Austin took on a city-wide experiment with shifting commutes on May 11. Employers and employees all over the city tried new ways of getting to work, choosing anything from transit and trying out flexible hours. Some employers, like Dell, already have work-at-home programs in place. Dell’s Connected Workplace program allows about 25% percent of its employees to work remotely. The company estimates that attracts the best talent, and saves Dell about $13 million annually.
Other employers embraced the challenge to try out options: 75% of Enviromedia’s employees teleworked on May 11, and others used bikes and Car2Go to commute to the office. At Ink PR, some employees rode their bikes to work. And the Austin American-Statesman encouraged those employees who were able to telework to do so.
The goal of Austin Don’t Rush was to make a dent in rush hour congestion by having fewer single-occupant vehicles on the road at the same time. The Austin Transportation Department doesn’t yet have the data to show if that shift in commute modes did indeed impact rush hour congestion. Social media reactions ranged from skeptical to humorous to appreciative, with some travelers noting a better commute.