Whether commuting to work by car, public transport, or on foot, chances are you probably don’t like it. For many people, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder on trains, the experience can certainly be stressful. Contributor Tom Chapman – CandidSky
One-out-of-every-seven employees even commute for more than two hours each day – a significant part of their day-to-day routine. Even worse, this experience can be an expensive one. According to recruiter TotalJobs, the average UK staff member will spend £146 per month on their commuting costs. This figure, over the course of their lifetime, totals up to around £135,000.
Those travelling into London are much worse off, with this cost increasing to almost £200,000. This is an enormous amount of money and certainly puts a dent in the finances of hard-working men and women across the country. However, some companies have started easing the pain by shouldering the burden of commuting costs themselves.
Should employers pay for staff commutes?
Generally, employers aren’t legally obligated to pay for commuting costs. However, expenses incurred as a result of travelling during ‘work time’, such as attending meetings, should be reimbursed.
Consequently, bosses who decide to pay for commutes largely do so out of altruism – not because they have to. Regardless, those which do often report their staff members feel more engaged, while noticing positive impacts on retention.
Lauren Smith, speaking for one company which provided commuting costs, stated: “A number of our employees travel fairly far each morning, and providing this as a benefit helps our employees to feel valued and supported.”
However, enacting such a scheme can be expensive, and Smith advocated paying for staff commutes as a reward – potentially from two years of service. Alternatively, other schemes could be implemented such as flexible hours, a work-from-home policy, or as a reward for excellence.
Regardless, this is an initiative which carries a number of excellent staff benefits – and any employer who wants to promote themselves as running a great place to work should at least consider it.
Companies paying for commutes
It would be impractical to list all the companies which help their employees cover commuting costs, but we have detailed some examples here:
Mortgage lender LendingHome offers a variety of benefits and perks to its staff members, one of these covers commuting costs. According to the organisation, employees can save money on their travelling expenses through pre-tax deductions, as well as a monthly stipend.
A global research and advisory group, Gartner has more than 100 offices throughout the world and employs approximately 15,000 individuals. On its job pages, the organisation lists a “cycle-to-work scheme” and a range of competitive benefits. However, for those who rely on their vehicles, staff members report that managers are open to providing car allowances.
Time management tool Asana is used by more than 15,000 organisations across the world and offers a variety of benefits for their staff members.
For example, those operating out of their San Francisco office can apply for ride-share credits. While this won’t completely cover the cost of commuting, it – at least – reduces the financial strain.
Intuit has offices in eight countries and predominantly specialises in providing financial software to small businesses. The firm recognises the negative effects of commuting – both on the planet and their workforce – and provides a series of alternatives to help their employees.
For example, staff can apply for a no-interest season ticket loan while other individuals have reported such schemes as carpooling and a “guaranteed ride home” programme.
Paying for staff commutes isn’t completely farfetched
Paying for the commutes of your workforce might seem like an unreasonable expense. However, it should be considered an investment.
After all, staff with more disposable income tend to be happier and more productive. Furthermore, the chances of them leaving for a company which doesn’t offer similar schemes are greatly reduced.
For inspiration, look to Japan. Over there, it’s commonplace for employers to help their staff members in this way – with almost 90% of companies providing a “commuting allowance”.
Therefore, while employers are not legally required to provide this expense, those which do will have a clear advantage over their counterparts. Ultimately, for the price of a few train tickets, you could secure the loyalty of your entire workforce.