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March 25, 2019

Mobility Monday


Featuring:  How to buy a bike

There are a lot of things to consider when purchasing a bicycle.  And considering most new bike's are going to cost you at least several hundred dollars, you want to do some research on what matters.  Here are 10 things that you should consider when making your decisions.

1. Start with what you are going to be using the bike for.  Are you just going to take it to the park once in a while and ride on the cement paths?  Are you looking to start doing mountain biking in some of our area parks that have hilly trails?  Do you want to just ride around the neighborhood with your toddler in tow?  Once you determine what you will be doing with the bike, then you can go from there.  If you are unsure of what kind of bike to buy based on what you goals are, the best thing you can do is to visit a local and trusted bike shop to get advice.  

2. Next firgure out your budget.  To get a good mountain bike, you most likely won't be spending anything less than $500.  Bikes can go up to the thousands of dollars, and quality does matter.  So before you even start shopping, set a budget based on how interested you are in this new hobby, how much you are willing to spend and how committed you are.

3. Test drive before you buy.  Even if you find a really goodlooking bike on a really good sale, but you hop on for a ride and something just doesn't feel quite right, you might not want to buy it.  You can request to have the bike fitted for you, and you can always make adjustments to things on the bike.  But this usually costs extra, and it can really add up if you need to make a lot of adjustments.

4.  Do not test drive a bike in the store and then buy it online.  If you are going to go to a bike shop (which I recommend!), you don't want to go there and get all of the advice you need and help and then take your business elsewhere.  It's not fair to do that, and you will want to maintain a relationship with your bike shop for the future.  Buying a bike is like entering into a relationship.  A lot of shops offer free tuneups and other perks to loyal customers.  Also, you can't guarantee the bike you order online will feel the same way as the one you tested at the store.

5. Don't forget to ask for discounts and sales.  Profit margins on new bikes are typicall small, so you may not be looking at huge savings, but it doesn't hurt to ask.  You may be able to haggle some higher margin accessories at a good discount.  And please make sure a helmet is your number 1 accessory on your list of must haves to add to your purchase.  I would go into the reasons why a helmet is so important, but it is such a long list, we will have to save that for another blog.

In Montgomery County, we are fortunate to have so many places, parks, and safe roadways to be able to ride on.  Buying a bike can be a big expense initially, but if you use it regularly for exericse, fun, commuting or running errands, your initial investment will be paid back to you in many ways.

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 18, 2019

Mobility Monday

NEXT WEEK: The 2nd Annual Transportation Summit

The room is set.  The speakers are confirmed.  The food is ordered.  Now, all that’s missing is YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please join us on Tuesday, March 26 from 9:00-11:00am at the Montgomery Township Community & Recreation Center (1030 Horsham Road) for our 2nd Annual Transportation Summit.  Where else can you hear all in one place the latest news from PennDot District 6, the PA Turnpike Commission, SEPTA and the Montgomery County Planning Commission?   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attendees at last year’s meeting learned about long-range planning for the Philadelphia region, new SEPTA Key roll-out dates, repairs coming to county-owned roads and bridges, and much more! Registration is $25 for PTMA members and $35 for non-members.  A continental breakfast is served.      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information or to register, please visit www.ptma-mc.org, call us at 215-997-9100 or pay at the door.

 

We look forward to welcoming you at the Summit!    

 

Submitted by:

Anthony Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2019

Mobility Monday


Featuring:  Bike Rodeos

One really fun way to get kids involved in learning about bike and helmet safety is to hold a “Bike Rodeo”.  It’s not the kind of rodeo with cowboy hats and boots.  It’s actually a fun event where children bring their own bikes, police and other safety officials can attend, there is usually some type of obstacle course set up for the kids to ride through, and then there are various safety demonstrations and even helmet fittings.  Of course, the details vary depending upon the event.  The idea is to have children practice their bicycle riding skills in a safe environment, with qualified people there to help children learn how to be safe while riding. The TMA enjoys supporting these Bike Rodeos because we know how important bike and helmet safety is. 

Here are some of the facts according to helmet.org:

  • From January 2006 through December 2015, more than 2.2 million children age 5 to 17 years were treated in US hospital emergency departments (EDs) for bicycle-related injuries. This averages to 608 cases per day, or 25 every hour.
  • Most injuries (45.7%) involved children 10 top 14 years of age and boys (72%).
  • Helmet users were less likely to injure head or neck (OR: 0.52) and be hospitalized (OR: 0.71).
  • Motor vehicle involvement increased the odds of bicycle-related traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) (OR: 1.98) as well as injury-related hospitalizations (OR: 4.04).
  • The most common injury regions were upper extremities (36%), lower extremities (25%), face (15%), and head and neck (15%). The most common types of injury were bruises and scrapes (29%) and cuts (23%).
  • Overall, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) represented 11% of total injuries and were most common among patients 10 to 14 years of age (44%). About 4% of patients were hospitalized.


Bicycle injuries and deaths affect children and young people more often than any other age group.

  • In 2005, 44 percent of nonfatal bicycle injuries occurred in children and youth age 5 to 20.
  • In 2005, the rate per million of nonfatal bicycle injuries in children and youth age 5 to 20 was 462.17 compared to 153.3 overall.
  • In 2005, children and youth age 0 to 20 made up 23.4 percent of bicycle fatalities.
  • In 2005, the rate per million of bicycle fatalities in children and youth age 5 to 20 was 4.37 compared to 2.64 overall.
  • In 2005, children under 15 accounted for 53 percent of bicycle injuries treated in emergency departments.
  • From 1999 to 2002, the average annual cost of bicycle fatalities in children and youth age 0 to 19 was $1.03 billion.
  • From 1999 to 2002, the average annual cost of nonfatal bicycle injuries in children and youth age 0 to 19 was $3.6 billion.

Young cyclists are more likely than adult cyclists to die of head injuries, most of which are caused by motor vehicle collisions. Among children and youth age 0 to 19 in 2000:

  • Head injuries accounted for 62.6 percent of bicycle fatalities.
  • Collisions with motor vehicles accounted for 75.7 percent of bicycle fatalities.
  • 61.7 percent of motor vehicle collision deaths were due to head injury.

Kids might initially be hesitant to wearing a helmet.  But as you can see, a little bit of frustration on your part as a parent or caregiver can mean your child’s life.  Always say yes to wearing a helmet.  Make it a rule from the start so they are less likely to resist.  The PTMA will be holding Bike Helmet Safety workshops around the Montgomery County area for local elementary schools.  If you are interested in working with us, contact us at info@ptma-mc.org.  Or call us at 215-997-9100.

 

 

 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2019

Mobility Monday

Every dynamic city has a dynamic transit agency, and Philadelphia is certainly no exception!  With an annual operating budget of $1.45B to service more than 1.3 million daily riders, SEPTA provides bus, trolley, light rail, commuter rail, and trackless trolley options throughout its 2,200 square mile service area – that’s twice the size of Rhode Island!

As you can imagine, an agency this large generates lots of news daily.  The Partnership TMA would like to catch you up on some of the latest updates from SEPTA:

  1.  SEPTA bus route schedules (including Routes 80, 94, 96, 132, 310, and 311) changed on February 24, 2019.
  2. New SEPTA Regional Rail schedules go into effect on Sunday, March 10, 2019.  The Lansdale/Doylestown timetable has “significant changes” that include earlier departure times and adjusted train service patterns.
  3. New 1-trip tickets and 1-trip tickets with transfer are now available for human services agencies that had found it difficult to provide trips to clients under SEPTA Key.  The new tickets serve the same purpose as traditional tokens – use only one per ride.
  4. Congratulations to our member, HNTB Engineers Inc., for winning a bid to provide design services on the Norristown High Speed Line’s extension to King of Prussia!  
  5. If you work or visit University City, we have a new bus route to tell you about! SEPTA Route 49 began service on February 24 and operates between Strawberry Mansion and Grays Ferry via 30th Street Station and Ben Franklin Parkway.
  6. Proof of valid fare is required at all Center City stations daily before accessing the platform to catch the train.

7. With the world-famous Philadelphia Flower Show in bloom through March 10, SEPTA ticket counters are selling show tickets/train fare combo passes at a significant savings!  Ambler, Fort Washington, and Lansdale will have extended hours on Saturday, March 9 from 8:30am – 3:00pm and Sunday, March 10 from 7:30am – 2:00pm.  (Enjoy this flashback picture from last year when our Marketing Coordinator, Tiffany, used SEPTA for the first time to attend the show!)

8. The Quiet Ride program on all Regional Rail lines is temporarily suspended to accommodate increased ridership during the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Thank you for reading – and riding!

 

 

By: Anthony Johnson

 

 

February 25, 2019

Mobility Monday

Featuring: Vision Zero   

I was able to attend a webinar this week about Vision Zero.  In case you don’t know what that is, it’s a strategy being adopted by communities across North America to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries.   While safe mobility is not a new concept, Vision Zero requires a shift in how communities approach decisions, actions, and attitudes around safe mobility.  Why is this necessary?  According to WHO, traffic accidents are the 8th leading cause of deaths globally.  The vision was first adopted as policy in Sweden in 1997, and since then, traffic deaths have dropped by 30%.  Here are some things I learned that are important areas to focus on for Vision Zero to become successful:

1.      What’s the difference between the prior approach and the Vision Zero approach?  Traffic related injuries and deaths were considered inevitable.  Focus was put on perfecting human behaviors to prevent injury and death, and the focus was on individuals.  Vision Zero says traffic deaths ARE preventable, focus on the system not the individual, and integrate human failing into your approach.  This means instead of focusing on preventing mistakes, like a child running out into the street after a ball, focus on the fact that those things WILL happen, but it should not be a fatal mistake.

2.      Slowing down saves lives.  The number one thing we can do is to reduce our speed on the road.  That could involve getting the speed limit reduced in certain high impact areas, or installing more speed bumps.  On a personal level, we can all be more cognizant of our speed and pledge to remain vigilant to not go over.  Studies have shown that the difference between a pedestrian surviving being hit by a car at 20 mph is that 9 out of 10 will survive, while only 1 in 10 will survive a crash at 40 mph.

3.      Equity and Engagement.  Elevating equity and meaningful community engagement, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color, should be a priorty in all stages of Vision Zero work.  Not surprisingly, low-income areas tend to have less sidewalks, and low-income people as well as people of color are 2x more likely to be killed by walking.  This means engaging these communities in particular and providing the education needed as well as the tangible changes needed to make a difference.

4.      Reducing cars on the roadway.  If we increase cycling and walking, thus decreasing vehicle travelling, we will be reducing emissions & air pollution, have fewer crashes and fatalities and create a safer environment for all.

5.      It’s going to take time.  Vision Zero will not be implemented overnight.  Like the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”, it is going to take the community, elected officials, public agencies and police to come together to grow the vision.  Montgomery County has a lot of people working on this to create a safe environment for us all, and we can all do something to have a part. 

An average of 100 people lose their lives each day nationally in traffic crashes.  This loss and suffering is preventable.  Vision Zero is not a tag line or even just a program, it is a fundamental shift in how communities approach the issue of safe mobility.  To make a real difference, it will take a firm commitment to change.  You can learn more at www.VisionZeroNetwork.org. 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2019

Telecommuting Thursday


Featuring: Tips and Tricks for Working @ Home

In the past 3 weeks we have helped you learn all about why telecommuting is good for both employee and employer, ideas on how to convince your boss to allow it and help with setting up a work at home policy/home office.  What now?  Hopefully you were able to get a telecommuting schedule.  If you did, here are some tips and tricks to help you be successful, from people who have been there before you…

1.     Keep a sign on your office door with “Office Hours”.  Anything that helps you establish a set schedule and allows others in your home to be aware of this is good.  This could be a small framed chalkboard that you are able to write (and change as needed) your hours for the day when you are not available.  If you have small children at home, you could fashion a stop light which makes a good visual for them knowing that red means Stop (Do not come in) and green means they can!

2.     If you have a laptop at your office and can take it home, you will never have to worry about something being on your “work computer” when you are not in the office.  If that isn’t an option, Inc.com had a great suggestion to make full use of the cloud or google drive.  These storage programs are web based, so you can access any documents you need from any computer.  That way you can start working on your project in the office, save it to the cloud (or google drive, which I prefer), and then finish it from home just by signing into your account.  This storage is free up to a certain amount.

3.     Get out of the house.  If you work from home full time, it will no doubt get very boring at times.  It’s a good idea to get a fresh perspective and head out to your local coffee shop to get some work done.  A lot of places have free Wi-fi and allow anyone to access it at no charge.  The only caveat is security.  Usually, places like Starbucks have completely unencrypted hotspots.  This means your data could be at risk while you are connected to them.  Surfeasy.com has some great tips to stay secure.  1. Disable sharing in your settings on your device.  2. Ensure your software is up to date. 3. Use a VPN if you can.  It is a way to stay connected and keep your data private when accessing public hotspots. 

4.     Enjoy the flexibility!  One of the absolute best things about working from home is that you can be flexible.  I used it to put a lot more movement into my day.  Set your schedule so you have some chunks of time throughout your day to go for a bike ride, take a walk or take a dip in your pool on those hot days.  Studies prove that this gets your creative juices flowing, gives you more energy and keeps you more alert and awake.  Bonus – this all makes you a better employee and more productive!

5.     Have scheduled meals & snacks.  Otherwise you are liable to find yourself walking into the kitchen on the regular mindlessly munching.  This should stay the same as if you were in the office.  If you take lunch at 12 for 30 minutes in your office, do the same at home.  And keep snacks and coffee breaks the same as well.

6.     Check in with your boss and co-workers throughout the day.  This shows your boss that yes, you are there and yes you are working, and keeps you connected to your team.  Set up video meetings, be on instant messaging and answer emails promptly.  Technology makes this so easy today, with free communication tools like HipChat (for group chatting), Trello & Asana are great resources for project management you can share between co-workers, Expensify tracks your expenses and Squiggle keeps your webcam turned on so any one of your team mates can get in contact with you when they need too.  And it is almost like being in the office. 

These are just some of the ideas I used and heard worked for others to be successful telecommuting.  Some experts suggest everyone will be working from home in the (not too distant) future, so you may as well get some experience with it now if you can!  If you have a good tip for working from home, please tell us about it!  You can email me at marketing@ptma-mc.org, or tweet to us @PTMA19454 or Facebook @PTMAMC. 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 

February 7, 2019

Special Local Events Blog

Featuring: The Philadelphia Auto Show!

One of the most popular events held in Center City every year is the annual Philadelphia Auto Show.  It is the place to go where everyone can sit in the latest vehicles, admire luxury cars and even see some of the cars used in popular movies – Bumblebee and the DeLorean from Back to the Future were both there.  If you are planning on going, I want to share some tips to make your trip fun and stress free.

If you plan on going – take the train!  It is easy, you do not have to worry about parking and if you are a senior, it is FREE with the SEPTA Senior Key card.  It made me smile when the seniors I saw at the Lansdale Train Station were all talking about the “card” and chastising those that did not have it.   Another benefit, if you are leaving from the Lansdale Train station is that parking is FREE in the Lansdale Parking Garage.

Do your homework in advance.  Check out your train schedule at www.septa.org.   There are a limited number of train schedules available at the stations, so print out your schedule in advance.  This way you can plan your round trip.   Give yourself plenty of time to park your car, walk from the garage and then stand in line to get your tickets.  There were long lines for all the morning trains with commuters and day travelers purchasing tickets.  Some of the best ways to travel include the Independence Pass for $13 or a Family Pass for $30.00.  The Family Pass would consist of up to five people traveling together, however one person, but no more than two, must be 18 years of age or older.  If you have cash, you can purchase the passes on a train.  If you plan to purchase a pass at the train station, get there early: at 9:45 am, they were sold out of Independence Passes.

The trains were packed – so please be sure to take one seat only.  It still amazes me that people spread themselves over two seats when others have too stand. When you exit the train, signs will point you to the Convention Center. If you are looking for a snack or lunch, plan on eating at the Reading Terminal Market, which is right across the street.  The Market has a wide selection of food with a variety of price points.  If you go during the week, the Show does not open until 12 noon, so you can have a great breakfast or lunch before you get started.

Make sure that you wear some good walking shoes!  It will be easy to walk those 10,000 steps. The show features vehicles with the newest safety features, highlights those with the best in fuel efficiency and spotlights the growing number of alternative fuel vehicles.  While maybe five years ago, an alternative fuel vehicle may have been a novelty within the company’s display, now they are featured front and center.  Oftentimes, you won’t even know that the vehicle is a hybrid or electric car. Information about the vehicles are provided to you.  You can get follow up information emailed to you, but no one is going to try to sell you a vehicle.  That gives you free range to sit in as many cars as you can or want to.  It came in handy for us as we are planning on purchasing a new family car.  I am 5’2” and my husband is 6’.  That made several cars that I loved, unacceptable to him because he could not fit into them! 

When you get ready to return home, remember you will have to pass through the turnstiles with your tickets or passes shown to the SEPTA ambassadors. They are getting ready to implement SEPTA Key, so they are preparing the consumer to swipe before they board.  Give yourself enough time to do that.  They also will ask you what train you are taking.  When this step is done, report to your train platform.

It will be an exhausting day but there is something for everyone to see.  Have fun, and don't forget to check out the final part of our blog series Telecommuting Thursday's next week, for Tips and Tricks for Working @ Home.

 

By: Peggy Schmidt

 

 

 

 

 

January 31, 2019

Telecommuting Thursday’s

Featuring: 

For Employers- How to Set Up a Work from Home Policy

For Employees- How to Set Up a Home Office

Deciding to implement a telecommuting policy as an employer is a great way to offer flexibility to current and future employees.  For the first time in the past 30 years or so in the U.S., we have more jobs than we do workers.  And according to the most current research, a flexible schedule is among the top things that newer generations are looking for in employment.  Work from home policies can be occasional, temporary or permanent.  It is necessary to have a policy in place that would outline who qualifies, what equipment is needed, the logistics of meeting attendance   Here is a list of things to consider adding to your policy:

1.     Who Qualifies– Will you be offering this to all your employees or just to people that qualify?  Qualifying circumstances could include a long commute, parenting, an ill family member, medical reasons or simply a better work-life balance.  Just be careful not to be too selective, because this could cause upset amongst employees if they feel that everyone but them is able to take advantage of this.  If possible, include as many people as you can, and see if you can offer any other perks to those that do not qualify.

2.     What is the Schedule- Will the schedule be working from home full time?  Or, will it be only on certain days of the week?  Can this be flexible?  If so, how much advance notice will you require to make a change?  Do they need to be available during certain work hours to respond to calls or emails, or can they work their hours outside of normal business hours if they want too?

3.     Equipment- Do they have the necessary equipment to complete the job?  If not, will you provide it?  This could be anything from laptops to notepads, comfortable desk chairs to phone and internet hook up and speeds.  If any of this expense falls on the employee, it should be outlined specifically. 

4.     Cybersecurity- If this is important in your field, does the laptop or computer the employee will be using have the proper security?  Will the employee be the only person able to access the computer?  Must they have a private area to work if they will be on phone calls that would need to be kept confidential?  Be as specific as possible.

5.      Schedule weekly meetings- It is a good idea to have some type of check in policy, so you are touching base with your employee weekly.  Whether that be having them come into the office once a week or having a phone conference every Monday morning at 9, having a formal schedule to keep communication open will ensure success to both parties.

Now that you have a telecommuting policy in place, what tips can you give your employees (or requirements) for setting up a home office?  

1.     Figure out how much space you need- If you already have a home office, it should be relatively easy to set up a separated space just for work.  You can purchase a filing cabinet or some bins in a different color to store your work.  Make sure you have enough desk space for everything you need.  Some people just need a laptop, while others will need space for a phone, desktop computer, printer and a space for writing or drawing.  If you do not have a separate room to use, look for a space in your home where you could fit your necessities.  If the best place turns out to be your dining room table, purchase a wheeled filing cabinet for all of your work supplies that can be stored in a closet.  This way your dining room can be your office by day and your dinner table by night.  Even though you may wish you could work poolside with a cold one by your side, please just don't.  And if you are asking why, you aren't a good work from home candidate.

2.     Consider lighting and noise- Is your front room facing a busy street?  Is your home office in a windowless room with no overhead lighting?  Consider buying noise reducing drapes for the front window or task lighting for that dark room.  Or, you might consider moving your space to a better location in the home.

3.     Make it pretty- Or, if you are a gentleman you may prefer the term “aesthetically pleasing”.  If you have a lot of clutter in your home office space, it can be distracting.  You don’t want all of your bills staring at you while you are trying to work, nor do you want there to be toys or other things crowding you out.  Keep the area clear of any distractions and organize it so that you feel relaxed when you sit down to work.  Adding a plant, a colorful mousepad or a creative vision board can really inspire you and make you want to be in that space.

4.     Dress the part- Ok I am going to be honest.  I do not get dressed up for work when I am working from home.  But I don’t work in my pajamas either.  I usually put on some combination of yoga pants, t-shirts and sweatshirts so that I am comfortable but also ready to take a quick walk outside for a break to get refocused.  Some people say you should dress up like you are going into the office, and if you are having video meetings that is an absolute MUST.  But otherwise, take advantage of one of the best things about working from home and stay comfy.

5.     Establish Office Hours- Your job may require specific hours if you are answering phone calls or need to be available for online meetings or email responses.  A lot of jobs can be a little flexible in your schedule. When I worked from home in the past, I set myself a schedule that started at 7 am and I would work until 10.  I gave myself a ½ hour break to put some laundry in, take a quick walk, or put something in the crock pot for dinner.  Then I worked 10:30 to 1:30 because the bulk of my emails came in around that time.  I took off from 1:30 to 3:30 for lunch, a long walk or run outside and some relaxing.  Then I finished my day from 3:30 to 5:30 answering any replies to the emails I sent earlier and making sure I finished up anything outstanding.  This schedule allowed me to get all of my work in but still have time during my day to focus on myself and my family.  Whatever you and your employer decide, it’s important to keep this routine to keep things professional and to show your employer you are working when you are supposed to be. 

The Partnership TMA offers its members Work from Home procedures and can help you set up a policy for your business.   You can contact us at info@ptma-mc.org, or call us at 215-997-9100.  We are also on facebook @PTMAMC and twitter @PTMA19454. 

By: Tiffany Marrero

 

 


January 24, 2019

Telecommuting Thursday

Featuring: How to convince your employer to allow telecommuting.  Tips & Tricks!

If you read my blog last week, you learned about all the benefits of working from home.  Maybe you read it and thought, “That’s great Tiff.  But my employer does not offer telecommuting!”.  That happened to me, and I was able to convince my employer to let me work from home.  I continued to do so on a most-of-the-time basis for several years.  Here is what I learned:

1.    If you want to convince someone else to do anything, your best initial approach is to let them know how it would benefit them, not you.  Unless of course it’s your Mom, she’s probably thrilled to do just about anything you ask for because she’s your Mom (wink, wink Mom!).  For example, is your commute just too much and having some extra time in your day will allow you to focus more on your job responsibilities?  Do you have to leave work often to care for an aged parent or sick child?  Would working from home allow you to balance your responsibility to the company better?  Have a list prepared with a couple points that would prove why this is beneficial to your employer. 

2.    Do you deserve it?  Be honest with yourself about your abilities and track record.  Are you regularly completing tasks on time, with little direction, or do you need to be micro-managed?  Are you consistently turning in quality work, or is it mediocre?  If you need a lot of direction, training, or need to be monitored to handle your responsibilities, working from home is not for you.  Come prepared with a list of your statistics, accomplishments, or recent employer reviews that show you are qualified to work from home.  If you tried to make this list and are having trouble, consider upping your game for the next 6 months and try to approach your boss then. 

3.    Research statistics locally and nationally on the benefits of working at home, how common it is in the workplace and how common it is in your field.  The stats are in your favor right now, and most employers like to see the black and white.  If they see that a lot of other companies are offering this benefit, they will be more likely to consider it.

4.    Show why you are an asset.  If working from home is becoming something you feel is necessary enough that you would consider looking for new employment if it’s not available, prove why they wouldn’t want to lose you.  Have you increased sales recently?  Do you have some customer reviews that were stellar?  Are you a go-to person for projects?  Would your boss consider you as a loyal and committed employee?  Showcase that.  Don’t go in there threatening to leave if you don’t get what you want.  Try this: “I love working for you, and I feel I am an asset to the organization.  I would love the opportunity to try telecommuting because the work/life balance would help me to continue to excel in my position as well as handle my home responsibilities that I am currently facing.”

5.    Think ahead.  Do you have a weekly staff meeting you need to attend?   Does part of your job involve paperwork that is not electronic?  If so, offer work arounds for these issues prior to your meeting with your boss.  The technology is on your side, with video meetings and electronic documents prevalent in many industries today.   You could also request a partial work from home schedule, coming into the office 1-2 days a week (or more) to conduct in house business and stay connected.

6.    Ask for a trial period.  This shows you are ready and willing to prove that this is something you are capable of handling.  Ask to have the opportunity for 1-2 months or so, to see if this schedule works for both parties.  Set the expectations you will have for yourself and ask your boss to the do the same.  This will show your boss you are flexible and willing to put your money where your mouth is. 

As Pablo Picasso said, “Action is the foundational key to all successes.”  So be prepared, be flexible, and be willing to prove yourself.  The Partnership TMA has resources to help your employer set up a Work from Home program.  Please contact us at info@ptma-mc.org for more information.  And if you approach your employer, let us know about it!  We are on Facebook @PTMAMC, twitter @PTMA19454 or email me your experience at www.marketing@ptma-mc.org.

By: Tiffany Marrero (working from home!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 17, 2019

New Blog Series: Telecommuting Thursday’s

Featuring: Why Telecommute?  5 Ways It Benefits Employers & Employees

 

Telecommuting has a few different names: telework, working remotely, flexible workplace or just plain old working from home.  It’s on trend lately, and something that every business owner or employer should be informed about.  Not everyone can telework, the last time I checked there was a need for people to make my waffle fries at Chick Fil A.  And from doctors to garbage men, some industries just won’t have the capability.  But for a lot of office jobs, telecommuting at least part of the time is completely feasible.  We are going to take the next 4 weeks to discuss the benefits to both the employee and employers, how to convince your employer to give it a try, how to set up a work from home policy and home office, and what you can expect working from home.


 1.     It increases productivity:  I worked in a big corporate office for many years.  Between people stopping you on the way to your desk on the 3rd floor in the morning, on your way to the bathroom, and in the lunchroom when you are just trying to grab a cup of coffee, I can attest to the fact that there are many distractions at work.   Some jobs are inherently results driven, but many are not.  So instead of paying people to just show up rather than for their efficiency, consider offering the option of telecommuting.  Remote workers are results driven by default.  In one study, employees allowed to work from home in a call center were 13.5% more productive than the in-house representatives.  When you allow someone to work from home you are displaying trust in them.  This can empower your employees, and their default response is usually to reciprocate and prove that trust by doing good work.  I know this for a fact.  When I worked in the big corporate office mentioned above, my employer allowed me to work from home for a while after my son was diagnosed with an illness that prevented him from going to daycare.  I remember my first day, sitting in my home office, and making a goal that exceeded my normal output by about 20%.  I met that goal, and continued to do so, for the sole reason that I was grateful to my job for allowing me to have a flexible schedule that was necessary at the time.


  2.    It decreases costs:  No matter what your business is, everyone cares about the bottom line.  I looked around the area and found that on average, to rent a furnished office space for 10 employees, it would cost you around $6,000 a month.  That is $72,000 a  year!  Even if you invested in some good laptops and ergonomically correct chairs for your employee home offices, you’d be saving approximately $59,500 annually to allow remote working.  That is a lot of money you could be reinvesting in your business.  It also decreases costs to the employee.  There is less money being spent on clothes, gas, wear and tear on your vehicle or public transportation.   People who work from home tend to spend less on eating out, and instead of stopping for that tempting $5 cup of specialty coffee, you will be adding that money to your wallet.  And as a side note, eating out has been proven to be bad for your waist line, so you will be saving calories in addition to that extra moolah! 


3.     It improves your work/life balance and the environment:  This one is pretty much self-explanatory.  When I stopped commuting 45 minutes a day each way, all of a sudden I had an extra 1 ½ hours of free time.  It was life changing.  I started exercising more.  With a 45 minute head start to making dinner, I felt relaxed while cooking instead of rushing to feed some hungry teenagers who had been home for hours before me.  I no longer had to spend weekends doing food prep for the week to come because I had the time to do my food prep during the day.  Instead of spending 15 minutes here and there chatting with co-workers, I would take 15 minute breaks to take a brisk walk outside.  If the weather wasn’t great, I would take that 15 minutes to start a load of laundry or do a quick cleaning of the bathroom.  All of these things greatly improved my life, my health and my family.   Another factor is the environment.  According to greenismything.com, if everyone in the US did not drive for just 1 day, theoretically we would prevent approximately 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.  Everyone needs to be aware of their carbon footprint, and this is one way you could contribute to a greener earth.  And you can do it in your pajamas (but more about that in the next couple of weeks).


4.     It reduces turnover of employees:  Right now, employee turnover is at an all time high.  The reason?  We have more jobs than we do workers in the U.S.  for the first time in at least 20 years.  What does that mean for employers?  You should be actively seeking ways to retain the employees you have.  It is much easier now than it was several years ago to get a new job if you are unhappy with the one you have.  Offering remote work to employees offers flexibility that was once unheard of.  Millennials cite the #1 thing that they are looking for in their career as a better work/life balance.  The cost to hire and train a new employee is in the thousands.  The Wall Street Journal says “It costs upwards of twice and employee’s salary to find and train a replacement.  And churn can damage morale among the remaining employees”.  Bottom line- doing what you can that is cost efficient to offer the best benefits to your employees will be the best defense to the current job climate.   


5.     It offers a worldwide talent pool:  So, we already know that it’s hard to find and retain good employees right now.  In general, you may receive on average about 200 resumes submitted for any one job listing.  According to recent studies, most Americans commute an average of 30 minutes to work and do not want to increase that.  That means you are limited to the people within in 30 minutes of your office as potential employees.  The equation gets smaller when you factor in that these people would have to be looking for a job, qualified for the job, and find and submit their resume to you.  Enter telecommuting.  You now have a worldwide pool of potential employees.  And with video conferencing and instant messaging available to almost everyone, the logistics are basically taken care of for you. 


Telecommuting is on the rise and is suspected to climb even higher in the coming years.  According to Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20-25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency.  80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part-time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).  My next blog will focus on how to convince your employer to give telecommuting a try.  After all, the answer is always No if you never even ask.


By: Tiffany Marrero








 



 


 












 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

     

     

     

     


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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