7:10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. are the most imperative times vanpool members must remember. At Organic Valley, many of us live 30 to 60 minutes away from the office, so the company provides shuttles, or vanpools, to reduce the expense (and environmental impact) of us all commuting individually. But this requires cooperation. Although members on the bus are welcoming and compassionate, knowing and keeping the departure time is vital. You don’t want to be the one person who is always a few minutes late.

Being a new Organic Valley intern I knew absolutely no one. However, taking the vanpool allowed me to meet some genuine individuals who are there to help make the process easier. Not only did the overall ride provide me the time to pursue relationships with my coworkers, but by making those relationships I learned more about the co-op than I ever would have.

“Celebrated” too much the previous weekend? Woke up 10 minutes before the van left? Had a long, stressful day at work? No worries. The space in the van allows for nap time to and from work—well, if it’s not your turn to drive.

If social media is a vital aspect in your life and you want to check it as soon as work is done, but you don’t want to spend the data, the vanpool is to the rescue. The van is supplied with a Verizon Wireless Jetpack which allows unlimited internet access even in the valley areas where cell reception is spotty.

The vanpool is a great benefit to working at Organic Valley. The quality friendships, longer and much needed sleep time, unlimited internet access, and you’re reducing your personal impact on the environment by leaving “Ol’ Bertha” parked in the driveway. We’ve even had people bike to work and ride home, or had the van drop them off partway home to bike the rest of the way!

Working in a rural area has its challenges, and a big one is the longer commute, but OV is doing its best to balance the challenges with benefits. Plus, driving through the beautiful countryside with a van full of new friends every day rather than being stuck in traffic (the most traffic we get here are two or three Amish buggies in front of us) makes it all worthwhile.