Are you teleworking to avoid Atlanta traffic?

Teleworking to avoid traffic congestion?

For the first time, state data shows teleworking has surpassed all alternatives to solo driving here as a main commute — including carpooling and mass transit, AJC writer Ariel Hart reports.

Last year, 7 percent of all metro Atlanta commuters teleworked for the majority of their commutes — up significantly from 4 percent in 2007, Hart writes.

But, Atlanta’s heart still belongs to the car, with 82 percent of commuters driving alone, Hart reports. But that’s down slightly from 2007, when the state’s last survey said 85 percent drove alone.

Where does your heart belong? Are you changing your affections? Why or why not?

Is your employer allowing more employees to telework or is he or she resisting?

- Henry Unger, The Biz Beat

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37 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

February 24th, 2011
7:30 am

As long as the managers follow up with telecomuter workers to ensure the work is being done, it works!

vcatron

February 24th, 2011
7:30 am

Telecommuting for many jobs is great. During the recent ice storm my employer was able to keep all service commitments due to remote access. Many areas within our company do not require a hard office address to perform their functions. If the job does not require face to face with customers then working remotely is great.
For most employees working remotely is no problem but there are those who will not work well and cause companies to resist. With fuel prices climbing and budgets getting tighter remote workers make sense.

Damon

February 24th, 2011
7:39 am

I’ve been working from home for the past year and prior to that worked 1 or 2 days from home each week for another 4 years. There are pros and cons to each and I honestly believe some people are not cut out for it.
Telework puts a premium on self discipline and written and verbal communication in order to get everything done with no loss in productivity. It also makes it more difficult to solve the small ad hoc issues or keep informed of big events as you do not have the face to face time crucial to that.
On the plus side, I am willingly more flexible with my hours to satisfy client needs without actually spending more time in the “office”. I am also less stressed and a happier employee.
As I said, it is not a solution to everyone and it is clearly not a silver bullet for Atlanta’s traffic issues. But when it works for an individual everyone benefits.

Corparate Recruiter

February 24th, 2011
7:40 am

As an independent recruiter, I can work anywhere on planet earth that I can connect to the Internet and get on the phone. It is liberating and far more productive to work virtual.

Road Warrior

February 24th, 2011
7:49 am

Road Scholar – “As long as the managers follow up with telecomuter workers to ensure the work is being done, it works!”

I agree, unfortunately there are still far too many managers out there that still cling to the notion that if they can see the employee, then that employee must be working. Apparently thinking creatively and looking at technology to save cost still takes a back seat to the old manager 9-5 mentality. Sad.

kim

February 24th, 2011
7:53 am

i love the idea of total reign over my time and look for telecommuting as a deal maker when considering jobs. i too like being able to “work” wherever i am no matter what time of day. my life stop being able to revolve around a 9 – 5 shedule a long time ago, and the stress of fitting it into a 9 – 5 time frame isn’t an option.

Bob

February 24th, 2011
8:05 am

I used to telecommute full-time for 4 years straight, no problems at all. Now I’m in a job that doesn’t allow telecommuting and I just can’t understand why?? They would get a lot more work out of me if they would allow telecommuting. And what do I do for a living???- I’m a web developer!! Of all positions that could work remotely. People can “collaborate” from anywhere, but somehow managers are still stuck to the idea of having all the developers in the same room. This employer I have has none of my loyalty, and I’m out of here as soon as I find another job that allows telecommuting!

CM

February 24th, 2011
8:14 am

My employer allows me to work from home on Fridays. Alot of people at my office have very long commutes (including me) and this really helps out. Not only gas wise but pain on the body.. If prices continue to rise, I am planning on asking for another day at home… I have proved myself to my boss that I do work when I am home so I am hoping that this will be an option. I worked from home for 6 weeks after surgery and it worked well except that I had to get someone to bring me paperwork that I needed periodically.

Road Warrior

February 24th, 2011
8:21 am

Bob – “They would get a lot more work out of me if they would allow telecommuting.”

Exactly! I remember a few years back, I worked for a company that didn’t believe in telecommuting. The irony was that several times during the year, we would send Advisors out to the client sites out West for 2-3 weeks at a time. Between my cell, my laptop and the business center in the hotel, nothing fell between the cracks, and all work was done usually ahead of time. Despite that, managment still frowned upon telecommuting because they feared it would lead to a decrease in productivity. Idiots! Thank God those days are past for me. the only reason i go to the office is to have access to hard copies of the files I need. If we switched to 100% server storage, we could close the entire office and still be just as profitable.

Amy

February 24th, 2011
8:21 am

I have been telecommuting for 11 years..the last 7, I have had no office of record outside my home. I don’t know if I could go back…I don’t know how people sit in their cars for hours on the days…and the dry cleaning/lunch bills. I fill my tank once per month!!
Vacations can be extended by working from the pool…I can extend a few days and work from wherever there is wifi and cell phone access.
The downside, they do own you…I do work longer days into nights and you never leave for an overnight stay without your laptop.

Average Joe

February 24th, 2011
8:25 am

Teleworking works great if you have job tasks that can be done at home. My company allows employees to telework all they want. My job tasks require that I be on-site all the time, so I’m stuck here at work. But teleworkers beware because when my company had a round of layoffs last year they zeroed in on the people who were rarely seen around the office. That might be the only thing that saved me.

Road Scholar

February 24th, 2011
8:32 am

Road Warrior: Agreed! And teleworking does not permit the worker from participating in putting out “fires” in the office, something that regularly ruined my intent on completing scheduled work. Working from home is a benefit since it nearly eliminates the disruptions caused by employees issues and incessant phone calls. Also having “quiet time” at work doesn’t work, esp for youe bosses!

Kristin

February 24th, 2011
8:34 am

I telecommute to DC on a daily basis and I love it. All of my work can be done via conference call and internet. I get more done in one day at home workwise than I do with several days in the office. At home there are less interruptions.

JM

February 24th, 2011
8:39 am

I telecommute once or twice a week, saving 2.5 hours of sitting in lousy metro Atlanta traffic each day. It’s wonderful and I get much more done.

Bud

February 24th, 2011
8:41 am

I have been working from home for the past 5 years, and like everyone else, it has its pros and cons. For me, I do enjoy the freedom, and i dont miss the hour long commute back and forth to the office.

However, I do miss the daily interaction with co-workers and other people. You can get pretty tired of the same old faces 24 hours a day. Unfortunately all project managers in my company work from home, and we dont have an office to go into even if we wanted to 1 or 2 days a week.

NotFair

February 24th, 2011
8:45 am

My company allowed us to telecommute one day a week and now 2011 we are no longer allowed to. It is like we have gone back in time.

bhorsoft

February 24th, 2011
8:56 am

I in the computer/telecommunications industry and I telecommute 2 – 3 times a week. We have conference bridges for meetings and I can do everything else from my computer with e-mail, chat clients, and web pages, I have less distractions, but I still get to put out the daily “fires” remotely.

The nice thing about telecommuting is I get to work “normal” hours (7:30 to 5:30) instead of working a bit from home, leaving at 9:00 and coming home at 8:00 to avoid traffic. The dress code is a bit more relaxed at home as well – sweats instead of jeans.

I don’t know if if saves me all that much money. I ride a motorcycle to work and get an average of 40 MPG on it (and yes, I even ride in cold weather), but when I work from home I need to override the thermostat and either boost the heat or AC from the normal “not at home” temps. I also have to buy my own coffee at home. :-)

Road Warrior

February 24th, 2011
8:57 am

NotFair – “My company allowed us to telecommute one day a week and now 2011 we are no longer allowed to.”

What was the reason they gave you?

The Economy

February 24th, 2011
8:57 am

It’s the future, especially with gas prices going higher.

Road Warrior

February 24th, 2011
9:00 am

The Economy – “It’s the future, especially with gas prices going higher.”

Since when has management ever considered the future cost scenario? If that was the case, Atlanta would look like a ghost town from all the Telecommuting. LOL :)

JCV

February 24th, 2011
9:09 am

Would love to and my job duties would be great for a part time telecommute, but my company won’t discuss it. So much for my company willing to move forward.

Happy at Home

February 24th, 2011
9:11 am

I only go into the office once or twice a month and really don’t need to go in then. I love working at home. Instead of sitting in traffice 2 hours a day, my employer gets those 2 hours of work from me. Also, I am must less stressed out than when I have to drive into the office. My current manager is in another state, so who cares where I’m working as long as I’m accessible. A previous manager was in the same office. He liked to “see” his folks in the office. Not necessarily for work purposes though. I think he just had that old-timer management attitude about having his folks under his thumb. If I were not being productive, it would take my boss less than a week to know it. But, I am definitely more productive at home.

AmazonRed™

February 24th, 2011
9:13 am

My job allows telecommuting for it’s employees one day a week. We are a small company, so we stagger telecommute days amongst employees so that office is never empty.

It worked great for the ice storm, everyone fired up and kept on working.

It does take displine though. Often times I work from my bed, but I leave the TV off so I don’t get distracted.

Telecommuting is the greatest thing!

Road Warrior

February 24th, 2011
9:23 am

We used to have a saying about the managers that didn’t believe in telecommuting – “I can surf the web here or at home, it’s your choice”. :)

Tyrone Biggums

February 24th, 2011
9:31 am

I work for a Fortune 20 company, and the telecommuting policy varies by department. I’m in corporate finance, and we are allowed to do one day per week from home. The only rules are that it can’t be the same day every week, and that you have to be online and accessible by Instant Message.

I love the one day a week option, because it eliminates one day of commute and allows me to be home for appointments, etc. However, I wouldn’t want to do more than one or two days a week. I enjoy being in the office and talking to co-workers.

Techmom

February 24th, 2011
9:49 am

Been working from home for 6 1/2 years and can’t imagine going back to a daily commute. At the time I began telecommuting, it took me submitting my letter of resignation before they allowed it. I agreed to work from home until they found my replacement. Never happened. I think they were afraid to agree to it b/c then someone else might want to do it (shocking, I know). Fast forward 3 years and 90% of the people I work with work from home full time now. I do enjoy going into the office on occassion but unfortunately there aren’t many people there anymore so I usually plan a day in the office when I know some of my co-workers will be there and we can go to lunch and catch up.

I do think there are some people who can’t hack working from home. And there are definite struggles to keeping a cohesive work force when you never see each other (it’s a lot easier to complain about someone you’ve never met face-to-face). The further strain is that I work for a consulting company so other than the few people who work with me on the same project, I don’t have much of a connection to my company.

TnGelding

February 24th, 2011
9:59 am

Don’t pollute, telecommute!

Great, I’ve been for this for 20 years. My wife started to try it but just went ahead and retired.

Clarabell

February 24th, 2011
10:05 am

Telecommuting gets rids of the petty politics that abound in offices. No office politics. I, for one, have endured years of petty gossip — who wears what shoes, etc. and what time so-and-so went to lunch and with whom.

Pumpkinsmommy

February 24th, 2011
10:23 am

I telecommute twice a week and it’s wonderful!!

Cruzman

February 24th, 2011
10:26 am

It worked fine at our company until a new management team arrived. They stopped work from home unless its an off shift emergency. Another dumb policy and a waste of resources.

Atlanta Native

February 24th, 2011
10:30 am

I’ve been telecommuting for decades, wouldn’t have it any other way. Cannot stand wasting time in traffic and wonder why companies are so slow to implement it. We sent ALL of our employees home before the ‘96 Olympics and haven’t looked back since. Who cares if we’re all in the same office? What a waste of time and money.

Margaret

February 24th, 2011
10:35 am

I like to eat spaghetti in my car while driving.

diamond lane larry

February 24th, 2011
10:37 am

Over the course of twenty years, I did both commute and telecommute. The commuter lane removes a perfectly good lane from commuter service, confuses drivers, probably causes accidents, and does NOTHING to force multiple riders per vehicle. Otherwise, telecommuting has limited value and is very dependent on the nature of the business (can’t do factory assembly of a Chevy with an internet connection) and discipline of the worker (mommies will defer to screaming kids every single time). All in all, there are so many stumbling blocks to American production that it’s a wonder we produce as much as we do.

Twiga

February 24th, 2011
10:50 am

I telecommute four days out of the week (sometimes five) and I absolutely love it! I even had ownership comment on how productive I was recently and how happy they are with my work ethic. My company was against it at first, but after they saw how well we all do and that we are doing our jobs, they seem to have accepted it and are fine with it. It also helped that at least three of us had over hour drives and made the point that this could have been time we could have been working.

I wish other companies would be as flexible and open minded, like my husband’s. He works in a technology field and can only work from home if he has something he needs to do. In the year he has worked there, the mileage he has put on the car is insane, and I can see what the commute is doing to him. The worst part about it is, they have the infrastructure in place to allow it, they just won’t because of the “warm fuzzies” they get from having everyone in the office.

But coming from a highly political corporation that the only way to get ahead was to kiss alot of behind, as well as having a highly restrictive dress code and alot of BS, and going to a laid back company that allows working from home like mine does, I couldn’t be happier. Love working from home in my PJs with a purring cat on my lap. I really don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to working in an office again.

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TnGelding

February 25th, 2011
12:23 am

It’s near unanimous. Are you listening, corporate America?

BladeRunner

February 27th, 2011
1:03 pm

I’ve been teleworking since 2001. Two days a week. Through 6 bosses. Now I have a new boss and am fighting to keep the perk I had earned 10 years ago. I’m trying to put together a proposal to show why I should remain a telecommunter twice a week. My company is part of the clean air campaign, and I was part of it’s pilot program- that was at least one merger ago. Now telecommuting is strictly up to the manager. Any advice besides the obvious to swing things my way?