Saturday, February 19, 2011

Getting to Work

A few days ago, during an impromptu conversation about the pros and cons of telecommuting, a co-worker said, "anyone would like to work from home if they could." I was surprised at the sentiment, because I definitely wouldn't. There are several reasons for that, including the fact that we already have one works-at-home person in our household & there's not room for two, and the fact that I'd find it hard to concentrate on work at home.

According to my co-worker, the reason most people would like to telecommute is to avoid their commute. But my commute is a positive thing for me. Most of the time, I commute by bicycle. In the unusual times that's not possible, like when the streets are icy, I ride the bus (which requires walking nearly a mile). I occasionally walk for a change of pace, or if my bike's in the shop for repair. On the few days that I have to drive to work, I don't feel I'm as alert as I should be when I arrive. Walking up two flights of stairs doesn't have the same invigorating effect that biking 3 1/2 miles does.

Several years ago, I wrote an article about alternative transportation for the Going Green issue of the OLA Quarterly. Library staff shared their experiences getting to work without driving, or without driving much. It was inspiring to hear how much people enjoy their commutes.

Re-reading the article just now, I'm sad to note that some of the things state employees on the capital mall used to enjoy are no longer true: we no longer get unlimited-use bus passes for a one-time $8 fee, and "smart commuters" not longer get coupon books. I'm not so sad about the loss of the coupon books, but the fact that a monthly bus pass can be nearly as expensive as parking has caused some to give up the bus and start driving to work.

I know alternative transportation isn't for everyone, for any number of reasons. I also think telecommuting is a great option for folks with appropriate jobs. For me, though, I'll continue getting to work under my own power, and consider myself lucky that I can.

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