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"Car-cation": Take a Vacation From Your Car

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For those who had off on Monday, I hope you enjoyed your three day weekend and sorry about all of the emails in your inbox. I was working away and actually had to take one of those infrequent trips into the office for some in-person meetings.

Here's the highlight of my Monday. Traffic, or I should I say, lack of traffic. I couldn't believe how fast I got to the office. A regular day would take me more than two hours. Rain? Three hours. Snow? Fuhgeddaboudit. If you were one of the few that traveled to work on Monday, then you understand my delight. It was a commuter's dream. Foot on the gas and a vacation for my brake pedal -- I may have even skirted over the speed limit a time or two, unintentionally, of course. Let's face it, how often do you actually get to even go the speed limit during rush hour?

So, what's even better than a clear road? Not being on the roads at all. Today, I had my 30-second commute. Telework. This time of year, I get really excited about Telework Week -- March 5-9. It's our chance to not test the roads and take that 30-second commute. Last year, close to 40,000 employees across the globe teleworked. This year, we expect to exceed these limits, with more than 22,000 pledges already made. Join us and pledge at www.teleworkexchange.com/teleworkweek. There's a handy calculator on the site that counts pledges, total commuting costs saved, and emissions reduced.

So, if you are new on the telework block, here's what you can expect during Telework Week:

  • More Smiles: Eliminating those stressful commutes will make employees (and you) happier. Teleworkers don't sit in traffic, are known to be as, if not, more productive, and happier with the hours they've regained. A happy employee is a productive employee.
  • More Money: The average Telework Week pledge will save some $60 by not commuting for one week. Translating for a year, that's $3,000 back in your wallet. Have you noticed the price of gas recently? I thought so. Many are seeing $4/gallon, with fears of paying $5/gallon in the near future.
  • More Balance: Take your commute out of the mix and you have more time to balance your work and family. It's time to focus on what matters, and eliminate what really doesn't. According to the University of Southern California, drivers traveling the 10 worst U.S. traffic areas spend on average 140 hours annually sitting in traffic. That's almost a full month of work, and more time spent in traffic than on vacation.

So why telework now? It's the telework perfect storm -- there has never been such a need for this work practice before -- the need to be flexible yet efficient, save time as well as money, and keep that workforce happy. And for those cannot possibly telework, think about telework a different way. Teleworkers will certainly contribute to your commute being that much smoother.

Still sitting on cloud nine from this morning's non-commute, I'll definitely be off the roadways for Telework Week. Will you?

Cindy Auten is general manager for Telework Exchange and clearly has issues with commuting. She can be reached at cauten@teleworkexchange.com.