Austin aims to have 15% of Austinites working from home in 20 years


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Working from home is on the rise — and the city of Austin is now promoting it to help get more cars off the road.

The city just passed its long-term Strategic Mobility Plan and one of its goals is to have 15 percent of Austinites telecommuting in 20 years.

Right now, 8 percent of the Austin workforce does so.

Jesse Plaza works in IT. He says a few times a month, his one-bedroom apartment becomes his second office.

“It’s really a win-win.,” said Plaza. “People get to be in a more comfortable environment for them, and they get to lessen the load on everyone else.”

The city has partnered with companies like Movability, mostly educating employers on the benefits of telecommuting.

Professor David Harrison at UT’s McCombs Business school says it may not be such a tough sell. 

“The data says pretty clearly that employers save money by employees telecommuting. They don’t have to have the physical space dedicated to a single person, and a different computer for everybody.”

Harrison says Austin’s technology infrastructure and young workforce is ripe for telecommuting.

He believes the hurdle will be more of a social one than a physical one.

“Lots of people like being at work, they like the buzz of being around other people, they like the water cooler talk.”

Professor Harrison says the latest research shows that many employees may be more productive working from home.

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