Blog & Company News

Dec 9, 2011

How Small-Business Owners and Employees Benefit From a ‘Green’ Commute

[caption id="attachment_393" align="alignright" width="310" caption="car pool"][/caption] Small-business owners should take advantage of the intrinsic and monetary benefits of encouraging employees to make a “green” commute. Giving employees incentives to walk, bike, bus, or carpool to the office can save business owners time and money, as well as boost morale. A green commute will create happier employees, a better business, and a healthier bottom line. Here’s how. Reduced Parking Costs If your employees pay for their own parking, green commuting will save them money. To encourage green commuting, calculate how much your employees would save by leaving their cars at home—lower gas expenses, reduced car maintenance, and fewer parking fees. Next, help your employees identify the most convenient bus routes from their homes to the office by downloading maps and schedules. Or, have human resources suggest carpool groups to employees with nearby home addresses. To add incentives to employees’ participation in these calmer, cleaner commutes, offer to pay for all or part of their bus fares, or pay for a single parking space for carpoolers, for example. If the managers of your office building automatically assign parking spaces to your company, negotiate a discount on rent for giving up the parking spaces. If you use few or none of your parking spaces, chances are the building managers will be able to sell the spaces to other renters. Regardless of your parking situation, discuss the perks of green commuting with future employment candidates. Advertising a “green” office will increase your appeal to prospective workers—especially among the younger generations—and it will add value in terms of the environment. Improved Morale and Teamwork Soon, you’ll find that people who bike to work have formed cycling teams. Employees who walk to work can organize charity walks together. Carpoolers, for their turn, will likely discuss work on the commute, which means more off-the-clock productivity and brainstorming. Carpoolers will also likely discuss family and personal matters, and such discussions tend to bring individuals closer as a team. Either way, encouraging a green commute indirectly promotes teamwork inside and outside the office—definitely cheaper than a retreat with ropes courses and trust falls. Healthier, Happier Workers How many work mornings are ruined by a stressful rush-our commute? By taking the bus or the train, employees can read books, listen to music, and generally relax before Monday-morning meetings. In addition, biking and walking make for healthier individuals. Not only that, but exercise has also been shown to relieve office-related stress, improve mental calm, and increase workplace productivity. Researchers from England’s University of Bristol, as reported by the Daily Mail, found that employees who exercised before going to work or during lunch breaks were calmer and less stressed on those days than on days they didn’t exercise.2 For more information, visit: 1. “Get a Tax Break for Going Green in 2011” 2. “People Who Exercise on Work Days Are Happier, Suffer Less Stress, and Are More Productive