RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Here’s a tip of the hat to four high-tech employers in the Triangle are doing their part to go green.

These firms are combating pollution and saving energy by helping employees find other means of getting to work than simply driving cars, trucks or SUVs.

Lenovo, McKesson, Quintiles and Red Hat were among the nine companies or entities recognized by the Triangle Best Workplaces for Commuters Coalition at a special event on Thursday. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, which certainly has embraced high tech in dealing with the healthcare industry, also was recognized for their attempts to help “harried commuters while also reducing traffic and air pollution,” the group said.

Benefits for workers include van pool subsidies, transit passes, bicycle facilities, onsite day care and the opportunity to telecommute. Fifty-nine companies, agencies and governments accounting for more than 100,000 workers belong to the coalition.

Among the key initiatives the coalition recognized at Lenovo, McKesson and Quintiles was telework – allowing and encouraging employees to work from home. Given the availability of broadband across most of the Triangle, telecommuting is an obvious choice for firms and workers seeking an alterative to traffic jams on I-40, I-440, I-540 and side streets from Knightdale to Hillsborough.

McKesson has an extremely aggressively program, according to Tobin Freid, a spokesperson for the Triangle J Council of Governments, which backs the commuting initiative.

A Fortune 500 company (ranked 18th), McKesson has a 60 percent telecommute rate, and most of its employees telecommute twice a week. Plus, employees of the healthcare services firm are allowed to buy transit passes with pre-tax money.

Quintiles, a rapidly growing contract research organization, has a 12 percent telecommute rate.

And at Lenovo, nine percent of workers take advantage of telecommute opportunities.

Red Hat, meanwhile, helps encourage use of buses by providing employees with “Go-Passes” for free bus service.

BCBS reports a six percent telecommute rate, and the firm offers “the most innovative benefits,” Freid adds.

The company’s offerings include:

• Preferred parking for carpool/vanpools
• Carshare program
• Secure bike parking, showers and lockers
• Compressed work schedules
• On-site amenities (café, daycare, fitness, video rental, car wash, oil change, mail center, concierge)
• Intelligent Commuting with Blue Commute website, ties to local traffic cameras
• Pays deposit for van pools

The City of Chapel Hill, Meredith College, the Town of Cary and Meredith College also were cited for helping commuters.

Chapel Hill has a neat offering – a bicycle sharing program.

“As you can see,” Freid told The Skinny, “from these organizations, telework is still alive and well in the Triangle!”