THE BUSINESS CASE FOR CLEAN AIR: How implementing clean air strategies can improve morale, save your company money, and help keep Utah's air clean.

Author:Miller, Derek B.

From the transfixing red rocks in the south to the pristine ski slopes of the north, much of Utah's desirability as a business destination is linked to our spectacular natural environment. While Utah's superb business climate is unquestionably one of the top reasons businesses move here, Utah's quality of life remains a major selection factor for corporations and people looking to relocate to our state.

One factor that negatively affects our quality of life is poor air quality. While the air pollution has a real impact on a company's ability to attract and retain new employees, it can also increase health care costs, place regulatory burdens on businesses, and even put Utah's federal highway funding at risk.

While we can't do much about our geography, we can control the choices we make to help decrease the emissions that cause air pollution. That's why, for the last 10 years, the Salt Lake Chamber has partnered with TravelWise and UCAIR to host the Clear The Air Challenge--a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to their regular commute.

Thankfully, more and more businesses are recognizing the impact that poor air quality has on our economy and have made it their goal to work towards improving our air. One way they've been able to do so is by encouraging their employees to take part in the challenge to incorporate TravelWise strategies into their daily commutes.

Currently, about 48 percent of the emissions that make up Utah's poor air quality come from vehicle tailpipes. To reduce the number of cars on the road and lower their company's overall carbon footprint, many Utah businesses have implemented teleworking programs. Teleworking--or working from a remote location outside of a traditional office setting--is becoming more prevalent with advances in technology and innovative business practices. With a laptop, cell phone, and a reliable internet connection, just about anywhere could be considered an office these days.

Teleworking is cited as one of the top non-financial benefits desired by employees. A survey by Global Workplace Analytics revealed that 80 percent of employees surveyed considered teleworking a job perk, and 36 percent would choose flexible work schedules or telecommuting options over a pay raise.


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