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Commuting During a Pandemic: Ripple Effects on the Hourly Workforce

November 11, 2020 - minute read

Even with ongoing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the safest ways to travel and use public transit, commuting during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major concern for businesses in 2020. With 60 percent of the workforce continuing daily, in-person work, many employers have had to dedicate themselves to combatting commuting-related obstacles, lowering exposure risks, and reinforcing a feeling of safety as employees begin to commute to work sites again.

If you oversee an hourly workforce, this is no easy task. Since there are often no work-from-home options for hourly employees and no ways to avoid their need to interact with clients, client sites, or other employees—you have to take extra precautions in order to lower their pandemic exposure and support their commuting needs, so that you remain fully staffed and operational.

Let’s discuss how and why you should consider helping your employees commute during a pandemic, as well as some ways to reinforce your HR efforts around this issue.

Getting Employees Comfortable with Commuting Again

Depending on where your state or local ordinances stand, you have likely already reopened your operations or are in the process of re-calling your employees back to work. As an HR representative, you need to integrate flexible options to support employee health and safety during this transition. After all, commutes are an important part of the employee experience and critical to managing your COVID-19 efforts.

You need to figure out how many employees are actively willing to commute to work sites, as well as whether or not individual accommodations are going to be required. This may sound like a lot of preparatory work, but it is the only true way to evaluate the best options for assisting with your employee commuting.

ebook - COVID handbook sample-1

Alternative Transportation and Commuter Options

There are a lot of opportunities to promote alternative commuting options to employees and lower coronavirus exposure, primarily with reimbursements or temporary benefits. Consider providing parking passes or flexible rideshare options. If you’re in an industry where your employees report to a client site, you could even help arrange for your workers to park in the client garage or parking lot to lower the use of public transit for the remainder of the pandemic.

The more options you can offer your employees, the more likely they will be able to choose one that eases their commuting needs and lowers COVID-related concerns. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you update your employee handbook accordingly.

Here are some additional transportation options to consider:

  • Offer your employees incentives for active commuting, such as by bike, electric bike, scooter, or other form of alternative travel.
  • Offer stipends or reimbursement options for parking so employees can drive to work without added expense or the need to take public transit.
  • Provide stipends for using ride-hailing services and cabs to lower overall use of heavily trafficked public transportation.

Safeguarding Employee Health with Workforce Management

When you are truly engaged with your employees’ needs, you are able to strengthen the trust of your workforce, safeguard productivity, and maximize the health of your organization as a whole. In order to accommodate your employees, you need an HR solution that supports you just as much. At EPAY Systems, we offer solutions that can track employees and lower workforce management hazards without contributing to compliance issues or lowering morale.

Our Human Capital Management solution is built with hourly, distributed workforce hurdles in mind. With tools like Dynamic Punch Questions, which allow you to ask employees questions during their punch in/punch out, you can actively track the success of your commuting methods and monitor COVID risks in your workforce directly. Check out our COVID-19 Resources Center for more information, or watch our 2-minute tour and request a demo today!

Filed Under: Employee Benefits COVID-19