace commuters are encouraged to carpool, take public transit, and enforce No Idling, school commuters have Pool to School, Ride the Bus! for Clean Air, and…well, No Idling.
Last year, more than 300 Georgia schools participated in Clean Air Schools programs—giving an estimated 600,000 students, parents and teachers the chance to breathe better, cleaner air at school. And this year, we’re looking to promote student involvement and leadership, both in the existing programs and through a couple newer initiatives designed with younger leaders in mind.
One of those newer tools is Breathe Easy, a series of toolkits that guide elementary and middle school students through leading a No Idling, Pool to School or Ride the Bus program in their schools. Similarly, our high school Get There Green program charges student groups with developing a sustainable transportation plan that addresses the congestion and air quality issues in their school community. And the new online platform OnAir (blogonair.org), launched last spring, encourages teens to take individual action by allowing them to rack up “AirCreds,” points for air-friendly actions.
School programs offer the chance to help kids form clean-air habits early, habits we hope will stick with them throughout their lives. If you’d like to learn more, visit cleanaircampaign.org/schools or send us an e-mail at Schools@cleanaircampaign.org.
Note: Registration is now open for all Clean Air Schools programs, available for pre-K through 12th grade. Join us today!
Georgia voters yesterday put in their two cents about the prospect of a penny sales tax to fund regional transportation projects. The results at the polls amplify the situation brighter than a sea of brake lights at rush hour: many areas in the Peach State remain at a crossroads regarding transportation infrastructure needs and how to pay for them. Welcome to the day after the T-SPLOST vote, where echoes of doubt – and a few hearty cheers – still reverberate in many places on an intricate plan that was meant to move Georgia’s transportation network forward. This edition of Merging Lanes takes a closer look at the outcome in a couple of regions and how commuters may be affected.
Atlanta Region Rejects T-SPLOST: Where do we go from here?
A huge pro-tax campaign with a message centered on relief from traffic in the form of an untied knot. Opposition from an environmental group over the lack of transit options. A late move to end the tolls on GA 400. Like the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” No matter how you voted, one thing metro Atlantans still agree on is that traffic is a headache. So what remedies are available now? One sensible choice is to continue to work on scraping as much efficiency as we can out of the network we have. That means finding more occasions to carpool, vanpool, telework or hop on a commuter coach. The support resources to make this happen have been here all along. We saw the Atlanta business community rally around the project list as a way to boost productivity by getting their workers out of traffic. Now is a great time to apply some of this enthusiasm in the direction of commute options programs, because when employers support these efforts, employees sign up.
Lane ends 2,000 feet.
Eyes on ATL: Other areas of the country watching the story
While Atlanta has treasures that make other cities green with envy – world’s busiest international airport, robust convention infrastructure and broadband all over, to name a few – the competition to attract new companies to the region remains as stiff as ever. The larger region has netted some big-time wins in recent years. But it has also swung and missed at a few opportunities, with traffic congestion cited in some cases as a deal-breaker. Rejecting the referendum may provide more ammunition for rival cities to lob in our direction when courting out-of-state business. One time-zone away, for example, rival Dallas shared these thoughts about the T-SPLOST outcome in Atlanta. What deserves more attention is that some of the best programs anywhere to provide traffic relief are found right here, from Georgia NaviGAtor to HERO units and The Clean Air Campaign.
Lane ends 1,000 feet.
Yes Vote: In the River Valley, a political will to approve T-SPLOST
While the measure encountered rejection in most areas, a few, including the Chattahoochee Valley, approved it. The project list for that district includes new roads, bridge repairs and even enhancements to the River Walk, along with new transit access points. What sealed the deal for this region? According to this story in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, commuters and employers simply accepted that there was not enough funding for the projects they wanted in the timeframe they wanted without the T-SPLOST mechanism. It's still important to keep the timeline for these projects in perspective. Some smaller projects could begin as early as the spring of 2013, but the majority of the larger projects will begin later as funds become available, and are expected to take multiple years to complete. While the region waits for these projects to come online, strategies like encouraging commute options are an important part of present-day plans and will continue to be in the future.
Lane ends 500 feet.
Moving On: What Georgians learned through this process
If it accomplished nothing else, the intense dialog on both sides of the referendum helped educate Georgians about the current state of affairs on transportation infrastructure. Our state ranks at the bottom for transportation spending per capita. The current framework for the motor fuel tax only covers roads and bridges. Metro Atlanta traffic sucks away $2.5 billion annually from employers in lost productivity. And while the voting base is more informed today about the size of the elephant in the room, the challenge still remains to find a long-term, sustainable funding solution that Georgians believe in. But no matter what shape that solution might take in the future, the mission of The Clean Air Campaign and its partner organizations does not change. Clean Air Campaign programs and resources help Georgia’s commuters protect their transportation investments against overuse. While the conversation today is about which projects are going to get built or not, stewardship of existing resources never goes out of fashion.