By Katy Bryce for Commute Options
As a business owner or manager, you know you must constantly make decisions to ensure optimal productivity and employee satisfaction to keep your business thriving. Did you know that supporting transportation options for you and your employees could improve productivity, reduce stress, save money and contribute positively to the community?
Employers have everything to gain from supporting transportation options for their workforce. Helping your employees put fewer miles on their cars will help curb pollution, reduce congestion, support employee health and reduce stress. A happy employee is a productive employee!
Here are a few tips to help your business become a transportation options champion:
Incorporate wellness incentives. Encourage employee health by offering transportation options as part of an employee wellness program. Some businesses, like Footzone of Bend even offer an increased “green wage” if employees bike, walk or run to work.
Be bike and walk friendly. Encourage active transportation to support employee health and wellness and reduce congestion on the roads. Research shows that people who engage in active transportation are happier and more productive.
• Provide secure bike parking that is convenient to the workplace entrance and visible from at least some areas from within the building.
• Encourage employees to schedule off-site meetings in coordination with their driving days. The remaining days then allow them to walk or bike to work.
• Other ideas include: providing showers, lockers and bike locks. Some businesses have been known to even provide bikes!
Embrace teleworking. Don’t be afraid to let your employees work from home or a coffee shop.
Studies show that workers can be up to 20% more productive when they telework and in this digital age, it is becoming increasingly easy for productive telework. Try it just once a week and evaluate the program after a few months.
Be carpool friendly. Carpooling is an excellent way for your staff to save money, put fewer miles on their vehicles and reduce stress.
• Be willing to be flexible in employee schedules to maximize carpooling.
• Offer the best parking spots to carpoolers. Who doesn’t appreciate a great parking spot everyday at work?
• Discourage single vehicle occupant trips for meetings. Create policies that require carpooling to meeting and conference locations that are offsite. This can cut your company’s travel costs in half by not reimbursing mileage for single occupant trips.
ODOT Region 4 is one example of an agency working on reducing single vehicle trips to out-of-area meetings by working with Commute Options and Drive Less Connect. “Meeting schedulers can use the Drive Less Connect website (www.drivelessconnect.com) to connect employees from different departments or agencies to drive together to out of town meetings. This is a cost savings to the agency and the taxpayers of Oregon,” says Dan Serpico, Senior Traffic Analyst for ODOT Region 4.
Encourage use of public transportation. Group bus passes are an affordable employee benefit, especially in Bend, where there is a fixed route service.
Work with Commute Options. Commute Options supports businesses through the Commute Options Partner program (COP). Employees of participating businesses track their commutes and receive local gift cards of their choice. Contact Kim Curley from Commute Options at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for this great program!
Commute Options promotes choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org
Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com