by Tom Bastek
Technology in today’s workplace is helping us crunch large volumes of data, much to the benefit of a company’s bottom line. There are many companies however, who are missing out on the many benefits of tracking a very easily accessible data set: their employees commute. Here are five benefits of tracking this data:
1. $Dollars to the Bottom Line
This benefit is the most important to employees (and yes companies) yet often the most overlooked. Knowing how, where and when your team commutes to your office can lead us to savings for both. We will use ABC Corp. as our example with 1000 employees. If a percentage of the employees will take transit to work every day, the company would benefit by partnering with their local transit service to purchase monthly passes in advance using pretax dollars. Internal Revenue Code, Section 132(f) provides companies the opportunity to use pretax dollars. Not only will this save the employee money on the pre-tax savings of their commute, but the company does not have to pay the 7.65% payroll tax on that amount. Let’s say in our example, the monthly transit pass is $100. Multiply that by the 150 people taking transit and ABC Corp. just saved $15,000/month in monies to be taxed. For the companies that are paying for parking for each employee, if you have an active way to track their commute, you may be able to save on the parking expense as well. In our example, ABC Corp, who pays $75 a parking spot for each employee, offered to subsidize the transit pass of each of the 150 employees who take transit if they were willing to give up their parking spot.
2. Marketing / PR
Corporate responsibility and carbon footprint reporting has become a number that investors are expecting to see quarterly. Having very accurate information on programs to reduce single occupancy vehicles reduces a company’s carbon footprint. Aggressive commuter programs can reduce commuter carbon emissions by 25% or more, depending on the programs rolled out to employees. Tracking employees’ commutes can help make great press. Job flexibility is a great benefit of employee recruitment and retention. Your Human Resources department can advertise when recruiting new employees to weigh in the local green Initiatives for buildings, recyclables, commuting and more. Being able to claim transit subsidies, clean commuting and commute reduction on your marketing materials provides additional benefits to retain your best employees and entice future talent.
3. LEED Certification
For companies seeking LEED certification, implementing a commute progam makes additional points available. Under LEED SS 4.1, Alternative Transportation – Public Transportation Access – there is an extra credit point for creating a ‘comprehensive transportation management plan’ showing a quantifiable reduction in auto use. Under LEED SS 4.2 – Alternative Transportation – Bicycle Storage & Changing Rooms provides another extra point for creating that ‘comprehensive transportation management plan’. An additional point is also available under SS 4.3 – Alternative Transportation – and Low Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles – and SS 4.4 – Alternative Transportation – Parking Capacity.
In order to create that plan, a company needs to know how their employees commute. Commute Tracking software can provide the survey information and crunch the numbers without the tediousness of the paper work. These surveys are typically done by expensive third party consultants and require incentives to employees complete. If a company is tracking their employees commute year round, no incentives or consultants are necessary. The results can be pulled at any time. If one third of a company’s employees are within 10 miles, they might be more apt to work on converting more employees to a bike commute. If there are pockets of employees along the same route, a car pool initiative is an option. With commute tracking software, this is an easy process to track. You will have a baseline as soon as you start tracking. Once your program is in place, you can view on line through dashboards and summary reports.
If you are in California and several additional states and cities across the country, you already have to survey your employees once a year, anyway; why not have real time commuter profiles?
4. Location, Location, Location
Locating your organization is a tedious task. Finding the best place to get the best workforce is a significant consideration. Let’s go to our example one more time: ABC Corp. has decided to move to a new building, and at the same time to create less of a carbon footprint to show its clients that they will Do More For Their Community than their competition. To help make decisions in this move, they are pulling the following data from their commute tracking program:
- Commuter data maps to assist with a location that aligns with the needs of the company and the commuter base.
- Try and reduce the amount of parking by 20%. The most common figure used for a parking space is $20,000 with another annual cost of real estate.
- Target people who teleworked at least one day a month over the last year and create a possibility list of who could do it more often. Consider less office space with shared desks to lower rent and facilities expenses.
- Look at the historic trends to see how many miles the company already takes off the road each year with their current commuting core and then set goals for the future.
These are just some of the many ways Employee Commute Tracking can help a company reach financial and environmental success. The tidal wave on tracking is coming. Now is the time to ride it or get run over by it.
5. Employee Compassion
Tracking your employees commute allows a company to have a better understanding of their employee’s mindset. Maybe they are all sitting in traffic for 2 hours and are absolutely miserable and stressed by the time they get in. Let’s look at our example again. So now we are tracking commutes at ABC Corp. and we find out that most of our people are coming from northwest of the city. This main thoroughfare is an average commute most of the time, except when the New City Blasters have a baseball game. Then the commute home is hampered. When upper management found out that 73% of their employees were affected by this and either rushing to get out early to avoid the traffic, or miserable knowing they couldn’t, ABC Corp. allowed their employees to flex their hours on those pre-assigned days so that they could avoid the traffic. Who doesn’t want to work for / stay at a company that helps employees spend more of their time with family? Happier employees = more productive employees = more profitable company. Tada! Now we are not just saving money, we’re making it, too.