Tuesday, June 24, 2008

MetroWest Companies That Offer Commuter-Friendly Perks

As a commuter (albeit, one with a pretty short commute), I'm interested in the different ways that companies offer to make their employees daily commutes a little easier.

Yesterday, The MetroWest Daily News, published a nice article that highlights different companies based in the MetroWest area that offer commuter-friendly perks.

Intel, with offices in Hudson, leads the pack. They've offered tele-commuting options to their employees for years. That's the cool thing about tech companies - they sometimes extend different work-friendly perks. One of my friends works at Google and she gets to ride to work for free because Google offers carpool vans that commute from San Francisco to Mountain View, CA every day. My friend started using the vans a few years ago during the first steep gas increase. Not only can she take advantage of the van's wi-fi, she gets to miss out on the aggravation of driving along the 101. A cynic could say that Google just wants their employees to work more, whereas an optimist would say that Google just makes it easier for their employees to live life.

Now back to Intel. Why do they offer their employees the ability to tele-commute? Here are some reasons:
"Everybody at Intel, except perhaps for people who work directly in the fabrication, have notebook computers they can take home with them," said company spokesman Patrick Ward. "I live in Arlington. I work four days in the office and one day at home.

"It works well at Intel, and it does reduce commuting, as well as stress on employees."

Though he wasn't sure exactly how many of the company's employees work from home on any given day, Ward said the number is "definitely growing."

"When you combine the gasoline with the time in the car and the wear and tear on the car, I think the rising price of gasoline may be something that tips the balance," he said.

Of course, employees at different companies want to be able to either tele-commute or more hours spread over fewer days for different reasons, including saving money on gas costs and adding an extra day to their personal life. I know some of my friends who work at companies along Route 128 or in the Maynard area like to be able to work from home because it gives them extra time - time not spent waiting in traffic or sitting on a train or bus.
It's a benefit more and more employees want to get in on, said Dinah Cardin, outreach coordinator for the Northshore Transportation Management Agency and a spokeswoman for MassCommute.

The Boston-based group works with dozens of companies throughout the state to promote carpooling and tele-commuting as ways to ease congestion on roads and make commuting easier on workers.

The article also mentioned that EMC encourages carpooling. As of May 2008, they had 139 commuters registered as carpoolers; 40 of the commuters signed up in May alone.

The CEO of the Milford Chamber of Commerce predicts that more companies will offer flex-time. "The price of gasoline isn't going down. They've got to work with employees."

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