How to Improve Commutes before Employees Return

Mar 25, 2020

Andy Keeton

VP Global Strategy

Suddenly, we all find ourselves working from home. And while this change has caused a lot of transitional headaches for employees and employers, there is one thing that a lot of us are happy to have removed from our day: our commute.

Nearly 50% of Americans say they hate their commute. And nearly 25% of workers have left their job due to a bad commute. So there’s certainly an incentive to fix commutes for both employees and employers. But unfortunately, shifting such a sticky behavior is very difficult.

COVID-19 has caused a massive disruption in commuting behavior. We have gone from the daily commute dominating our week to being completely non-existent overnight. But it won’t stay this way forever, and employees will soon return to their offices invigorated and ready to take on the world. Let’s not make a 45-minute drive in traffic their welcome back.

Companies need to use this opportunity to change the trajectory of commuting at their organization for good. Here at Commutifi, we empower businesses and individuals to make data-driven commuting decisions that help them save time, money, and carbon emissions. Our patented Commuter Score analyzes every aspect of a commute, comparing it to all available options on the market and within an organization, to produce a single score from 0–100, and we are excited about the opportunity we have to move commuters closer to 100.

Follow these three steps during this period of opportunity, and your employees will (literally) return to the office happy and energized.

Step 1: Survey your Commuters

To ensure that your commuting programs don’t go under-utilized, you need to design them to work for your commuters. So start by setting up a commuter survey for your office to gain a deeper understanding of how your employees get to work. It can be as long or short as you’d like, but it should ask enough to understand the where, what, and how of their commutes.

We know that the best time to change commuting behavior is during a major life disruption. Well, here we all are in the midst of the biggest major life disruption most of us will see in our lifetime. The time is now!

Employees are saving about an hour on average each day by not commuting. It takes less than 5 minutes to fill out a commuter survey. That seems like a great trade-off.

If creating, distributing, and analyzing a survey seems daunting to you, Commutifi can help. Our smart survey was built to gather the most important information not only on the when, where, and how of employee commute patterns, but also the most important questions of why they commute this way. And we handle distribution, management, and analysis too (more on that later).

Step 2: Identify and Create New Commuting Programs

Decide what programs to provide your employees based on the unique needs at your organization. Comb through your survey results and identify a few “problem spots” in your organization’s commute profile.

Need some inspiration? See if one of the following programs works for your organization:

Weave remote work into your company culture (more on this later)

  • Implement an incentivized carpooling program

  • Provide a parking cash-out incentive using our Mobility Wallet

  • Give employees a free or employer-subsidized transit or bikeshare pass

Our customers have had success across many of these programs, but the common thread is that each is intentionally designed to address the needs of their commuters.

Also, think about the impact that COVID-19 might have on real and perceived health and safety — will your employees feel comfortable carpooling or taking public transportation? Do you have an alternative in place for these commuters?

And remember: time is of the essence! Your programs should be up and running by the time your employees return to the office to optimize adoption.

This seems very daunting, but Commutifi can help with this too! We specialize in data-driven commuting solutions after all. We distill all commuter survey information into a single dashboard of detailed analytics that helps you understand current commuting behavior, plan and model future programs, and track and measure progress.

We also provide you a custom impact and cost estimate before you get started with your commuter programs, so you know what to expect before making the plunge. Secret tip: many of these programs ultimately save your organization money in the long run (while reducing time and carbon emissions)!

Bonus: Consider Making Remote Work a Permanent Program

Since you will have already built out the infrastructure and company culture to enable your employees to work from home, developing and extending a remote work program indefinitely (even for a portion of your workforce) will be a VERY inexpensive and impactful way to improve commuting.

Consider this: There are 8,000 employees that work in Downtown Boulder, CO. For every month that employees work from home during this crisis, 2.2 million pounds of CO2 (equivalent to 46,500 trees), 171 thousand hours, and $1.75 million will be saved.

Think about the impact you can have on your employees, your organization, and the environment by extending your remote policy, even in an abbreviated way.

One option to consider if this piques your interest but your employees feel unproductive at home is developing satellite offices. Co-working offices work great for this scenario.

Step 3: Launch the New Program(s) Before Everyone Returns

Not everyone will be able to take advantage of every program, so identify which employees will benefit from each. (People don’t like excess communications, so don’t use up their attention on programs that don’t apply to them.) Now’s the fun part — send that email, Slack, or carrier pigeon.

Notify everyone of your new commuting programs about a week before they return to the office, and encourage them to register right away. Your employees will already be disrupting their new habit, so they will be primed to consider a new commute. Plus, they’ll appreciate the work you put in to make their return to the office that much better.

Commutifi can help you distribute and manage every program, and will even let you selectively target the right program to the right employee. Commuters can easily opt in to programs, fill out any necessary paperwork, make payments, and more straight from their dashboard. And as they make these changes, you will see your organization’s Commuter Score improve in real-time.

Better commuting starts here.

Better commuting starts here.

Better commuting starts here.