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 several tools and strategies employers large and small can employ 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, contact the Commute Solutions team at H-GAC. They provide free tools, information, and support to make it easier for employers to implement employee commute programs.