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News of the Atlanta I-85 bridge collapse is pretty widespread across the country.  To summarize quickly for those who have not heard about it, an accidental fire started under one of the major Atlanta interstate bridges two weeks ago.  This resulted in a section of the bridge collapsing in only a few hours.  This incident has caused one of Atlanta’s busiest interstate sections to close until the bridge can be repaired.  Current estimates are indicating that the bridge won’t be completed until mid-June.

Before the fire, Atlanta’s traffic was already horrific. According to the INRIX’s 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard ranking, Atlanta has the 4th most traffic of any city in North America and ranks as 9th in the world.  Needless to say, commuting for professionals, parents, and students has gone from being a daily pain to a quality of life nightmare.

Xcentric headquarters is located in a northern suburb of Atlanta, and while most employees live near the office, some like myself, live in the city on the other side of the collapsed bridge.  My typical rush hour commute is about 50 minutes one-way.   Unfortunately, the bridge collapse has doubled the time it normally takes me to get to the office.  Consequently, I haven’t driven into the office since the collapse.

Fortunately, all of our employees work in the Xcentric Cloud, which allows us to easily work from anywhere.  Hearing several of my friends complain about their lengthened commutes has made me realize that I have taken the ability to work remotely for granted.  Instead of spending 3 hours in a car driving to and from the office like the rest of the city, I can walk from my bedroom to my home office and start working.  This has protected both my quality of life and my productivity in the workplace.  I’m grateful that the Xcentric leadership team trusts employees to get work done at home and for providing the ability to do so seamlessly.

I recently discussed this topic with one of my Xcentric colleagues, Clayton Smith, who also lives south of the collapse.  Before the fire, he typically drove into the office 4 days a week.  Since the incident, he has also been working exclusively from home.   He had similar thoughts on the situation:

“While I am not someone who would choose to work from home every day, I think having the ability to do so easily has allowed Xcentric employees to respond proactively in the face of an unprecedented and unexpected situation.  We are fortunate to work for a company that has the technology plan in place to allow us to work from home, or really anywhere, without missing a beat.  Working from home exclusively is definitely not the perfect solution for every company, but I think the Atlanta I-85 bridge collapse is an excellent example of how working from home can be a very useful tool to help businesses overcome unforeseen obstacles in a way that protects both the company and the personal lives of employees.”

Unfortunately, not working in the office will probably negatively affect my ping-pong game but for now, I’m happy to be able to avoid the Atlanta traffic battle.

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Ali Kimm
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