Peninsula Technology Company Considers Caltrain a Competitive Hiring Advantage

By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

Hanna-grey

Hanna Friend, a VMware employee, enjoys the stress-free commute Caltrain offers.

When it comes to commuting in a car down to work at the VMware offices in Palo Alto, Hanna Phan Friend doesn’t mince her words.

“Nobody likes getting stuck in traffic or wasting all that money on gas,” said Friend, who works as a program manager for the technology company. “I dread driving this distance. It’s just not good for the environment as well.”

Fortunately for Friend, VMware values their people’s time, the importance of building a collaborative community at the workplace, and is mindful about the environment. VMware has an extensive commuter benefit program that offers several commuting options for employees, including reimbursement for travelling on public transit systems such as Caltrain.

Because of the program, Friend avoids the hassle of congested freeways in favor of the more sedate confines of Caltrain, which she takes everyday down to work.

“Caltrain works great for me, especially the Baby Bullet service,” said Friend. “It’s only 30 minutes on the train, and I actually use that time to get some work done, catch up on my social life, listen to some podcasts. It’s just a really nice, comfortable ride. Even the conductors are super-friendly and actually pretty funny at times.”

Friend, a San Francisco resident who lives in the city’s Mission District neighborhood, formerly worked at VMware’s office in the Financial District. When she found out about six months ago that she’d be working at the company’s main headquarters in Palo Alto, she initially had reservations.

“I was really nervous at first, because even my commute from the Mission District to downtown San Francisco could get stressful,” said Friend. “But once I started taking Caltrain, I realized just how easy it is. The train is always reliable. You know you’re going to get work on time.”

Encouraged by VMware’s commuter benefit program, Friend said that many of her co-workers travel on Caltrain down to work. Once at the Palo Alto Station, VMware has dedicated shuttles to take commuters to its office compound.

“Everyone I’ve talked to has real positive things to say about taking Caltrain,” said Friend. “They agree that it’s pretty much hassle-free.”

While Friend touts the benefit of being productive while on her Caltrain commute, she does concede that sometimes the trip is perfect for a well-timed nap. Now the proud parent of a 10-month son, getting a little shut-eye on the train can make up for the occasional sleepless night.

“As soon as I get home, I’m on baby duty,” said Friend. “So you can’t underestimate the recharging power of a few 30-minute naps.”

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