Sitting in gridlock wastes your time and the planet's fuel. The only solution, it seems, is to move your home next to the office. But what if you could move the office a little closer to home?
That, in essence, is the concept called proximate commuting. It works best for companies with multiple locations in one metro area. Gene Mullins, a software developer in Seattle, created a program that helps firms slash the time employees spend driving by matching them with work closer to home.
Mullins did studies for Starbucks, Key Bank, Boeing and, most recently, Seattle's fire department. He found that only 4% of the firefighters worked at the station closest to their home; some commuted 145 miles each way. At Boeing, daily commutes of its 80,000 Puget Sound employees total 85 circumnavigations of the earth. Using Mullins' program, some Key Bank branches reduced commutes of some workers 69%. Still, only about 20% of its employees work at the branch closest to their home, Mullins says. Yet escaping rush-hour traffic is its own reward. "For the same pay and the same job, who wouldn't want a shorter commute?
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