The Ultimate Green Commute

Taking a “working” lunch

The ultimate commute is one that doesn’t involve a car, public transit, or even a bike. It’s as close to 100% sustainable as you can get, it’s not affected by holiday traffic or bad weather, and there’s never an accident on this route. After this commute you feel so refreshed that your work productivity increases significantly. It’s the only type of commute that I prefer over bike commuting, and I partake in it whenever possible. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? What is it? Telecommuting.

I quite enjoy working at home, and I can usually manage it at least one day a week. A typical day sees me up at 4:30-5:00 am working for a couple of hours; taking a break for breakfast and a little blogging; working for another couple of hours through the mid-morning; taking a break for a slow bike ride to a local haunt for a long, leisurely lunch; working through the afternoon; taking a break in the early evening to do a few chores and have a nice sit-down dinner with the family; and finishing up the workday after dinner. On the clock it’s a long day, and even though I’m often far more productive than I would be at the office (with all of its inherent distractions and interruptions), it often feels as if I’ve hardly worked at all.

Telecommuting is an easy sell based solely upon its personal benefits, but I also appreciate the fact that it’s good for the environment without appearing to be too “green”. I gave up long ago talking to my friends and colleagues about the environment; the topic has become so politicized that it’s now akin to discussing, well… politics. But, telecommuting has so many personal benefits that I don’t hesitate to discuss it freely with anyone who will listen. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend more time at home, increase their work productivity by 25% or more, save money on gas, and reduce their stress level? And if one of my less environmentally conscious friends or colleagues chooses to telecommute only for the personal benefits, that’s still one car off the road, regardless of what was behind the decision.

11 Responses to “The Ultimate Green Commute”

  • Croupier says:

    Yes, I’ve long believed teleportation to be the future of green commuting as well.

  • Vik says:

    I’ve been working at home 4 out 5 days a week for at least a year. I love it although I biked more when I used to go to the office everyday. With a laptop and PDA I can get lots of my personal chores taken care of while still technically being “at work”.

    safe riding,


  • bongobike says:

    Man, those are some expensive lights! And the run times and charge times suck on most of them. I’ll keep my cheap generator light, thank you very much…

  • brad says:

    I’ve been telecommuting fulltime since 1994, except for a year when I rented an office in town because Iived five miles up a steep dirt road and had a very slow and unreliable dialup internet connection. I go visit my company’s headquarters once or twice a year for a couple of days, that’s it. While I am totally aware of how lucky I am, it does have its downsides, mainly the sense of isolation. My clients and most of my colleagues are a two-hour plane journey away.

    I am definitely more productive at home than I would be in the office, although if I didn’t have constant deadlines and a heavy workload I think I’d find it too easy to be distracted by all the other things I could be doing at home. Because my girlfriend works in an office downtown, I tend to do most of the household chores: laundry, food shopping, cooking, going to the post office, etc. I even make our own bread every other day. All of those things provide a good break from sitting at my desk.

    Even though I don’t have a commute, I make myself “bike to work” in the spring, summer, and fall for exercise, doing a 1-hour loop that starts and ends at home. In winter I row to work on my erg in the basement, or when conditions are right I cross-country ski in the park near our house.

  • Helton says:

    There’s a lot of self-discipline and personal-style issues involved, and I hadn’t found it easy to work at home as I am doing for one year now. I must say that it’s not homeworking, but homestudying (master degree in design), but it’s headwork in front of the computer anyway. Live with girlfriend and her 7yo son, and I do lots of household chores.

    Besides the home environment is full of distractions, the computer itself is a major source of distractions (internet most the times).

    Working home allows you to choose and sometimes blend the work time with the “non-work” time, which creates two paradoxal problems: you may feel you are always working, AND you may feel you are NEVER working indeed, or never as you think you should.

    You mentioned sometimes you end up the day feeling as if you had hardly worked at all. As for myself, I love the sensation to arrive home from a workplace, with a “mission accomplished” sensation, feeling free to do anything else that comes to mind without feeling guilty.

    I insist, it is a very personal-style related issue, but I think I have a somewhat “other side of the coin” point of view that is worth mentioning.

    Best Regards


  • ksteinhoff says:

    Before I retired this summer, I’d always experience a mid-afternoon slump around 3:30. I bought the staff a Starbucks Barista coffee maker and my yawning would be the signal for one of the guys to fire it up for a round of cafe con leche (he was the only one who had taken the time to watch the training video on it).

    Instead of coffee, these days I let the nap magnet drag me over to the other side of the room for a quick siesta.

  • letsgorideabike says:

    Sounds lovely! I wish I could work at home at least once a week. One of the many archaic things about law firms is that they seem to think “face time” is so important, even though we spend all day in our respective offices, alone.

  • Mark in Santa Barbara says:

    I think the ideal mix is 2-3 days at home and 2-3 days downtown. It’s nice to have the quiet, casual time of working at home, but I also like putting on my good clothes and being part of the downtown vibrancy.

  • Jack says:

    I’ve been fortunate to be among the telecommuters for the past 10 years and can agree with every comment made here about the experience. I do go ‘on the road’ an average of 2 days per week, about 40 weeks of the year, and this definitely helps break up the routine. The rest of the time I face the same issues mentioned above.

    Some say that a heavy dose of dicipline is required to work at home. But in my case I’ve learned that motivation tops dicipline every time. As others have mentioned, a heavy workload, looming deadlines, or simply a sense of accomplishment are all motivation to stay the course and keep you working, often into the night. On the other hand, being able to take your laptop out to the patio or pool on a beautiful afternoon with a favorite cigar and glass of wine to sip while you “slave over that quarterly report,” can make even the most distasteful job palatable!

  • Freewheel says:

    It’s great that you still get a bike ride in even when you’re telecommuting.

  • Tim Guthrie says:

    I commute all tree ways part time. I telecommute about 1.5 days a week. Those can be very productive for my business and it often allows me to check up on my boys homeschooling. I have gotten dragged into more household chores, but often it is not a problem. It is gret when the job at hand is writting my client newsletter.
    I did work from home exclusively for about 3.5 years and that did cause some/work home issues. We had 4 to 5 kids at home under 8 at the time and I felt that often my work needs got into the way the homeschooling and fun stuff and music (often loud)my wife was doing with the kids.
    I ride the 40 mile round trip as often as my schedule and storms allow, the goal is 100 trips per year. I try to avoid ice and snow, and thunderstorms. My goal this year is be a little bolder as far as riding in the rain is concerned, and I have been buying thrift shop wool sweaters to warm. My coldest trip has been 18 f. That was with a recumbent with a fairing that really helped. Now, on the bomber (a 29ner mtn bike converted to bullet proof commuter comlplete with fenders, rack, disk brakes, lights and ‘drop’ bar ends) my coldest trips was 25 f. I laugh when Alan talks about ‘winter’ riding and he isn’t wearing gloves!

    I drive when I have too many places to be, or like today when it below zero (f) outside.

    Telecommuting is a real blessing, though my office manger gets miffed if I do it too much.

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