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Offering commuter benefits while working out of a coworking space

Being in a coworking space is an exciting time for young companies. In what’s often the company’s first office space, everyone is working and grinding to get their business off the ground and established. The free cold brew and beer on tap is also a nice touch – but we digress. While it can be exciting to be in a coworking office, the early startup time is always stressful, and commutes shouldn’t be an added pain.

commuter benefits coworking 2

Although it can be difficult to provide commuter benefits when you’re a young company trying to make every dollar count, employees still commute regardless of your company’s size. It’s especially important to offer commuter benefits at the early stages to attract the talent it will take to get your company off the ground. While some options may be limited when working out of a coworking office, there are still options available.

What are commuter benefits?

If you’re unfamiliar with commuter benefits, let’s go through a quick review. They are simply ways for companies to assist employees in getting to and from the office every day. Often they’re thought of just as pre-tax benefits, but there are a lot of other options outside of that to make it as easy as possible for your employees to get into work. Even though you’re not in a space of your own, there’s still plenty you can do.

What you can offer

One of the easiest ways to help with commutes is by providing transit accounts for employees to use pre-tax money for the metro or bus. The IRS recently raised the monthly allowance to $265 per month for commuters to deduct from their paychecks. Not only does this save individual commuters money, but it can save employers as much as seven percent on payroll taxes – it’s a win-win!

  • Bikesharing has been booming in cities across the country — the number of bikesharing systems nearly doubled in the United States between 2016 and 2018. This has given employees another easily accessible form of sustainable commuting, and employers another option to offer employees for their daily circle
    • Many bikesharing systems provide corporate pricing for employers to either fully or partiallysubsidize bikeshare memberships for their employees. As a growing company, a fully subsidized membership may not be feasible, but paying for some of the cost is possible.
    • Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC offers tiered corporate pricing (like most bikesharing systems) where employers can choose how much of the cost they want to cover. The lowest-priced tier is less than $13 per year, and you only pay for employees who actually sign up. This will encourage your employees to take a more sustainable method of transit to work, not to mention the effect it can have on their happiness.

  • Ridehailing companies have become popular among commuters. Going directly from home to the office, without having to worry about spending time and money on gas, maintenance, and parking, is a very attractive offer. Although employees won’t have to pay for the costs associated with owning a car, choosing to Uber every day will start to add up – this is where employers can help.
    • rideshare iconUber, Lyft, and Via have corporate account options to ease the financial burden for commuters and place some of the cost on employers. Employers have the option to set limits based on time of day, day of the week, or whether the ride is shared. This ensures a corporate ridehail account is used for commuting only. To save money for both parties, employers can opt to only pay for ridehailing commutes a few days a week as well.
    • Coworking spaces have become a popular option as satellite offices for larger corporations. While they aren’t commuting to the headquarters, remote employees still need to get to their office, and offering them a rideshare account can help ease the burden of a tumultuous commute.

Tools and resources

Working to get your business off the ground doesn’t leave you with a lot of time or money to open and manage different corporate accounts for your employee’s commutes. To help with that, you might want to consider a third-party HR software to help employees manage their different commuter benefit options.

At TransitScreen, we can manage all of our commuter benefits needs through Justworks, our HR management tool of choice. Since none of our employees regularly drive to work, this is one of our most important tools and perks.

Through Justworks, our employees can set their pre-tax deductions for their Metro pass. To give them more commuting options, they have the option to enroll in our Capital Bikeshare and Zipcar memberships. And there are plenty of other HR management software companies like Zenefits, Gusto, and more.

bus pass graphic

If employees choose the metro or the bus as their primary method of commuting, knowing which pass to choose is a tough decision. Prices can change for monthly passes depending on distance, time, and day of the week. Because of this, we’ve created our CommuteExpert tool to make the decision easier for every commuter. You just have to enter some information about your commute, and CommuteExpert will recommend the best transit pass for you – it’s really that easy.

Do you know why now?

Working out of a coworking space usually means time and money are precious while trying to get established. While the focus is on the company, employees shouldn’t fall by the wayside. There are ways to help with their commutes while still being price conscious. The first step is offering a benefit, whether it’s helping with a monthly metro pass, setting up a corporate bikesharing account, or another option that works for your growing company.

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