Friday, December 8, 2023

Spotlight: MidPenRideShare program makes working from home even more rewarding [Free read]

It pays to work in your pajamas if you live on the Middle Peninsula.

As the nation continues to grapple with surging COVID-19 rates, a program called MidPenRideShare will reward you for staying home to work. The online resource encourages finding greener options to work by allowing residents to earn coupons, discounts at retailers and tickets to shows and attractions.

In addition to teleworking, rewards can be earned for carpooling, biking or walking to work. The program is an attempt to reduce time on the road in area that has the highest out commuter rate in the Commonwealth, as 74% of workers leave town to go to work somewhere else.

Prior to the pandemic, telework was largely limited to white collar workers. Pre-COVID, only 7% of civilian workers nationwide considered telework an option, according to a 2019 National Compensation Survey from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reducing capacity at the office and social distancing guidelines put in place to combat the transmission of the virus created a telework boom. While one in 12 U.S. employees worked from home in February, that increased to one in three by May, according to a report by economists from VCU, Arizona State University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

With Gov. Ralph Northam urging Virginians to “continue teleworking, if possible,” more companies have evolved to embrace the benefits of telework.

According Telework!VA, which offers multiple resources to help employers transition employees to telework, working from home boosts employee retention, productivity and profitability.

Commuting is a time drain for many on the Middle Peninsula who travel to Williamsburg, Richmond or Norfolk for their jobs. Add to that the expense of putting miles on your car and releasing emissions in the atmosphere, not to mention the frustration of traffic at 5 p.m. It’s estimated that teleworking adds back two to three weeks of free time per year for an employee, leading to improved health and wellness in the long run.

Many jobs are ripe for it, particularly given today’s technology. Why sit in the car for two hours to attend a meeting when you can login to Zoom from your home computer? Tech-savvy millennials are even more open to working from home. A plethora of apps can connect employees during the workday no matter where they’re located.

It’s easy to sign up for the MidPenRideShare program. Create an account using your email address at

Once that’s done, you can track your “greener” trips. The app can tell you how many times you’ve carpooled, biked, walked or telecommuted. Instead of logging your miles, it calculates miles not driven. You learn how many gallons of gas you’ve saved and ultimately, how that affects the money in your pocket.

Don’t forget about the rewards part. Every green trip puts points in your account toward rewards that you can redeem from merchants all over the state.

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