500K Peach State Remote Workers Get Company During Telework Week

500K Peach State Remote Workers Get Company During Telework Week

Nearly half a million workers in the Peach State already telework occasionally, but the state's new weeklong celebration of remote work aims to add another quarter-million to the list, and save companies time and money to boot.

The Georgia Telework Week, created by the Clean Air Campaign and supported by governor Sonny Perdue, runs from August 23 - 27. The goal is to raise awareness among workers and employers about the benefits of working from home.

“Transportation has been a hot topic in Georgia this year, but while transportation projects press on, telework gives us the immediate ability to reduce demand on our existing infrastructure,” Kevin Green, executive director of The Clean Air Campaign, said in a statement. “For many jobs, work should be a thing you do, not a place you go.”

In advance of tougher new air quality standards that will be unveiled in late August, the state is putting some muscle behind its efforts to increase telework rates. The Clean Air Campaign launched its Telework Leadership Initiative in 2003, and has since gotten more than 250 employers to expand their telework programs.

The nonprofit group's website lists case studies from some of the state's telework leaders, including ADP, Aflac, Georgia Power, IBM, Porsche and Veenedaal Cave. The group estimates that there are about 500,000 occasional teleworkers in Georgia, with the potential for another 350,000 to do their work remotely.

The state has adopted a number of successful efforts to encourage telework, including a Telework Tax Credit, which gives employers up to $20,000 in tax credits for creating or expanding telework programs. The governor in 2003 also created the Work Away program to let some state employees work from home and which has cut workers' commutes by an estimate 65 million miles already in 2010.

There is no shortage of research on the benefits of remote working options, including a study released last month that found employers save $10,000 per teleworking employee every year. Two studies, one published in 2005 and one in 2010, found that workers with flexible schedules and telework options were more productive and more satisfied with their work.

Last month, President Obama signed an Executive Order that included greener commutes for federal workers as part of the government's emissions-reductions efforts. And every year, GreenBiz.com reports on the state of teleworking employees in its State of Green Business report. In 2010, the report found a slight uptick in remote workers, after a two-year stagnation due in part to concerns about being a highly visible worker as companies faced downsizing in the Great Recession.

Georgia's Telework Week runs from August 23 - 27, 2010; more information is available online at CleanAirCampaign.org/TeleworkWeek.