Telecommuting Boosts Productivity & Spares the Air

 By Debbie Parry and Marc Earnhardt

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of a series of posts—published every Wednesday during July—of what DEQ employees are doing to reduce emissions during the 2014 Clear the Air Challenge.

It’s Wednesday morning, telecommuting day for me and Marc—both of us are financial officers at DEQ. We avoid the rush-hour traffic as we stroll down the hall to “his” and “her” work stations in our Layton home, ready for work by 8 a.m.

My work space is the kitchen counter where I log onto my laptop and with remote access can process travel reimbursements and other requests without having to step outside. Marc sits down at a desk with a computer, in a spare bedroom-converted-office, and accesses DEQ’s secure accounting information to process payments and approve billing.

This once-a-week telecommuting is fiscally and environmentally advantageous for us, and the State of Utah, too.

Consider the following benefits:Telecommuting

  • Telecommuting protects air quality by a reduction in vehicle emissions, the primary cause of air pollution. It also is part of DEQ’s trip reduction policy. Gov. Gary Herbert ordered all state agencies to have a TravelWise plan in place to allow flexible work schedules, so employees can take transit or telecommute on days when the air quality is deteriorating. (Roughly 10% of DEQ’s workforce telecommutes at least once a week.)
  • Telecommuting conserves energy. It cuts down on energy use in the work place. It reduces the use of office equipment and transportation, which requires lots of energy.
  • Telecommuting improves an individual’s health and well-being through lowering stress linked to compromises that are usually made between work and family. It also eliminates the stress related to commuting to work and offers a good opportunity for employees to enjoy their work. In fact, telecommuting gives workers a chance to carry out their duties at home without compromising both their job productivity and family living.
  • Telecommuting increases productivity. Employees usually spend most of their time on activities like commuting to work. Since telecommuting removes this particular necessity, employees can concentrate more on their work duties.
  • Telecommuting allows me time to focus on the task at hand, with minimal interruptions that come with working in an office. Marc and I feel very fortunate to work one day a week from home. It helps rejuvenate us for the days when we carpool to the office.
This month’s “Clear the Air Challenge” is all about reducing emissions through trip reduction like telecommuting. Visit to register and participate. And come back to this blog to join the conversation about telecommuting.

Marc has been a financial analyst for 26 years for the State of Utah. Debbie has worked at the Department of Environmental Quality for 27 years in finance. In our spare time, we like to garden, Marc likes to cook, and Deb enjoys arts and crafts. We also enjoy fishing and camping.