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Employers

How TravelWise Strategies Can Benefit Your Business

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Creating a workplace that integrates TravelWise strategies can give your company a competitive edge in the marketplace. While at first glance the ideas laid out in TravelWise appear to only benefit employees, remember that happy employees make for happy employers.

Benefits

Implementing TravelWise strategies benefits everyone. Studies have shown that employers who allow their employees to utilize TravelWise strategies in the workplace experience an increase in applicants, employee retention and productivity as well as decreased sick leave and need for office space -- all because employees are able to arrange their schedules to better fit their lifestyles. For employers, these things all add up to a better bottom line.

Getting Started

If you are interested in establishing a TravelWise program in your office, the following steps may help you get started:

  • Survey employees to determine their level of interest in implementing the various TravelWise strategies
  • Determine which strategies are most feasible to support
  • Determine if you need to assign an employee to coordinate your efforts
  • Create an incentive and/or awards program to encourage and recognize employees and their managers who implement TravelWise strategies (examples: additional vacation time, free breakfast or lunch once a month, financial-based rewards, etc.)
  • Develop company policies regarding the use of TravelWise strategies

You'll find more strategy-specific tips for employers in the Strategies section below. Additionally, you may contact the TravelWise team to assist you in setting up a customized TravelWise plan for your company.

TravelWise Actions

Public Transit: Offer your employees a more productive commute

Employers who offer transit benefits to employees reap rewards from reduced employee absenteeism, reduced employee turnover and potential savings on employer payroll taxes. Transit benefits can be a low-cost way for employers to offer an added benefit to employees through options such as employer-paid transit commuter benefits or employee-paid pre-tax salary deductions. If you currently pay for or subsidize your employees' parking costs, your company can reap significant savings.
    Tips
  • Explore the possibility of providing a shuttle service to and from the nearest transit stop or station
  • Coordinate with other nearby employers to see if they are interested in arranging to provide transit services and share the costs
  • Talk with your HR representatives or your accountant about the federal tax code allowance for contributing up to $230/month tax free to employees' transit benefits
  • Offer employees a "Guaranteed Ride Home" benefit . This can be accomplished relatively inexpensively by simply paying cab fare when an emergency or sickness arises. In reality, employees do not often use it, and the cost of providing this security is minimal

Teleworking: Save space, costs and stress

Offering teleworking options at your workplace can help you improve employee recruiting and retention. Additionally, financial savings can result from no longer needing to provide office or parking space for all employees every day. Many employers report that costs associated with setting up an employee to telework are offset by the cost savings and are key to helping employees decrease their stress and balance their work life. Research shows that many employees who telework report higher levels of productivity because they are not constantly interrupted by workplace issues.

Thanks to modern technology, teleworking is possible from just about anywhere -- at home, a telecenter, a coffee shop or a grocery store, not to mention in transit, at the airport or anywhere that has wireless Internet. Teleworking by conference calling or video conferencing can also save travel time and travel reimbursement costs.
    Tips
  • Identify and screen positions or employees with job skills that make them suitable for teleworking
  • Make sure all telecommunication infrastructure is in place (example: video-conferencing software)
  • Encourage employees to conference call or video conference in place of face-to-face meetings
  • Determine whether employees will telework from home, a telework center or another location
  • Take advantage of any remote work locations or satellite offices
  • Establish clear expectations regarding remote supervision and communication
  • Provide necessary technical support so that technology, equipment or connections are not a barrier to productivity
  • Offer an orientation and on-going training on how to telework successfully

Carpooling: Reward your team for working together

Employee carpooling offers businesses several benefits including a reduced need for parking. This alone can offer significant savings if you currently pay for or subsidize employee parking. Also, employees who carpool are shown to have less commuter-related stress, improved morale and greater productivity.
    Tips
  • Determine what incentives would encourage employees to carpool (examples: preferential parking or reduced cost or free parking)
  • Consider utilizing UTA's vanpooling options
  • Help employees form carpool groups according to their work schedules and where they live
  • Offer employees a "Guaranteed Ride Home" benefit. This can be accomplished relatively inexpensively by simply paying cab fare when an emergency or sickness arises. In reality, employees do not often use it, and the cost of providing this security is minimal

Flexible Schedules: Motivate your employees to balance their work life

Research shows that employees who have control over choosing their work hours are more motivated and less likely to leave, thereby reducing turnover costs. A flexible schedule allows employees to better balance their work life and other responsibilities, reducing tardiness and absence due to personal commitments.

With compressed workweeks, employees work non-standard hours in fewer days, typically 10-hour days for four days a week, or nine-hour days with one day off on alternating weeks, thus allowing them to have more personal days. Another type of schedule, flexible work hours, allows for variability in the time employees begin and end their workdays. For example, working flexible work hours allows for a parent to arrive after school carpooling responsibilities. For companies that span different time zones, flexible work hours allow the company to extend their business day and facilitate company operations. As a result, flexible schedules can be good for a company's financial health.
    Tips
  • Review business operations and make necessary changes to accommodate flexible work hours
  • Evaluate which positions require presence at all times during normal business hours and whether or not each position's responsibilities are measured by results or hours on the clock
  • Establish clear policies regarding work hours

Active Transportation: Improve your team's health while reducing emissions

Employees who walk or bike to work are more productive as they arrive relaxed and ready to work. With strong employee participation, you can realize reduced parking needs at the workplace along with the benefits of a healthier workforce. Potential employees will see your company as a good steward of the environment by promoting alternative modes of transportation, which in turn provides you with a recruiting advantage.
    Tips
  • Ensure that there is free and secure bicycle parking
  • Provide on-site showers and lockers so that employees can freshen up before starting their workday
  • Check with your HR department or accountant about recent federal tax code changes offering deductions for bicycle allowances up to $20/month
  • Offer employees a "Guaranteed Ride Home" benefit. This can be accomplished relatively inexpensively by simply paying cab fare when an emergency or sickness arises. In reality, employees do not often use it, and the cost of providing this security is minimal

Employees

How TravelWise Strategies can Improve Your Work Life

Utah's roadways are most congested during morning and evening commute times. Using TravelWise strategies to develop a game plan will help ease congestion, reduce energy consumption and improve air quality, which improves the quality of life for all of us.

Benefits

When implemented in the workplace, employees are the direct beneficiaries of the majority of TravelWise benefits. Employees are able to arrange their schedules to fit their lifestyles, put less wear and tear on their personal vehicles, save money on gas and car maintenance and feel empowered by knowing that they're pitching in to help the environment by improving air quality and reducing energy consumption and traffic congestion.

Getting Started

If you are interested in making TravelWise strategies a part of your work life, consider the following suggestions to help you get going:

  • Determine which TravelWise strategies best fit your work demands and personal needs and which would be the most feasible to implement
  • Check with your company's HR department or transit coordinator to learn about TravelWise benefits your company offers
  • Encourage your employer to conduct a survey to gauge employee interest for implementing TravelWise strategies

You'll find more strategy-specific tips for employees in the Strategies section below. If your employer does not currently offer TravelWise work options, talk to them about the benefits of doing so.

TravelWise Actions

Public Transit: Be productive during your commute

Commuting via transit is regaining popularity due to several factors including the creation of better transit access and systems, the growing concern for the environment and the increasing ease of multi-tasking while riding. With more time to read, relax, listen to music or work during the commute, you can actually add time to your day. Plus, when you factor in the cost savings on gas, parking, car maintenance and wear and tear on your vehicle, transit becomes a rather appealing option.
    Tips
  • Take advantage of new legislation that allows employees to deduct up to $230/month from your gross income to pay for mass transit commutes
  • Plan your trip using the UTA Trip Planner

Teleworking: Cut out your commute

Just think of all the time you will save by not having to commute. Teleworking employees utilize e-mail, the Internet, phones and other telecommunications technologies to complete work. Teleworking can be done from home, a telecenter, the neighborhood coffee shop, on transit or just about anywhere you can get an Internet connection. You can even telework by having a conference call or video conference instead of a face-to-face meeting. By teleworking, you can decrease your commute time, increase schedule flexibility and improve your work environment and family life.
    Tips
  • Contact your supervisor or HR department to see if your work skills or position allow you to work remotely from your office
  • Determine how much time you will devote each week to teleworking (example: 1 or 2 days or more)
  • Ask if your company pays for the costs of telework arrangements such as computer equipment, network access, additional phone lines, printers and office equipment
  • Work closely with your manager so as to not feel "out of the loop" when attending onsite meetings
  • Make an effort to attend onsite meetings and social activities on a regular basis
  • Participate in company orientations and trainings on telework
  • Offer to give back part of your travel time savings to your employer in the form of added work time--making this a win-win program for all

Carpooling: Save gas and enjoy the company

The most obvious benefit from carpooling is reduced commuting costs including gas and general vehicle maintenance. Other important pay-offs include more personal time while traveling to and from work and less driving-related stress. With the expansion of high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Utah's roads, carpool commuters also realize better travel times by being able to utilize these facilities.
    Tips
  • Talk to your HR department about any carpool incentive programs that may be in place such as preferential carpool parking or reduced-cost parking
  • Use UTA to take advantage of the carpool matching software

Flexible Schedules: You decide when you want to work

With flexible work schedules, you will not be stuck in peak-hour traffic congestion, wasting fuel idling. Better yet, you can reduce your commuting and parking costs while feeling a sense of control over your work schedule and having a say in the hours you work. You may even find you have more personal time to spend with family or pursue other interests. At work, you can be more productive because you will have uninterrupted time for creative, repetitive or highly detailed work. Flexible work schedules can help you balance your work and personal life in a way that reduces stress.
    Tips
  • Check with the HR department on your company's alternative work schedule policy, which may include both compressed workweeks and flexible work hours
  • Discuss with your supervisor what schedule would work best for your department's work load as well as you personally; be sure to think about the work demands of your area

Active Transportation: Save money and get some exercise

Biking and/or walking to work can provide you with health benefits and reduce the cost of getting to work. Not only do you arrive to work relaxed and ready for the day, you also eliminate the stress that comes from driving in congestion, finding a parking space and purchasing gas. You also help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
    Tips
  • Check with your employer about incentives offered for biking or walking to work (example: a parking cash out)
  • Determine how far you need to travel to access another transportation mode, or if you will walk or bike the entire way to your destination
  • Make sure your bike is tuned up and fits you or that you have comfortable walking shoes
  • For biking, obtain necessary bike equipment such as a bike pump, blinking tail light, pant leg band, lock, water bottle and other equipment as needed
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothing such as breathable fabrics
  • Plan your route and then do a test ride or walk
  • Find a secure place to park your bike
  • Consider taking a change of clothes, or keeping a change of clothes in a locker at your destination
  • Check the weather before you go
  • Check with your HR department about tax incentives for cycling to work