Telework Week offers incentives to join alternative commute options

By David Pendered

Gov. Nathan Deal has proclaimed Nov. 12 through Nov. 16 as Telework Week, and again this year the event provides incentive programs that encourage drivers to log their alternative to driving to work alone in a vehicle.

The incentives this year include:

  • Gimme Five: A new program in which participants can earn $5 a day – up to a total of $150 – for shifting from driving alone work to teleworking, or choosing another clean commute option;
  • $25 Prizes: Existing clean commuters are entered to win monthly $25 prizes for logging their clean commute options – including teleworking.
traffic, buckhead, piedmont, lenox

Telework Week aims to reduce the number of commuters on the road. The event has yet to make a significant impact on the Wednesday afternoon rush hour, around 3:30 p.m., at this intersection of northbound Piedmont Road at the Lenox Road extension. Credit: David Pendered

As with many programs in the region as the date of the Super Bowl draws near, sponsors of this year’s Telework Week remind commuters that this is a chance to test a commute alternative they may need to use as game day, and game crowds, approach – including events slated during the 11 days surrounding game day:

  • “Georgia Commute Options is challenging metro Atlanta employers to launch their own telework programs and expand current programs, noting the opportunity to test the value of teleworking for business continuity during the 2019 Super Bowl LIII event.”

Georgia Commute Options is managed by the Atlanta Regional Commission. The governor cited the program in his proclamation, observing that it and similar organizations help companies establish telework programs and promote flexible work arrangements.

As Georgia Commute Options has in the past, the organization is encouraging both companies and employees to switch their commute patterns. According to a statement from GCO marketing director Jill Goldberg:

  • “As the average Atlanta commuter spends 17 percent of their drive time in congestion during peak hours within the area, we hope to reduce traffic and drive change to more sustainable commute alternatives by promoting the benefits of teleworking.
  • “Beyond the time- and money-saving benefits for workers, teleworking is also shown to boost productivity and wellness by lowering the stress associated with hectic commutes.”
Habersham Road

Telework has yet to result in a significant reduction in traffic congestion along Habersham Road, located near the governor’s mansion and backing up on Wednesday toward the intersection with West Paces Ferry Road. Credit: David Pendered

The governor’s proclamation included some information that underscores the degree to which telecommuting can affect traffic flow and its impact in the region, including:

  • “The projected average annual impact of one day of telecommuting in Georgia is 2,600 fewer miles driven, more than 55 hours of commute time saved, and a reduction of smog in the air we breathe.”

Telecommuting is one of several programs Georgia Commute Options promotes to help reduce the region’s reliance on trips made to work in single occupant vehicles.

A signature event is the bike-to-work program named, Biketober.

The program has drawn an increasing number of riders over time. In 2017, the number of participants increased by 31 percent over the prior year, with more than 200 participating organizations, 2,200 participants and 221,000 miles logged. In addition, riders that year logged nearly 30,000 trips during the challenge, which marked nearly a 50 percent increase over 2016.

The incentives in Biketober were significant, according to a statement from Georgia Commute Options:

  • “Prizes include $15= to $150 worth of bike gear, restaurant gift cards, and a one-year, annual membership to the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
  • “The grand prize winner was to receive a brand-new bike valued at $1,000.
  • “Participants were entered to win the international prize with every logged ride. The international winner can choose between a trip to the Grand Canyon or New Zealand.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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