Employers wield significant influence when it comes to how their employees get to work, and thus, influence traffic patterns and congestion in the area.
Below are tools and strategies employers both large and small can use to give their employees a better work/life balance and help them avoid the growing congestion that increasingly affects our region’s roadways, air, and quality of life.
Providing one or more of the below options to employees can increase the productivity of your workforce, help to attract and retain top talent, and distinguish your business as a leader.
Not every job is compatible with teleworking, but in today’s increasingly connected world there are many positions that do not necessitate an employee be physically present in an office in order to succeed at his/her job.
Telework programs offer significant benefits, including:
- Savings on office space
- Reduced overhead expenses
- Enhanced employee productivity and work/life balance
- Lower absenteeism
- Increase employee retention and attract new staff
- Reduce air pollution by eliminating commute time
Alternate and Flexible Work Schedules
Considering that 9 to 5 is the norm for many employers, it’s no wonder that our roads are most clogged around these hours. With a compressed workweek, employees work more hours per day and fewer days per week. For example, an employee could work four 10-hour workdays, or instead, work 9-hour days Monday through Thursday with every other Friday off.
Another option is to stagger work shifts so that not everyone is arriving and leaving at the same time.
Commuter Tax Benefits
Employers benefit from helping their employees commute via transportation modes other than driving alone. Under Section 132(f) of the Internal Revenue Code, employees are allowed to set aside up to $255 per month, pre-tax, for transit or vanpool expenses (or $20 for bicycle commuting expenses), similar to a flexible spending plan for medical expenses.
Companies can offer employees:
- A tax-free employer-paid benefit
- A pre-tax employee-paid payroll deduction; or
- A combination of the above.
Regardless of how the benefit is paid for, the employee pays no income tax on the benefit and the employer saves on payroll taxes.
If any of the above options aren’t already offered at your company, visit findasmarterwaytowork.org or contact the Commute Solutions team at H-GAC by clicking HERE. They provide free tools, information, and support to make it easier for employers to implement employee commute programs.
Guaranteed Ride Home
Employers can encourage their employees to take alternative transportation by promoting METRO's Guaranteed Ride Home program, and/or offering their own company guaranteed ride home program to ensure employees that they have a fast, efficient ride home in their back pocket in the event of an emergency or unforeseen circumstance.
METRO offers commuters a way home in the event of a midday emergency up to three times per calendar year. This is a free service available to all bus patrons without midday service and STAR Vanpool riders. Bus patrons MUST register here.
Employers interested in establishing a company Guaranteed Ride Home program can get assistance by contacting the Commute Solutions team at H-GAC HERE.
Host a Transportation Fair or Lunch & Learn
Get Recognized for For Your Efforts!
- Road Warriors for Smarter Commutes is an ongoing campaign by the Houston-Galveston Area Council to recognize employers who commit to helping their employees improve their commutes. Become a Road Warrior by completing this form.
- The League of American Bicyclists has a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) program to recognize employers for their efforts to encourage a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers and the community. Energy Corridor District staff offers free assistance to District businesses with completing the application and will even pay the application fee!
- Best Workplaces for Commuters (BWC) is an innovative membership program that provides qualified employers with national recognition and an elite designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits. Employers that meet the National Standard of Excellence in commuter benefits can get on the list of Best Workplaces for Commuters.
Contact Peter Eccles at 281-759-3800 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with completing the application(s) for any of the above.