Daily commute times are  increasing all over the country. The average worker now travels more than 25 minutes each way. In some metro areas, like Toronto and Montreal, commute times are more than 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 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 using public transit 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 ridesharing resources that cater to the unique needs of employees. ca is a site that links 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 ridesharing apps on a smartphone Smartphone Stress Reliever or an electronics pouch 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. Employers can further promote biking to work by holding raffles for those who participate—logo’d Bicycle Seat Covers, lights and sports bottles  are great prizes.
  • 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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