Unless you scheduled a face-to-face meeting with Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Lucia Athens, on Friday, you probably wouldn’t have known she wasn’t in her officer.
Friday was Work from Home Day here in Austin and Athens hoped about 10,000 others took her lead and canceled their commute.
The benefit of working from home doesn’t come without challenges, however.
"Technology is really important for working from home,” she said. “You need to have WiFi capability or mobile technology."
The Telework Research Network estimates 3.1 million Americans worked from home fulltime in 2011--up from 1.8 million in 2006. The firm says as many as 64 million Americans could do their job without leaving the house.
"Part of it is just shifting your mindset a little bit that your job is something you do. It's not a place," Athens said.
Rubén Cantú is part of the group leading the telework initiative in Austin.
"If we want the quality of life to remain the way it is for the next 20 years, we need to start doing something now," Cantú said
His career is in social media, which he says depends on teamwork.
"Sometimes having a shift in your atmosphere - in your environment - allows that creativity to come back in,” Cantú said
Beyond creative inspiration, Athens finds working from home a better place to focus. She doesn't have the distractions and interruptions that the office brings, nor the stress of a commute.
Organizers with Social Good Summit Austin expect to collect a great deal of data from participants over the next two weeks. They'll then break the numbers down and present their findings during South by Southwest.