• United States

Georgia governor makes good

Sep 16, 20033 mins
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* Perdue unveils plans for easing Metro Atlanta gridlock

During his 2002 campaign for governor, Sonny Perdue got people excited by linking telework and family values. He promised to make telework standard practice, give families more time at home as “life is re-centered on the home and not the workplace,” and he vowed to make high-speed Internet access ubiquitous (see editorial link below).

But after the election, Gov. Perdue went quiet on telework as his promises ran up against the state’s economic realities. One of the two groups vying for the state’s $1.8 billion telecom contract (called the Converged Communications Outsourcing Project)  pulled out; Perdue formed a task force to review the project, and in February recommended the Georgia Technology Authority abandon the COOP bid (see editorial link below).

But last week, the governor unveiled his “Work Away” plan, aimed at easing Metro Atlanta’s traffic congestion. Geared toward the state’s 90,000 employees, Work Away is a management program that allows Georgia’s largest employer select employees to telework from  home or other remote locations for one or more days per week.

“This program will reduce traffic and increase productivity of employees while defining state government as a model for high-tech business practices,” Perdue says. 

In tandem with Work Away, Perdue also announced details on his “Georgia Gets Going” transportation bond package. The $424 million plan includes money for Metro Atlanta arterial road improvement and transit projects.

At a news conference, Perdue said the first employees selected for the Work Away program will likely have their own home computers,  and state officials are determining whether state money could be spent on home office equipment.  Perdue’s plan will build on a six-month pilot program in which 39 employees eliminated 29,787 driving miles by teleworking and could eventually involve 25,000 state employees,  according to reports from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In addition to Work Away, the state also lets employees work flexible schedules and follow alternative schedules, such as working four 10-hour days per week, or two weeks of nine-hour days with one day off per period.

Georgia’s new initiative dovetails nicely with a program by the state’s Clean Air Campaign, which involves educating Georgia businesses  on telework, car pooling and flexible work schedules. Today, the Clean Air Campaign works with more than 400 area businesses, and its Cash for Commuters program earns teleworkers $3 per day (and up to $180 over three months) for using commuting alternatives.

Future plans including stepping up the telework piece of its education program.  Georgia workers can enroll in Cash for Commuters here: