Having a long or frustrating commute is something many employees deal with every day. This affects a lot of different things. Employees may arrive to work frustrated, which can impact their ability to be productive early in the day; it can make it more difficult to come to work during inclement weather; and it can significantly affect costs like fuel, insurance, and vehicle maintenance. All of these can have an outsized impact, even affecting retention in some cases. As such, it is in an employer’s best interest to see if there are ways to reduce the stress and cost of commuting for its employees.
Let’s take a look at a few ways employers can help.
Reducing Stress and Costs
Here are some things employers can do for their employees to reduce either commuting stress or at least the costs they incur, which can help.
- Give reimbursements for some or all of the costs of commuting. Here are some examples:
- Bus or other public transportation cost reimbursement
- Parking reimbursement
- Fuel reimbursement
- Mileage reimbursement
- Allow remote work options (even if part time), enabling employees to skip the commute altogether on the days they work remotely.
- Allow modified workweeks that have fewer days at the worksite, such as allowing four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days.
- Offer flexible scheduling, which may mean modifying the hours an employee arrives at and leaves work. While this doesn’t change the commute length in miles, it may drastically impact the time the commute takes if it allows an employee to travel when there is less traffic, which can greatly impact safety and stress.
- Help with a carpooling setup. If an employer creates a program employees can sign up for and helps pair employees who live in areas where carpooling may be feasible, a lot of stress and guesswork can be eliminated from the process, and eventually, it will save money once implemented.
- Provide shuttle options when feasible. Obviously, this option requires a lot more setup and coordination, but for some situations, offering an employee shuttle from a central location may be a viable option. It may even save money if it eases parking congestion and costs and can make things easier for employees who share a vehicle with someone else or who now don’t have to commute as far using public transportation.
- Move the workspace. This may sound drastic, but for any leased workspace, it may make sense anyway. There may be options that are more centrally located for a greater portion of the workforce that could even save the employer money. But if the cost is similar, it may still be worth the move.
- Consider offering benefits to help employees move if it reduces their commute. These benefits may be similar in scope to a typical relocation package but perhaps scaled down a bit. But make sure this is not seen as an unfair or unequal benefit. If this isn’t feasible, it may be possible to instead offer a few extra paid-time-off days to cover moving.
- Consider adding other benefits like subsidizing the cost of car-sharing options where available or offering subsidies for things like bikes.
Does your organization offer benefits or options related to easing employee commuting cost and stress? What has worked for you?