There are many ways to encourage alternative transportation methods for your staff’s commute to your athletics and recreation facilities. Walking, bicycling, carpooling, public transit, and hybrid/electric vehicles can all help reduce air pollution and harmful emissions. Also consider providing athletics and recreation staff with options to telecommute or pursue compressed work weeks, which avoid producing travel emissions altogether, while also saving money and time on transportation.
TELECOMMUTING AND COMPRESSED WORK WEEKS
Telecommuting is a voluntary work arrangement that allows eligible employees to work one or more days from home each work week instead of commuting to campus (or other workplace). Telecommuting is generally not intended as a means of working from home on a full-time basis, but provides staff with flexibility regarding where they complete their work. Communication during telecommuting arrangements is typically covered by phone and email, as well as video conferencing as necessary. Work and telecommunication equipment may be owned and maintained by the employee or by your institution.
A compressed work week allows an employee to work a traditional 35-40 hour workweek in less than five workdays. Many compressed work schedule options may be negotiated and are well suited to athletics and recreation staff, such as coaches, who may have non-traditional work hours. For example, a full-time employee scheduled for 39 hours per week could work four 9.75-hour days instead of five 7.8-hour days. Or, an employee could opt to work 8.6 hours per day, and take one full day off every two weeks.
Determine whether your institution provides telecommuting or compressed work week options for all full-time staff. If so, circulate that information to all athletics and recreation staff to encourage them to consider the program and help to reduce your sports departments’ transportation footprint.
If your institution doesn’t have these existing policies, consider the following tips to provide sports staff with these options:
TIPS TO ENCOURAGE TELECOMMUTING AND COMPRESSED WORK WEEKS:
Establish an application process for eligible staff to formally seek approval to telecommute or schedule compressed work weeks.
Regularly publicize the opportunity to telecommute or establish a compressed work week by circulating all application information to all staff via email and notices on internal department websites.
Encourage staff to apply and publicize the benefits other staff have enjoyed through these programs.
Clearly identify which staff qualify for the programs and publicize the characteristics that staff need to possess for a successful application. For example, staff must:
have successfully completed their probationary periods
have a satisfactory performance history, or minimally, a satisfactory rating on their most recent performance evaluation
work effectively with minimal supervision
be reachable by phone during assigned work hours
Provide readily available conference call and video conferencing equipmentor software for all staff. Also provide training on how to use this equipment/software and make sure staff are well informed about and comfortable with system upgrades and any other equipment changes.
Provide staff with laptop computers instead of desktop computers to allow for greater workplace mobility (laptops are also more energy-efficient than desktops and telecommuting can reduce your department’s electricity costs).
*HELPS EARN AASHE STARS POINTS*
Promoting environmentally preferable transportation options throughout athletics and recreation can help your institution earn up to 7 points within the “Transportation” subcategory of AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). Work with sustainability and facilities staff on your campus to support any institutional efforts to attain or improve your institution’s STARS rating. Use the STARS 2.0 Technical Manual to learn more.
The transportation sector is one of the main sources of smog, carbon monoxide, global warming, and harmful particles that can cause respiratory illnesses and other health problems. Walking and bicycling helps reduce all of these impacts, saves money, and is a healthy way to begin and end the day. Carpooling and using public transportation reduces the total amount of cars on the road, which in turn reduces the many forms of pollution associated with the transportation sector.
In addition, many forms of public transportation use environmentally preferable fuels such as natural gas, electricity, and fuel cells. Using public transportation therefore reduces the transportation sector’s emissions of harmful compounds such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulates. This reduces emissions that can cause smog, global warming, acid rain, and negative health effects.
AASHE: Resources on Sustainable Campus Transportation
The University of Vermont: Certification for Sustainability Transportation
University of California, San Francisco: Guidelines and Procedures for Telecommuting
Cornell University: Compressed Work Week
Bicycling Alliance – Ways to Promote Bicycling
Federal Highway Department – Bicycle and Pedestrian Program
10 Tips for a Successful Carpool
EPA – Emissions and Gas Savings from a Sample Carpool
American Public Transportation Association