Posted on February 8, 2013 at 7:29 AM
Friday, Feb 8 at 6:12 PM
AUSTIN -- Austin is making a move to get 10,000 drivers off the road in one day.
The city is joining an effort to cut back on carbon emissions by urging companies to let employees take a day off from the office and, instead, work from home.
For employees, one of the best perks might be avoiding the rush hour. Traffic in Austin is ranked among the worst in the nation.
Joe Burke lives and works in Austin, but for years now he’s stayed away from the office. Burke already works from home.
“It’s easy,” he explained. “I don't have to get in a car and drive across town for one thing and especially in Austin, Texas these days. It's a lot more convenient.”
On Friday thousands of Austin-area employees may realize the same thing. A pilot program called Work From Home Day is underway.
“I'm actually able to be more efficient than when I'm in the office,” said President and Co-founder of Speak Social Brad Bogus.
Bogus supports the move. He joined a group of tech leaders involved with Social Good Summit Austin to create the program. The group hopes that for every hand that types away at the computer from the comfort of home, there will be a boost in air quality.
“When we got the Work From Home Day kind of thought out, it was a great initiative, and the city caught on, and the state caught on and all these major sponsors started getting involved, and it really started to grow,” said Bogus. “If we can reduce cars on the road, we can reduce carbon emissions and by doing so, we're also reducing traffic which is an increasing problem in Austin.”
Companies signed up to participate include:
- Dell Inc.
- Rack Space
- Jason’s Deli
- National Instruments
Bogus says those companies and others that join the effort will likely see perks of their own. A savings calculator posted online includes more than 60 variables that will measure what one day of telecommuting a week can save an individual company.
Making the change just may mean making a few tweaks such as setting up meetings and interviews over the computer and keeping up with e-mails over a smart phone.
Social Good Summit Austin will measure the success of the pilot Work From Home Day by measuring air quality standards across Austin on Friday. They will then compare the numbers to other days out of the year to measure the impact. The report will be released during the South by Southwest Festival in March.