No matter where you’re at with your return to office (RTO) planning, it’s clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Last summer, we offered several strategies to help you craft a back-to-office plan. Nearly a year later, we’re listening to you and learning just how important it is to keep the creative ideas coming to win talent, control costs, and engage employees in the new hybrid work reality. What more can you add to your benefits to sweeten the deal?
Put yourself in your employees’ shoes. What would it take for you to return to the office? The extras that may have worked in the past—cool snacks in the kitchen and game rooms—aren’t quite the ticket for today’s environment. Consider this: maybe it’s less about what you provide inside the office and more about what you can offer to help people get to the office. From hybrid strategies to fully in office—or somewhere in between—expanding your perspective to include Commuter Benefits, plus weave in wellness and sustainability factors, may just be the win-win you need to wow your talent.
Feed two birds with one scone
Adding flexible commuting options can pay off in multiple ways. Many modes of transportation—biking, walking, public transit—get bodies moving more and have less of an adverse impact on the environment. We’re seeing employers across the country roll out creative commuter benefits in the form of incentives and subsidies aimed at getting people moving across town in sustainable and enjoyable ways.
Bring on the bike incentives for more motivation to get to work
When it comes to commute incentives, you have a big menu of options to select. Incentives are cash amounts that employees receive for commuting sustainably, like taking the bus or biking. Speaking of bikes, did you know that as an employer you can cover the costs to buy, lease, or share a bike? On top of that, you can even pay employees to ride their bike to work on days they come into the office.
Here are some examples of how Luum by HealthEquity customers use these types of incentives:
- University A gives their students $5/day for biking to campus.
- Hospital B gives their employees $3/day for taking public transit to work.
- Enterprise C grants a $25 gift card to employees who log 5+ days of sustainable commutes in one month.
Scope out specific examples
In this article from GeekWire, you can find out how Amazon (and others) are building better, more flexible benefits into their commute program—with bikes as the focus—as we return to offices.1 The referenced, monthly $170 bike-friendly benefits can be applied to shares, leases, and owned bicycles in the form of tune-ups and secure parking.
Diving even deeper, check out the “Improving Your Bike Program” session (beginning at 56:00) from the Luuminary20 conference. This video features David Allen from Bikes Make Life Better and Slade Bedford from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). David and Slade share how they promote commute flexibility through bike and other non-drive alone incentives, while doubling down on organization-wide sustainability initiatives.2
Here are key additional takeaways from that session:
- People have rediscovered biking. There’s a great opportunity to encourage recreational biking AND commute by bike. Transportation Demand Management (TDM) professionals can nudge people to encourage bike commutes.
- Add a communications strategy when implementing a bike program. Start with a survey to discover who is willing to give it a try. Then build a messaging platform to share the things employees need to do and think about as a bike commuter.
- Emphasize the value. Programs like these helped BMGF achieve carbon neutrality at their Seattle campus.
How parking permits relate to biking programs
When considering bike incentives, remember to take a look at parking benefits. Restructuring parking permits is one way to support increased biking. For example, moving from monthly permits to daily parking was a critical factor contributing to the success of the BMGF bike program. It gave their people greater flexibility in choosing the best way to get into offices each day.
Daily choice and market-rate parking can go a long way in getting the behavior change you wish to see at your organization—and employees love this newfound freedom, too. Instead of committing to a monthly parking permit, people have the freedom to drive to work one day and bike the next without losing money—and make money instead!
Setting sustainable commuting in motion
When you’re ready to explore commuter incentives, there’s a wealth of resources to support you. Start by looking through our variety of programs—from proactive parking management to proven employee engagement. You’ll find solutions for every commute. If you’re interested in bringing commute benefits to your organization, reach out to a Luum commute specialist.
1HealthEquity and Amazon, Inc. are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s policies or services.
2All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement to them.
HealthEquity does not provide legal, tax or financial advice. Always consult a professional when making life-changing decisions.