Local News

Raleigh Employees Work From Home To Improve Air Quality

Posted January 17, 2006 7:06 a.m. EST

— Kay Atkinson is an employee of the city of Raleigh, but she works in Apex.

"Send me an e-mail or instant message," Atkinson says into her telephone as she sits at her desk.

The utility billing staff assistant is working from home.

Employees have done it in the private sector for years. With proven national results in productivity and reduced absenteeism, the city is now trying it as part of a six-month pilot telework program. It's goal: to improve air quality.

"It's more and more important as we continue to grow -- and the city wants to show and demonstrate to other businesses and use best practices and have a measurable affect on air quality," said Raleigh Assistant City Manager Julian Prosser.

The city thinks the pilot program really has potential to improve the air's quality. With just the initial 29 participants in the pilot program, nearly 40 gallons of fuel are saved a day and employees are driving 856 miles less.

For two days a week, Atkinson has given up her one-way 45 minute commute.

"My stress level has dropped significantly," she said.

But her work level is on the rise.

"I can sit down and do as much work in two hours that would take me three to four hours because I have no interruptions," Atkinson said.

If the initial pilot works, the city hopes to expand the program and have even more empty offices at city hall.

In the long run, leaders also believe the telework program can save money on additional office space.