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.
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.