News

Air district asks employers to 'cut the commute' by expanding remote work options

Regional leaders seek to continue downward trends of traffic post-pandemic

Rush hour at the intersection of El Camino Real and Page Mill Road in Palo Alto on March 19. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District along with Santa Clara County asked Bay Area employers to sign the "Cut the Commute Pledge" that extends teleworking for employees and maintains air quality progress after shelter-in-place orders are eased.

Employers who sign the pledge would commit to extend teleworking by at least 25 percent of employees if their work allows it. Employers would also vow to include a formal work-from-home policy as part of the employee benefits package in an attempt to improve both the air quality and quality of life for Bay Area residents.

In the first seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bay Area saw a 32 percent reduction to CO2 emissions. This is in large part due to the significant decrease in vehicle traffic, as transportation is the top source of air pollution in the region.

"The pandemic has shown us that remote work is possible and productive for many while offering an alternative to traffic gridlock and mega commutes — leading to open roads, healthier air and happier employees," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the BAAQMD.

The reduction in traffic congestion has also led to safer roads. From early March until the first week of May, Bay Area injury crashes declined by 63 percent, according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

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"Even after the pandemic of coronavirus, it doesn't have to be business as usual, especially in terms of how we work and how often we get in our cars," said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "Without the congestion on the freeways and bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can see the surroundings of our mountains, we see more animals, we see more opportunities to engage with our families. The air is fresh, and our eyes and our lungs are not burning."

Benefits of cutting the commute also include cost savings for employers and employees, improved employee recruitment and retention, improved work-life balance as well as the increased ability to adjust business as part of a disaster recovery or emergency plan, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Santa Clara County signed onto the pledge promising to allow 22,000 employees countywide to work from home and encourage all departments to look at ways to support telecommuting as much as possible.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group was one of the groups to help develop and sign on to the pledge to increase telecommuting.

"The silver lining in this pandemic is cleaner skies and clearer roadways and we don't want to lose that as treatments and cures are discovered for COVID," said President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino.

Other companies that signed the pledge include the San Jose Water Company and Flipboard, a news aggregator that employs about 100 people in the Bay Area. Employers can sign the pledge at www.sparetheair.org.

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Air district asks employers to 'cut the commute' by expanding remote work options

Regional leaders seek to continue downward trends of traffic post-pandemic

by /

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 16, 2020, 10:03 am

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District along with Santa Clara County asked Bay Area employers to sign the "Cut the Commute Pledge" that extends teleworking for employees and maintains air quality progress after shelter-in-place orders are eased.

Employers who sign the pledge would commit to extend teleworking by at least 25 percent of employees if their work allows it. Employers would also vow to include a formal work-from-home policy as part of the employee benefits package in an attempt to improve both the air quality and quality of life for Bay Area residents.

In the first seven weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bay Area saw a 32 percent reduction to CO2 emissions. This is in large part due to the significant decrease in vehicle traffic, as transportation is the top source of air pollution in the region.

"The pandemic has shown us that remote work is possible and productive for many while offering an alternative to traffic gridlock and mega commutes — leading to open roads, healthier air and happier employees," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the BAAQMD.

The reduction in traffic congestion has also led to safer roads. From early March until the first week of May, Bay Area injury crashes declined by 63 percent, according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley.

"Even after the pandemic of coronavirus, it doesn't have to be business as usual, especially in terms of how we work and how often we get in our cars," said Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "Without the congestion on the freeways and bumper-to-bumper traffic, you can see the surroundings of our mountains, we see more animals, we see more opportunities to engage with our families. The air is fresh, and our eyes and our lungs are not burning."

Benefits of cutting the commute also include cost savings for employers and employees, improved employee recruitment and retention, improved work-life balance as well as the increased ability to adjust business as part of a disaster recovery or emergency plan, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Santa Clara County signed onto the pledge promising to allow 22,000 employees countywide to work from home and encourage all departments to look at ways to support telecommuting as much as possible.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group was one of the groups to help develop and sign on to the pledge to increase telecommuting.

"The silver lining in this pandemic is cleaner skies and clearer roadways and we don't want to lose that as treatments and cures are discovered for COVID," said President of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group Carl Guardino.

Other companies that signed the pledge include the San Jose Water Company and Flipboard, a news aggregator that employs about 100 people in the Bay Area. Employers can sign the pledge at www.sparetheair.org.

Comments

Robyn
another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm
Robyn, another community
on Jul 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm
3 people like this

Reduce the entire Bay Area population permanently by letting foreign workers here on Visas work remotely from their country of origin.
That would alleviate part of the shortage of resources throughout the valley and beyond. No more brown outs, gas lines, lack of hospital beds, shortage of teachers and police, etc. The cost of living would go down as well.


The Business Man
Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:59 pm
The Business Man, Old Mountain View
on Jul 16, 2020 at 5:59 pm
2 people like this

Given that AB5 makes as much as 50% of the independent contractors not legally able to work without being transitioned to employees. This advice will in fact put the final nails in the coffins of many jobs in the Bay Area for ALL workers.

Simply puty the Tech companies will move these contractors out of state and have them work remotely as long as they can keep them as contractors.

This upon the fact that COVID 19 was a BIG hit and was the largest potential FORCE to have the tech industry leave the area all together.

But Robyn, do not scapegoat any H1-B workers simply because you are looking for an easy target. The REAL targets should be Google, Facebook, Apple, Cisco, Intel, and all the other BIG fish that exploited workers by having non-compete agreements regarding staffing.

These companies were caught having an agreement that when an employee of say Apple, applies for a job with Google and was still employed, they would refuse to hire them. This was a cost cutting agreement because the employees could use their talents to up bid their earnings. The story is g found here " Exclusive: Apple, Google to pay $324 million to settle conspiracy lawsuit "(Web Link)

This situation is going to hurt a lot of economics in the area, especially real estate values and property taxes.


Gary
Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:59 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
on Jul 16, 2020 at 6:59 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed -- off-topic]


Ron
Blossom Valley
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Ron, Blossom Valley
on Jul 16, 2020 at 9:50 pm
Like this comment

I am very encouraged to hear about the openness / interest in remote work. It is not a 100% solution for everyone, but if employees who are able had the option to work from home for say, 1-2 days a week, that could be a great benefit for the community.


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