Workers say employers should pay for their commute if they want them back in the office


For employers aiming to encourage their employees to return to the office, traditional incentives such as recreational activities, complimentary snacks, and appealing office designs may not be the most effective approach. A more compelling incentive would be to offer coverage for commuting expenses. According to a study by Ringover, a staffing and sales platform, which surveyed 1,038 workers, nearly 80% of employees expressed a greater willingness to work from the office if their commute costs were covered. This survey targeted remote workers, including those who had recently transitioned back to office work, to understand their preferences regarding returning to the office.

Commuting expenses for employees have seen a significant increase, with an average annual cost of $8,466, or roughly $700 a month. This figure encompasses expenses related to gas, car maintenance, lost income due to commuting time, and car insurance, among others, as indicated by a 2023 survey from Bankrate. This marks a substantial rise from the average annual commute costs in 2019, which ranged from $2,000 in states like West Virginia to $5,000 in North Dakota.

Despite a reduction in commute times in several cities since the onset of the pandemic, the average one-way trip to the office still takes about 27 minutes, as reported by The New York Times. This results in nearly an hour spent commuting each day, which many remote workers believe could be better utilized in their personal lives.

However, it's important to note an exception among a specific group known as "super commuters." These individuals are prepared to invest substantial amounts in their commute to achieve savings in other areas. For example, some employees relocated to more affordable, smaller cities during the pandemic while continuing to work in costlier metropolitan areas. They argue that the savings from lower rent more than offset the expenses associated with flight tickets, hotel stays, and the complexities of organizing a long-distance commute.  

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