Encourage Employees to Share Four Wheels or Pedal Two

biking guyWith the price of gas even less predictable than the average teenager’s mood, there’s no better time to hop aboard the ridesharing and biking bandwagon.


Employers especially should be encouraging these modes of transportation. That’s because workers who rideshare are likely to:


  • be more productive;


  • miss fewer work hours due to traffic delays;


  • remain with their employer when they have a stable, affordable means of commuting.


Business owners also accrue benefits when employees bike to work, including:


  • Exercising before work – in this case cycling – boosts an employee’s productivity by an average of 15 percent.


  • Cyclists take 15 percent fewer sick days, thus reducing employer health-care costs.


  • Research has shown that bike commuters are happier and less stressed than those who commute by car.


Recruit for Ridesharing

Ridesharing benefits business owners, but it also offers advantages that should be emphasized to employees. Specifically, ridesharing’s upsides include:


  • reduces pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions;
  • saves wear and tear on personal vehicles;
  • decreases commute time by enabling use of HOV lanes;
  • lowers the cost of commuting;
  • enables employees to arrive at work more relaxed.


Employers also can encourage ridesharing by:


  • Creating a ride-matching mechanism – To maximize the effectiveness of a ridesharing program, there needs to be a means of connecting geographically proximal employees and announcing when existing carpools have spots to fill. Said mechanism can be as low-tech as a bulletin board, or as high-tech as a list-serve communications system.


  • Giving financial incentives – Employers can coax employees to rideshare by paying all or part of their carpooling expenses and then taking the Section 132(f) tax deduction. Tax benefits also are available to ridesharing workers.


  • Providing preferred parking – Ridesharing workers additionally can be rewarded with primo parking spaces that are reserved for carpool vehicles.


  • Guaranteeing a ride home – Employees are more likely to embrace ridesharing if they know that – in the event of an emergency or the need to stay late at work – an employer-provided car service is available to transport them home.


  • Offering an onsite company car – Business owners can boost ridesharing by making a company car available if a carpooling employee has an off-site meeting or needs to run an errand during the day.


Bolster Biking

To increase the number of workers who are willing to trade four wheels for two, employers should consider taking these steps:


  • Providing shelter – Bicycles need to be sheltered from the elements, so many businesses provide bike lockers or covered bike parking.


  • Offering showers – Employees who bike to work may need to freshen up before starting their day, so the availability of onsite showers would certainly encourage cycling. Granted, providing such an amenity might be out of reach for small businesses.


  • Promoting pre-tax benefits – The Federal Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit allows employees who commute by bicycle to receive a $20 monthly subsidy.


  • Kicking in – As an incentive to push employees to pedal, some employers kick in a monthly subsidy of their own to help cover the costs of bicycling equipment and repairs.


  • Making bikes available onsite – If your business has more than one building or locations that are within biking distance of each other, making shared bicycles available onsite could work to: 1.) Push employees in the direction of biking to work; and, 2.) Increase employee fitness and thus productivity.


  • Holding a lunchtime workshop – Invite a local bicycle-commuter expert to hold a lunchtime workshop to not only review the benefits of biking, but also to discuss safety and other commuting tips.


  • Ensuring a ride home – Just as with ridesharing, employees are more likely to embrace biking if they know that a company-provided car service is available in the event that unforeseen circumstances prevent pedaling home.











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Susan Peters