Austin Tests Telecommuting, Initiates Work From Home Pilot Program

Simon Dudley, Video Evangelist, LifeSize

There are many reasons to love Austin, Texas: its natural beauty of the Hill Country, plenty of new restaurant openings and well-established eateries, its popular music festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest, its “weirdness” and of course, its local economy which is one of the best places to start a career in the technology industry. (I’ve even heard the nickname, “Silicon Hills.”) And it seems I am certainly not alone in my thinking.

Anyone who has been to Austin knows what a nightmare commuting is; it is a small town whose popularity boomed seemingly overnight. It is estimated that 77 people move to our fair city each day (actually, that’s only Austin and Round Rock, it does not account for other nearby suburbs). Though this is a wonderful thing for our local economy, rush hour has become more and more congested with each passing day. A study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute concluded that Austin traffic is the third worst in the nation. State forecasters predict the region’s population will continue to grow to nearly 2 million residents in 2013. Enough with the numbers, I think you get my point.

Telecommuting is one solution to the traffic problem in Austin.

I recently read in the Austin Business Journal that the city council has passed a one-day initiative for a Work From Home pilot program to reduce air pollution. Working from home is not a new idea to me. In fact, I worked from home myself for many years. But of course, I work for a video conferencing company – of course you’d expect me to endorse this kind of model. It’s nice to see folks outside of the industry giving telecommuting a fair shot. It really is a great solution to our problems, especially in Austin. Not only will it free up our highways and decrease pollution, it will lead to a happier, more productive workforce. I have a feeling that after February 8, a lot more companies will take a more serious look at telecommuting.

I highly encourage businesses in Austin (and all over, for that matter) to participate in this initiative. Otherwise, all of this traffic might drive you crazy.

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6 Responses to Austin Tests Telecommuting, Initiates Work From Home Pilot Program

  1. Jose says:

    Great idea. But there are pitfalls to telecommuting from home. I’ve found that I work best elsewhere other than home. I have way too many distractions at home which test my discipline. Doesn’t neccessarily mean you can’t be productive from home it just means that you have to be cognizant of how you setup your workspace; not in room with TV, not in bed and definitely have a desk-type environment.

  2. Brice Salvadge says:

    These days, working at home isn’t just a pipe dream — it’s an economic necessity. The Great Recession forced more than 300,000 stay-at-home moms to return to work. And in a recent retirement poll commissioned by Allstate, nearly 70% of near-retirees said they plan to continue working past age 65. -

    My personal web portal
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  3. Gale Blasen says:

    Simon, Thanks for sharing the tips in this post. Very helpful indeed! I cn’t believe 77 people per day!

    Gale

  4. Hi Simon, before moving out of state my Father used to work at the Austin Business Journal. Great town and lots to see. Like you mentioned the traffic there is pretty crazy but I suppose that’s the price you pay for progress. We were looking at moving back but it’s getting so crowded there!

    Thanks for the post,

    German & Kathy

  5. Sara says:

    Nice insightful post here. I had a great read. I like flexible working which helps me to balance work and home effectively. Telecommuting also increases employees morale and makes them more productive.

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