Daily commutes are getting longer across the nation. The average worker now travels more than 25 minutes each way. In some metro areas, commute times are 30-plus minutes.

Long commutes that involve sitting for extended periods can have a negative impact on blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and can even increase the risk for anxiety and depression. Clever employers are adopting commuter programs to help.

The benefits of a commuter program
Employers who work to ease employee commutes see happier, healthier workers; improved productivity; and higher retention rates—all are good for a company’s bottom line. Here are some ways to promote commuter programs:

  • Public transportation: Not driving can make a commute more enjoyable. Riders of the transit system can use their commute to relax, catch up on emails or read a book. Encourage the use of public transit by giving out free or discounted transit passes in a logo’d sheet protector.
  • Ride sharing: Ride sharing can save employees money, time and a lot of stress. You’re likely familiar with Uber® and Lyft®, but there are several other ride sharing apps that cater to the unique needs of employees. Commutewise uses social media to link riders that take similar routes. Zimride®, only available to corporations and universities, connects users based on interests and music taste. Promote ride sharing by reimbursing fees instead of parking compensation. Imprint links to popular ride sharing apps on Smartphone Stress Relievers or Mobile Accessory Holders and distribute at your next employee benefits meeting or recruitment event.
  • Biking: Biking to work is good for employee health. The benefits of regular cycling include increased cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, stronger bones, decreased body fat, and improved posture and coordination. Plus, according to one study, biking to work is 50 percent faster than driving in rush hour traffic. As if these benefits weren’t enough, commuting by bike is actually a reimbursable expense, up to $20 per month, by way of the Bicycle Commuter Act. Employers can further promote biking by holding raffles for those who participate—logo’d bike seat covers, lights and sports bottles  are great prizes for biking enthusiasts.
  • Flexible work options: Can a job be performed from home, at least some of the time? Do all employees need to work 9 to 5? Boost productivity, improve morale, reduce turnover and ease commuting woes by giving employees flexible work options.

Encouraging a commuter program can produce happier, healthier and more productive employees. Try one or more of these ideas to promote your commuter benefits program and ease the burden of a stressful commute.

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