Is telecommuting the solution to heavy Nashville traffic?

FOX 17 News

Tired of Nashville traffic? Yes, that's a rhetorical question. However, this next one isn't. Have you asked your boss if you can work from home?

If you are the head of the company, have you considered letting workers telecommute?

Nashville city leaders say the city is going to need more businesses to open up to the idea as part of a bigger plan to manage the growing traffic problem.

Bumper-to-bumper traffic is a scene one Bellevue mom only sees on the news.

“I'm glad I don't have to do that,” Courtney Bricker-Anthony said.

She's a telecommuter. So, while baby is hard at work, so is she. She's an academic editor who one day decided to 'edit' traffic out of her life.

“I don't have to worry about commuting. I can get my work done on my own schedule," Bricker-Anthony said. "I can tend to my son when I need to.”

She's on the clock just like an office job and there's lots of accountability. She said her company sets firm deadlines that have to be met or else there are consequences for not meeting them.

Nashville City Hall calls this 'traffic demand management.' Nashville Mayor David Briley tells FOX 17 News Anchor Stacy Case the city is literally visiting businesses convincing them to let workers telecommute or shift their work day.

“So, we're going to work with business in the core of the city," Briley said. "We're going to work with Vanderbilt University. We’re going to work with all of the big employers.”

Right now, in Nashville, about seven percent of workers telecommute. More and more companies are figuring out that Nashville traffic gives them no other option.

In fact, many departments at Vanderbilt already do this. Steve Gild in Environmental Management works from home one day a week.

“The proof is always in the pudding," Gild said. "So, if you're concerned about employees cyber loafing at home, you might want to be concerned about them cyber loafing at work too.”

States like Vermont, Colorado and Minnesota aren't concerned. They're leading the way in telecommuting. Vermont even passed a law to become a "Remote Work at Home Haven."

Brie Reynolds is a senior career specialist with Flex Jobs. She says workers are just simply sick of sitting in traffic two or more hours a day.

“More employers are willing to do that if you give them a good pitch and tell them how it will benefit the company,” Reynolds explained.

With tunnels, light rail and AMP all failing, experts say telecommuting equals winning and Gild agrees.

“In 2018, employers need to be able to provide that benefit,” Gild said.

The top fields offering remote work are medical and health, customer service, IT, accounting, education and administration and the work ranges from entry level to executive positions. Some studies show companies save about $11, 000 dollars per telecommuter in office expenses and operational costs.

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