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Coordinated telecommuting: A creative and new way to help keep our air clean

Traffic jams (left) like this one in Miami produce large amounts of air pollution, create tremendous social stress, and steal time away from us all. The COVID-19 lockdowns have temporarily radically reduced traffic, as the picture of L.A. on the right attests.

blog logoHave you been enjoying the cleaner air where you live?

How about the reduced stress load due to having to do less driving and sit in far fewer traffic jams?

Yeah, I thought so! Me too!

We do NOT have to give this up. One way to maintain the cleaner air part of this equation that I have written about a lot on SolarChargedDriving.Com = 100% electrification + 100% renewable energy.

That’s a great equation, and it would help us to keep the clean(er) air we have been enjoying thanks to state, regional, national and global lockdowns.

But there are other ways, too!

One creative way I have recently come up with to ensure that we maintain at least some of the clean air + less traffic momentum we’ve created through COVID-19 lockdowns = what I think may be a brand new idea: Coordinated telecommuting

Coordinated telecommuting = When companies that are located in the same metropolitan region deliberately and systematically coordinate telecommuting of their employees in order to reduce traffic in that region.

Coordinated telecommuting would involve companies scheduling their employees such that some/most/all of their employees worked from home across a given time period during the same time that other companies in the same region schedule their employees to come in to work and the office.

The companies involved in a coordinated telecommuting effort would alternate days, weeks, months, etc. on which they had some/most/all of their employees come to work in a coordinated, systematic way with other companies.

Systematic regional coordinated telecommuting planning would occur through an internet-based platform/app/web site.

[Yes, this is where someone “steals” my idea and moves forward with it because I don’t know how to actually write the code, etc. necessary to make a coordinated telecommuting platform/app/web site work 😉 And, so far, no one I have approached with the idea (friends, family etc.) seems to have the time and/or expertise to help me out with this.]

There are several potential direct and indirect benefits to regional coordinated telecommuting for companies who chose to participate. There would also be myriad benefits for employees AND non-employees of those companies. In fact, there would be benefits for ALL of the people who lived in a region in which widespread, systematic and meaningful coordinated telecommuting took place.

heavy traffic on I-25
Heavy traffic on I-25 in South Denver.

Benefit No. 1 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Less Traffic. If enough companies participated in a coordinated telecommuting effort this could substantially reduce the amount of traffic in the region in which the companies are located.

Benefit No. 2 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Cleaner AirTraffic jams are a major source of air pollution in many regional areas. Fewer traffic jams = cleaner air. And the benefits of cleaner air are myriad, with health and environmental benefits topping the list. Economic benefits are also part of the equation because bad air = more people with major health problems and that means higher health care costs for everyone.

Benefit No. 3 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Increased ProductivityTraffic jams cost the United States alone nearly $90 billion in lost productivity. The reasons are obvious: The amount of work one can do and/or should do while driving is severely limited. Sitting in traffic means lost time that could be spent doing other things, including working and “producing” for the economy.

Benefit No. 4 of Coordinated Telecommuting = More Time for Lots of Us. The average American loses about 55 hours per year in traffic jams. We don’t need to just think about time lost/gained in terms of economic productivity: We can also think about it in terms of time for us to do more things we’d like to do: More time to work out, to spend outdoors, to invest in our kids, to invest in our hobbies, to invest in our lives. To be fair, not all jobs allow for telecommuting. However, if more people telecommuted, something which coordinated telecommuting would help ensure, the workers who have to drive to work would face less traffic and get there faster, and they, too, would gain “more time” for themselves. 

Working from home saves time, reduces traffic stress, and can improve one’s quality of life.

Benefit No. 5 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Companies Save Money. Shared office space = shared rental/office costs for companies! This probably would be the primary motivator for most companies. Many companies have found that they can save money by not having offices. Clearly, not all companies can, or want to, eliminate offices/workplaces entirely. Coordinated telecommuting would open up an opportunity for companies to potentially share the same office space with, for example, company A’s employees commuting to a “shared” office during week A, and company B’s employees commuting to that same “shared” office space during week B. This sharing could be spread across more than two companies, to three, four, five, indeed, who knows how many? 

Benefit No. 6 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Increased Opportunity and Motivation for Hybrid Work Models. During the COVID-19 lockdowns/stay-at-home orders and “era”, there has been considerable talk about some of the advantages and DIS-advantages of working from home with some people commiserating, for instance, about the disappearance of workplace socializing, camaraderie, etc. A coordinated telecommuting model would be a hybrid model  which would allow people across companies to experience the benefits of staying at home AND the benefits of being at work some of the time.

Benefit No. 7 of Coordinated Telecommuting = Companies That Participated Would Boost Their Green Image. Green is in, right? And green can help promote a positive public image for a company AND a positive internal image for that same company. Being able to say, “Our company participates in coordinated telecommuting and thereby reduces air pollution, traffic, and CO2” — all of these reductions COULD be measured and quantified by a sophisticated coordinated telecommuting platform/app — clearly boosts companies’ public image in a variety of ways.

So, there you have it: My contribution to the creativity of human thinking: A “treatise” for the rise of, and on the benefits of, coordinated telecommuting! 🙂

Yes, WE CAN think outside of the box and, NO, we DO NOT have to go back to the ways things were before, especially not back to our bad days of air pollution and traffic jams, two things that it’s pretty safe to say not a single human being on earth enjoys!

Are you with me? Can you help me/us make coordinated telecommuting a reality?

The average American spends the equivalent of 18 days of 24 hours each, or 432 total hours, per year driving. Reducing the amount of time spent driving would mean more time to do other things.