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How a Custom-Fit Workplace Can Save Money and Reduce Emissions

Bill Roth | Wednesday November 2nd, 2011 | 0 Comments

If your daily roundtrip commute to work is around 40 miles then you are spending approximately $2,000 per year on fuel.  AAA estimates that the hidden costs of car insurance, oil changes, annual depreciation on your car purchase, etc. add a whooping $3,000 more to your annual costs. In addition, you are pumping approximately 20 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere per gallon of gasoline during your daily commute.

Increasingly, large corporations and small businesses are creating workplace innovations that save money for their associates by reducing their commutes while also making money for the business. Joan Blades, co-founder of both MoveOn.Org and MomsRising, has written with Nanette Fondas a new book called The Custom-Fit Workplace that captures examples of these best practices.   My video interview with her is located below this summary…

The Custom-Fit Workplace has these three components:

  • Telework
  • Performance based management
  • Non-Linear career paths

The business case for telework is growing. Examples include:

  • AT&T New Jersey achieving a $6 million ANNUAL real estate savings
  • 1-800 Contacts gaining $40,000 in per person sales revenues after adopting teleworking
  • Enhanced work associate retention rates achieved by large companies and even small businesses like Johnson Storage and Moving of Denver, Colorado.

Key best practices are emerging from these business case studies. For work associates a key success factor is the ability to duplicate a work environment in their home or other non-central-office work locations. That means having a quite place to work without interruptions plus a dedicated phone and computer. It also requires a discipline to focus upon performance and the commitment to achieve measurable goals.

There are also key best practices for management. The first step is to review the range of jobs to identify those that are truly suitable for telework. A performance based management style is a critical step. All managers say they have this but in reality many are influenced by their “face time” with their associates. A successful telework system must have a rewards system that financially and psychologically recognizes those who deliver on performance targets. Another key best practices is having operational protocols that reflect a geographically distributed workforce including fair and consistent HR guidelines. Finally, a recommended start-up path is to begin with a pilot program of volunteers that will capture best practices for associates and management.

Telework also generates impressive societal benefits. Blades cites studies that show massive reductions in our country’s unsustainable trade deficit from reduced oil imports if those who could work remotely actually did work remotely only during half of their work week. And the savings in green house gas emissions are estimated at an annual 50 million metric tons!

In the following exclusive video interview Joan Blades talks about how the investment in developing a custom-fit workplace can create near term business profits, improvements in associates’ work experiences and solutions for our economy and the environment:

Bill Roth is the founder of Earth 2017. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles best practices of businesses that are making money going green. Through the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundations’ Green Builds Business program funded by Walmart he is coaching hundreds of businesses across the United States on the design and implementation of projects that will make money and a difference within 120 days.


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