ROUND ROCK – Dell Computers, the largest private employer in Central Texas, has set a goal to have 50 percent of its global workforce working remotely by 2020.
Of the company’s 14,000 local employees, 20 percent of them are working remotely or from home. That move saved Dell $14 million last year alone. But saving money wasn’t the company’s original intent, according to Dell’s Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Trisa Thompson.
“We had a lot of greenhouse gas emissions reduced. It was about 6,735 metric tons of CO2 last year. These are estimates. There's no perfect algorithm to be able to measure exactly, but it's a lot,” said Thompson.
Dell also believes it could take more than 7,000 cars off local roads and highways if the 50 percent remote workforce plan was implemented today.
“I'm just one of the people who really loves it 'cause I have a certain amount of time to get things done,” said Kathleen Walker, a Dell marketing employee who works from home several times a week.
Walker lives 45 minutes away from the Dell office in Round Rock.
“It's also just a lot more efficient for me to be closer to where the kids' schools are. And just so I can also take the time and run up and do volunteering there if I need to, or have lunch with one of the kiddos. It's just a lot more convenient to be close by,” added Walker.
When asked about productivity, Trisa Thompson says it’s actually gone up with remote workers.
“People were hesitant at first to say ‘Are people really going to work when they're at home?' And they do. Productivity goes up and it increases your recruiting and retention ability, and that's huge for every employer here in Austin. And at the same time it benefits our city," she said.
Dell Computers has 115,000 employees worldwide. About 14,000 of those live in Central Texas.