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Car-Free Commuting: Good for the Earth, Convenient for Workers

Massachusetts Car-Free Week may cut down on traffic and vehicle emissions, but a change in work travel has other benefits as well.

Today is World Car-Free Day, an international movement to cut down on vehicle emissions. As Massachusetts Car-Free Week winds down, the idea of a nontraditional workweek with less driving can be beneficial not only for the earth, but employers and employees as well.

This week the state has encouraged commuters to leave behind their cars and opt for walking, bicycling, public transit or carpooling.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick started the week off with a car-free day.

Patrick began his Monday on foot, walking from his Milton home to Milton High School for a Harvest for Students presentation.

After the event, Patrick and his staff walked to the T station for a subway ride to the State House. While Patrick’s schedule can sometimes take him to a handful of towns across the commonwealth, Monday’s Milton and Boston obligations made a green day possible governor.

“It doesn’t work for everyone, but we try to do what we can,” Patrick said of going car-free Monday.

While the initiative was created to promote a green commute, a Milton business owner sees less time in the office as a growing trend.

Nadia McKay owns and operates the Boston franchise of Mom Corps, “a professional staffing firm that specializes in flexible business workplace solutions.”

“Flexible scheduling means something different to everyone,” said McKay, who explained she pairs qualified candidates with companies willing accommodate a less traditional schedule.

The contract positions range from part-time to full-time at small businesses up to larger corporations.

McKay provided the example of a mother with a full-time position. The woman would go into the office at 7 a.m., avoiding the usual morning commute traffic. She’d then return home at 3 p.m. to pick up her children from school, ending the day with a few hours in a home office at night.

The desire for a more flexible workweek isn’t just for moms, it’s increasing across the American workforce.

According to Mom Corps’ annual Labor Day Study, nearly half of the workers surveyed said they would give up a percentage of their salary for more work flexibility.

“It’s almost become a business imperative now,” McKay said of schedule flexibility.

McKay takes car-free employment a step further as she operates the franchise out of her Milton home, interacting with clients and candidates via telephone or Skype. As many of the candidates she places have found, cutting down on driving to work allows for more time to complete work.

McKay also finds extra time to work as her children have a green commute schedule of their own. Fourth-grader Ollie and a neighbor walk or bike to Glover School and sixth-grader Henry does the same to Pierce Middle School.

For more information on Massachusetts Car-Free Week visit www.mass.gov/massdot/carfree. To learn more about Mom Corps, visit www.momcorps.com.

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