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earth dayDid you know that you could keep approximately 19 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere for each gallon of gas you don’t use? By itself that may not seem like a big number, but for those who commute 5 days a week, 20 days a month and around 260 days a year, that is a lot of carbon emissions.

Telecommuting has become increasingly popular at organizations around the world. Many are developing formal programs and seeing the benefits of increased employee productivity, improved morale and business continuity.  The Association of Commuter Transportation (ACT) reports that 83 percent of the Fortune 100 companies allow employees to telework, including companies such as Google, Microsoft, Genentech and Starbucks.

That’s not all, in fact several states, including Georgia and Virginia, allow qualified employers to receive tax credits for related telecommuting expenses.  In 2010, President Obama even signed into law the “Telework Enhancement Act of 2010” that required federal agencies to implement policies to promote telecommuting.

Telecommuting goes beyond the workplace as well. We are also seeing universities make an effort to lessen their carbon footprint by establishing commuter programs for students, faculty and staff.

With all of the many  reasons to telework, the one that stands out to me most on this Earth Day are the environmental benefits. The largest ecological footprint (carbon) for many organizations derives from workers commuting to work.  Worker commutes are listed as a scope 3 greenhouse gas emission by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Which is why I’m thankful to work for a company that makes it easier for people to work from anywhere. So today, like many other days, I don’t have to wear my road warrior hat and am doing my part by teleworking.

Do you want to know what your commuter carbon footprint is? Check out this calculator, courtesy of Stanford University, to find out the economic and environmental costs of your commute.

Hopefully, like me, you don’t have to commute today. Happy Earth Day!

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