EMPLOYERS

Commuter Connections provides complementary information on a host of employer programs to assist your organization in determining which commuting options work best for your organization and your employees.

Commuter Connections Employer Services representatives will help your organization and employees find transportation solutions that will not only make your organization more successful but improve the economic vitality and quality of life of the entire region.

Whether your company is located in Tysons, Bethesda, or on Capitol Hill, you have a local Commuter Connections representative who knows your specific region and the programs available to assist your employees with their transportation needs. Your local representative will work on-site with you to help you realize the bottom-line benefits of commute alternatives.

Take a look at the Overview of Services tab below to see the various services that Commuter Connections offers to employers.

Employers

Commuting Solutions

Five Simple Steps to Commute Solutions

1. Use our Employer Services Request Form to request an appointment, obtain additional program information, or ask questions. You can also call a representative at 1-800-745-RIDE.
2. Meet with your local Commuter Connections representative to assess company and employee transportation needs.
3. Conduct an employee commuting survey.
4. Meet with Commuter Connections representatives to review survey analysis and recommendations.
5. Implement commute strategies and incentives.
If you are interested in learning more about these or other incentives, obtaining brochures for your employees, or if you have any questions, use our Employer Services Request Form, or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.

Easy Things You Can Do

Many employers have found that providing incentives that make an employee’s commute to work easier benefit both the employee and the company. Incentives may cost very little or nothing at all. Here are a few examples of some of the incentives you can provide to your employees.

  • Have transit schedules, rideshare, and Guaranteed Ride Home information available to employees. Just having bus and rail information at the work site can be a tremendous help to employees, especially for those who do not use transit regularly. You never know when an employee may have to take their car in for repairs or when the area will get hit by a snowstorm. Having transit information available means employees can easily use other commute options when they cannot use their own vehicle.
  • Preferential parking for carpools and vanpools. Reserve the parking spaces closest to the door as an incentive for carpools and vanpools. Or, if employees must pay for parking, offer a free space for carpools and vanpools.
  • Host a commuting information day. Commuter Connections staff will come to your office and set up an information table in your lobby, cafeteria, or other high-activity areas. This allows employees to ask questions and receive information about their specific commute.
  • Provide equitable parking and transit incentives. If your company offers free or reduced rate parking for employees, why not offer comparable incentives for employees who use transit? Give employees a choice between the parking incentive and the transit incentive. SmartBenefits is the easy way to offer a transit incentive. If you lease parking space, you may even save money by offering a transit incentive. Employers can also load the value of employee’s tax-free commute benefit onto a SmarTrip card through the SmartBenefits program

Benefits

How Your Employees Benefit from Commute Alternatives

• Reduced commuting time and expenses
• Reduced wear-and-tear on personal vehicles
• Less stress
• More productive time while riding to and from work
• Flexible work schedules
• Access to time-saving HOV lanes

How Your Company Benefits from Commute Alternatives

• Improved employee productivity
• Improved morale
• Easier recruitment and retention
• Reduced parking and office space needs and costs
• Easier access and traffic flow at work site
• Reduced absenteeism and late arrivals
• Public recognition as a good corporate citizen

Case Studies

Below are a few case studies which illustrate how employers in the Washington DC metropolitan region can integrate commute transportation benefits into their overall benefits package. Offering commute benefit programs often help to increase recruitment and retention issues and improves the quality of life for your employees.

Covington & Burling, LLP

Founded in 1919, Covington & Burling, LLP is an international law firm with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, and Washington, DC its headquarters. The firm advises multinational corporations on significant transactional, litigation, regulatory, and public policy matters.

Read Case Study

Hauptman Ham, LLP

Hauptman Hamm, LLP specializes in intellectual property law. The firm is located next to the US Patent and Trade Office and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The firm began its practice over 50 years ago and is committed to providing the highest quality services to both US and non-US clients.

Read Case Study

The Donohoe Companies

The Donohoe Companies was founded in 1884 as a small real estate firm and has grown to encompass five companies across the Washington DC region. A full-service commercial real estate company, Donohoe offers construction, real estate, hospitality, development, and facilities management.

Read Case Study

George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

The Prince William campus of George Mason University, Sci-Tech, serves more than 4,000 students in innovative facilities specially designed for classrooms, laboratories, libraries, recreation, and the arts. With 5,000 staff supporting Sci-Tech’s campus the school provides convenient university access for citizens of Prince William, Fauquier, and West Fairfax counties.

Read Case Study

IQ Solutions

Rockville, MD

Located in Rockville, MD, IQ Solutions applies strategic communications, science, and public health theory to share knowledge that empowers audiences to improve their well-being.

Read Case Study

American Pharmacists Association

Washington, DC

The American Pharmacists Association is the largest association of pharmacists in the United States. Located in Washington DC their expert staff deliver vital leadership to help pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, and pharmacy technicians.

Read Case Study

Inova Fairfax

Falls Church, VA

Inova Health System is a non-profit network of 5 hospitals located in Northern Virginia. Inova Fairfax Medical campus is the main campus located in Falls Church.

Read Case Study

National Harbor │Peterson Companies

National Harbor, MD

National Harbor is a development along the Potomac River in Oxon Hill, Prince George’s County, Maryland just south of Washington, D.C. near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. National Harbor is a 350-acre resort destination that includes the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Tanger Outlets, thousands of hotel rooms, hundreds of residential and office units, tree-lined promenades with scores of popular shops and restaurants, a marina, and The Capital Wheel – a 180-foot observation wheel featuring panoramic views of the nation’s capital.

Read Case Study

World Resources Institute

Washington, DC

When the founders of the World Resources Institute (WRI) created the organization in 1982, they were responding to an urgent demand.

Read Case Study

Consumer Technology Association

Arlington, VA

Originally founded as the Radio Manufacturers Association in 1924 the association is the standards and trade association for the consumer electronics industry in the United States.

Read Case Study

The Cadmus Group

Bethesda, MD

Founded in 1983, The Cadmus Group is a leading employee-owned environmental and energy consulting firm with offices located across the country.

Read Case Study

Mathematica Policy Research

Washington, DC

Employee-owned Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) is a nationwide organization with five divisions: data analytics, health, human services, international research, and survey. Providing program evaluation and policy research, survey design and data collection, program performance, data management, and research assessment.

Read Case Study

Leidos

Reston, VA

Leidos is a spin-off of Science Applications International Corporation, formed in 2013 to provide scientific, engineering, systems integration, and technical services for government clients.

Read Case Study

National Academies of Science

Washington, DC

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.

Read Case Study

Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc.

Bethesda, MD

Host Hotels is located in Bethesda. A hotel and resort developer and operator with properties around the world the company wants to provide a positive experience for its clients and employees.

Read Case Study

 

SMECO

Hughesville, MD

SMECO is an electric cooperative serving Charles, St. Mary’s, Calvert, and part of Prince George’s counties. SMECO has three locations in Maryland: two in Hughesville and one in Leonardtown with 534 employees.

Read Case Study

Patton Boggs, LLP

Washington, DC

Squire Patton Boggs is a leader in public policy, litigation and business law, and is well-known for deep bipartisan roots in the political arena. The firm’s core practice areas are government relations and lobbying, administrative and regulatory, commercial and transactional, litigation and dispute resolution, intellectual property and international law.

Read Case Study

Mitre

Mclean, VA

MITRE is a not-for-profit company that operates multiple research and development centers funded by the federal government. MITRE provides innovative, practical solutions for some of the nation’s most critical challenges in defense and intelligence, aviation, civil systems, homeland security, the judiciary, healthcare, and cyber-security.

Read Case Study

Lockheed Martin Federal Systems

Manassas, VA

Lockheed Martin Federal Systems is a government contractor with many employment sites throughout the DC region and the country. Lockheed provides support to federal agencies in technical support, aerospace, and security.

Read Case Study

United Nations Foundation

Washington, DC

Created in 1998, the United Nations Foundation (UNF) helps support the UN’s causes, activities, and policies by assisting in solving problems the UN faces around the world. UNF encourages the use of public transportation and promotes alternative commuting at its DC location through the human resources department.

Read Case Study

Wells Fargo

Frederick, MD

Wells Fargo is a leader in mortgage lending and financial services across the country. The Frederick location has 1,600 employees with varying commute options to the large campus.

Read Case Study

Corporate Sponsorship

Corporate Sponsorship Benefits:

  1. Excellent branding opportunity
  2. Provides traffic to your retail store/website
  3. Boosts revenue by creating new and recurring customers
  4. Identifies your organization as good public stewards of a redeeming cause

For questions about how you can become a Commuter Connections sponsor, please contact us at 800 745-7433 or ridematching@mwcog.org, and ask for the marketing manager. See below for the various types of sponsorship opportunities available.

Guaranteed Ride Home Rewards:

Commuter Connections is always looking for more corporate sponsors to provide free or discount coupons to reward commuters who use alternative methods of transportation and who sign up for our popular and reliable Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program. The coupons serve as a thank you to commuters for doing the right thing by decreasing traffic congestion and pollution. After registering for the free GRH program, commuters receive a membership card along with our corporate sponsor coupons. For example, we’ve had a leading retail ice cream shop as a sponsor, supplying new members with free ice cream cone coupons! Another example was a major quick oil change service that provided 50% off coupons.

Bike to Work Day:

Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association invite you to participate as a corporate sponsor for Bike to Work Day, the Washington region’s biggest Bike to Work Day event. Bike to Work Day encourages commuters to try bicycling to work as a clean and healthy alternative to solo driving. This popular region-wide event occurs each May.  Celebrations occur at more than 100 “pit stop” locations in the District, Suburban Maryland, and Northern Virginia.

This non-profit event is free and open to all commuters in the Washington area. It has grown enormously in the past several years, attracting over 18,000 cyclists annually. Participants who join in the festivities each year receive free T-shirts, refreshments, giveaway prizes and a chance to win bicycles. The region’s top elected officials and scores of volunteers support this worthwhile event each year.

To help make Bike to Work Day happen, we are asking for monetary donations from corporate sponsors to ensure we can continue with this terrific spring tradition. Each partnership level offers exciting promotional opportunities to let the public know that your organization supports bicycling as a viable means of transportation and that you are doing your part to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, and promote healthy living in the region. In-kind donations such as refreshments and giveaway items are also welcome.

Car Free Day:

Car Free Day is held on September 22nd each year. It’s a worldwide event that encourages greener methods of travel; meaning ways to get around other than driving alone by car.

Commuter Connections hosts Car Free Day in the Washington, DC region to bring awareness to the benefits of travel options such as transit, bicycling and walking; and also telework for people that can work from home. Carpooling and vanpooling “car-lite” also count, both are at least twice as better for the environment than driving alone.

Using more sustainable ways to get around helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. The more people who travel using bicycles, buses, trains, walking, carpools and vanpools, the less harmful pollutants are released into the atmosphere.

The focus of Car Free Day is not just about commuters, as all are welcome to take the Car Free Day pledge, whether a Washington DC region resident, commuter or student.

To help incentivize and reward those who take the online pledge to participate in Car Free Day, we’ll automatically enter them into a prize raffle.  That’s where sponsors come in.  In exchange for a substantial prize of at least $100 or more, we’ll place your logo on the event website, plug your company on social media, and on the press release.

Employer Awards

The Nomination Period for the 2021

Employer Recognition Awards will open on December 1, 2020

Click Here to Apply

Description of Annual Awards Program

The Commuter Connections Annual Employer Recognition Awards Program recognizes employers who have voluntarily initiated programs that facilitate the use of alternative commuting methods such as transit, teleworking, carpooling/vanpooling and bicycling. These methods help to mitigate traffic congestion and provide for cleaner air through reduced auto emissions.

Eligible employer programs include those that marketed alternative commuting options, initiated a successful telework program, or provide incentives that make using alternative transportation modes easier and more attractive than driving alone. Applicants are evaluated and winners are chosen for their ability to offer measurable commuter benefits that reduce automobile fuel consumption and emissions through fewer vehicle trips and miles traveled. In addition, winners are selected for their altruistic policies that have improved the lives of their employees and the region.

Award Categories

Incentives: Commuter incentives reward and encourage employees for taking alternative means of commuting. They also help to attract and retain employees. Incentives and commuter benefits can come in many forms such as transit and vanpool subsidies, pre-tax transit and vanpool passes and preferred or discounted parking for carpools and vanpools. Other incentives might include offering flex-time schedules or the provision of facilities and equipment such as showers and lockers for those who bike or walk to work, on-site amenities, free shuttle service or laptops for teleworkers.

Marketing:  Promoting the merits of ridesharing, transit and teleworking within a company is an essential part of a successful commuter program. Companies who educate and advocate alternative commuting options enjoy high employee participation rates in such methods. With knowledge of the available choices, employees are empowered to make well-informed decisions about better and smarter ways to get to work. They arrive less stressed and more able to start their productive day. Marketing of commuter information and available benefits clearly serves as an influential aspect behind helping to change commuter drive-alone patterns.

Teleworking:  Teleworking at home, or at a local telework center, allows employees to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate the time and money spent commuting to-and-from work, one or more days per week. For employers, savings may come in the form of reduced overhead such as office space costs and parking. In addition, telecommuting provides for lower absenteeism, higher productivity and helps businesses attract and retain qualified employees.

Past Winners

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

1998 - 2012

Jurisdictional Employer Services Representatives

Employer Services Local Representatives

Alexandria GO Alex (703) 626-7247 
Arlington County c/o Arlington Transportation Partners (703) 247-2417
Bethesda Transportation Solutions (301) 656-0868
District of Columbia / goDCgo (202) 299-2186
Dulles-Area Transportation Association (703) 817-1307
Fairfax County RideSources – Employer Services (703) 877-5900
Loudoun County Commuter Services (703) 737-8044
Maryland Transit Administration (410) 767-8747
Montgomery County Commuter Services (240) 773-2989
North Bethesda Transportation Center (301) 770-8108
Prince George’s County (301) 577-0887
Prince William County (703) 580-6130
Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland (301) 870-2520
Tysons Partnership (703) 676-3640
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) – SmartBenefits Sales (202) 962-2784
Wells + Associates (301) 600-3543

Click here to see locations where you can purchase regional and local bus and rail tokens, tickets, passes, and farecards in person, by e-mail or online.

Click here to access the latest quarterly Employer Services regional newsletter.

Employer FAQ

Q: How do I set up a program for our employees? A: Contact your local employer outreach representative who can assist you in setting a program for your worksite. For more information, please visit the Jurisdictional Employer Services Representatives section on the Employers page.

Q: What programs are available for our company to put into place? A: Depending upon your geographical location, there are many programs that are available for implementation at your worksite. For more information, please visit the Jurisdictional Employer Services Representatives section on the Employers page.

Q: How do I set up a SmarBenefits program? A: Commuter Connections partners with WMATA in assisting employers setting up a SmarBenefits program for their employees. There are several options for consideration Click here: Smartrip: https://www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip/

Online Newsletter

To view the Online Newsletter, click here.

Overview Of Services

How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Organization

Commuter Connections offers a variety of services and programs designed to help your organization provide smarter commute solutions to your employees.

Available Services

Commuter Connections offers the following services to employers. These services provide important information to employers so that organizations can offer the most appropriate commuter solutions to their employees.

On-site transportation assessments
Confidential employee commute surveys
Mapping of employee residence patterns

Available Programs

Commuter Connections offers the following programs listed below. Employers may take advantage of these programs to provide their employees with alternative commute options. Commuter Connections Employer Services representatives can provide assistance with developing and implementing alternative commute programs and incentives for your organization. Additionally, your Employer Services representative will provide program follow-up and support to ensure that your initiatives are successful.

  • Telework program development
  • Transit information, including SmartBenefits
  • Bicycle commute program development
  • Work schedule alternatives development
  • Parking Management strategies based on an evaluation of  the current parking situation
  • Emergency Preparedness plan development
  • Air Quality Action Days program development
  • Guaranteed Ride Home program registration  and information
  • Computerized and Dynamic Ridematching for carpools and vanpools
  • Commuter Incentive Programs
  • On-site rideshare promotions and  displays
  • New employee commute options  information
  • Corporate relocation assistance
  • Training an on-site transportation  manager
  • Commuter program coordination with  nearby companies

Want to collaborate more with other employers in the region?  Join the Commuter Connections LinkedIn page.

Air Quality Action Days

 

Air Quality Action Days are called when air quality in the Baltimore/Washington region is expected to reach unhealthy levels. These days occur during the summer months when hot, humid, and stagnant weather conditions contribute to the formation of air pollution. Poor air quality affects children, individuals with respiratory and heart ailments, and older adults. Even healthy people can experience problems associated with high levels of air pollution.

When an Air Quality Action Day is forecasted, all participants are either emailed or faxed an unhealthy air alert. The media is also notified. On unhealthy days, we ask individuals and organizations to take action to protect their health and also to reduce air pollution.

Public and private sector Air Quality Action Days participants have agreed to develop voluntary Air Quality Action Day plans. These plans range from notifying employees and customers of an Air Quality Action Day to rescheduling operational activities. Air Quality Action Days empower government agencies, businesses, and residents in the Baltimore/Washington region to do their share for cleaner air. During Air Quality Action Days, all sectors of the community will be called on to take voluntary actions to reduce air pollution. Every action makes a difference!

Interested in starting an Air Quality Action Day program at your organization? Visit the Clean Air Partners website for further information.

Alternative Work Schedules

Support Work Schedule Alternatives

Employer-sponsored flextime and telecommuting can help reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and crowding on Metro during peak commuting times.

What are Work Schedule Alternatives?

The most common time-management options for employers are variable work hours also called flextime and compressed workweek schedules. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules (such as a four-day, 40 hour work week) can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees. Companies with such programs report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick leave.

Advantages of Flextime and Compressed Work Schedules

  • Changes can be implemented company-wide or by the department
  • Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours
  • Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
  • Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
  • Increases employee morale
  • Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
  • Reduces spot congestion at work site entrances

How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Company

  • Identify job types best suited to alternative work schedules
  • Advise on issues related to schedule changes (legal, union contracts, etc.)
  • Survey employees and managers for planning input
  • Recommend program policies and procedures
  • Develop a pilot program and evaluate results

If you’re interested in setting up a flexible or compressed work schedule, Commuter Connections can help. Use our Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.

Resources for Alternative Work Schedules

Sample Program Guidelines

Commuter Connections has developed some sample guidelines that may help your organization in developing an Alternative Work Schedule program that fits your particular needs. These guidelines address several different methods of Alternative Work Schedule implementation, such as Flextime, Compressed Work Week, and Staggered hours. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Sample Program Agreement

Formalizing Alternative Work Schedule arrangements with an agreement between the employee and management helps set measurable expectations. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Compressed Work Week Do's for Managers

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Develop good communication and access procedures for your employees so they are clear about start and end times as well as the exact day off during the working week
  • Ensure that all staff have access to other employees’ schedules through outlook or another electronic calendar
  • Encourage employees to schedule personal appointments on their day off

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Manage by measuring results
  • Ensure that you have a performance evaluation process in place
  • Make sure that employees take breaks and lunch away from their desk
  • Watch out for fatigue

MANAGING

  • Be prepared if the new schedule doesn’t work well. Allow the employee to terminate participation in the alternative work schedule
  • Respect the employee’s compressed work weekday off

 

Compressed Work Week Don’ts for Managers

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Don’t call or email the employee on their compressed work weekday off
  • If there is a work emergency, talk to your employee if they can switch their day off for another day during that week
  • Be respectful of the agreed-upon schedule

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t expect perfection; there will be adjustments needed
  • Don’t set unrealistic deadlines for projects
  • Don’t allow people with performance issues to work on an alternative work schedule until they improve

MANAGING

  • Don’t neglect problems
  • Don't feel obligated to continue the arrangement if it's not working

Compressed Work Week Do's for Employees

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Make sure that you and your supervisor agree on the which day of the week should be an off day and the core schedule for the work hours
  • Ensure that your colleagues are aware of your schedule as well
  • If you use outlook or another electronic calendar indicate your day off
  • Do not work overtime, unless you have approval

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Stick to all deadlines and keep your work organized
  • Make sure that your productivity level stays consistent
  • Take breaks throughout the day
  • Longer hours may result in fatigue, try to integrate healthy habits such as taking a brisk walk during your breaks
  • Have lunch away from your office desk
  • Schedule doctor’s and any other personal appointments on your day off

 

Compressed Work Week Don’ts for Employees

 

HABITS

  • Don’t change your schedule during the working week. Start at the same time, end at the same time and take breaks
  • Don’t fall into the practice of working on your day off, unless there is a work emergency.

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t stay in the program if you feel tired and stressed or if your productivity drops. However, keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to get used to the longer days at work

Alternative Work Schedule FAQs

What is the difference between flextime and staggered work hours?

Flextime is an arrangement that allows an employee to alter the starting and/or end time of her/his workday. Employees still work the same number of scheduled hours as they would under a traditional schedule.

Staggered work hours start and end working hours in a manner that works best for employees, fulfilling the core working hours within a workday (e.g. 8 hours)

What are the core hours for a flextime program?

Core hours are a set of hours when all employees are expected to be at the office, (e.g. 10 am – 4 pm) under a flextime program.

Are flextime arrangement procedures different for exempt and non-exempt employees?

No, arrangement procedures do not differ.

If I work more hours than my original schedule (flextime, working more than 40 hours/week), am I eligible for overtime?

If you are a non-exempt employee (hourly), you are eligible for overtime for any hours worked over 40 per week. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay.

How will I interact with others who are on a flextime schedule?

Open and regular communication is very important during core hours.  Schedules should be transparent and should be shared in terms of arrival and departure time.

Does an employee have to arrive at the same time and leave at the same time every day under a flextime program?

This is a decision that has to be made at the management level.  Some organization allow employees to flex their arrival and departure time on a daily basis but ensure that all staff is there during core hours.  Others ask an employee to have the same schedule every day for arrival and departure at work.

What are compressed workweek schedules?

Compressed workweeks are an alternative work schedule that allows employees to work more hours per day but work fewer days per week. One example is the 4/40 program in which an employee works four 10-hour days and takes the fifth day off. This results in reducing 20 percent of an employee’s commute and allows employees to avoid rush hour.   Another example is a 9/80, whereby employees can work eight-nine-hour days, one eight-hour day and take the tenth day off.  In a 9/80 schedule, employees have a three-day weekend every other week.  Compressed workweeks have a positive impact on morale, productivity and job satisfaction for the employee and companies can recruit and retain valuable skilled workers by offering such strategies.

Is it important to have a written policy on compressed workweeks for my company?

A written policy is essential. It provides the basic information employees need to participate and the available options. Within the written policy, incorporate eligibility requirements, restrictions, monitoring and procedures to participate.

What if all my staff wants to work compressed workweeks with Friday's off. No one will be there on Friday and we need to staff this office every day of the workweek. I do not want to get anyone mad at me and I also am not sure how to rate the needs of the requesters to decide who deserves this more and who less. Help?

Decisions for approving flexible work requests should not be based on personal needs but rather on organizational needs.  Not everyone has to have the same day off.  Most organizations allow for other days that can be allocated for the day off.  Changes can be made quarterly or twice a year so that everyone gets a chance to have a three-day weekend at some point.

My friend and I work for different departments of the same organization. She was recently changed to a compressed workweek, working four days instead of five. I brought up the subject with my supervisor about a similar arrangement for myself but was turned down. Is this fair?

Alternative work schedules, including compressed workweeks, are not an across the board benefit for employees. Managers and supervisors know the operations of their unit(s) best and are responsible for final decisions on how to get the work accomplished.  Keep in mind that supervisors and managers have the authority to say yes or no to a flexible arrangement, or to postpone consideration of a compressed workweek program to another time. Since every job, worker and situation are different; it cannot be assumed that the same decision is appropriate for two similar positions.

How can I work a compressed workweek schedule if I have trouble keeping up with my workload now and I work over 50 hours a week?

While some flexible work arrangements, such as compressed work, may not be feasible for your situation, other flexible work options may work well. For example, your work may be appropriate for a telework arrangement and you would benefit from saved commuting time or an opportunity to focus on a special project. This will not reduce your hours worked, merely where the work is done.

How do compressed workweeks impact hourly employees?

Based on the Federal Labor Standards Act, Non-exempt staff should maintain the same number of hours worked weekly during the revised schedule as well as when more traditional hours are worked. Remember, overtime pay is required for non-exempt staff who work in excess of normal workweek hours up to forty hours a week. Above forty hours a week, time and half pay are required.  In a 9/80 program, the pay period is often cut off at noon on Friday to avoid going over 40 hours per week.

How are holidays and paid time off calculated under a compressed workweek program?

Under a compressed workweek program, holiday, sick and vacation time can be confusing.  Employees who work 10-hour days and get a day off every week, for example, will get “cheated” if their regularly scheduled day off falls on an official holiday – such as Thanksgiving – that all staff receives anyway. Consider the following methods to avoid inequities in holiday, sick and vacation time:

  • Reverting back – Require employees to take the first day before a holiday if it falls on their regularly scheduled day off and work an additional two hours the day after.
  • Credit/Debit – If a holiday falls during the workweek, although they would have worked 10 hours, you pay only eight; the balance of two hours is pulled from their vacation or personal holiday bank. Conversely, if the holiday falls on their scheduled day off, eight hours are credited to their holiday/vacation bank.

How do we address management issues when employees are working a compressed workweek program?

  • Find solutions to help managers monitor employee attendance. Challenges arise when managers work different schedules than their employees, arriving and leaving at varying times or taking different compressed work weekdays off.
  • Establish core times and core days if inter-departmental or all-company meetings are regular or essential.
  • Involve company accountants in developing the policy to expedite accounting for payroll, holiday pay, vacation, overtime, absences, etc. Train managers on policies and procedures.

How do you avoid overtime for a 9/80 program?

Avoiding the necessity for overtime payments in this situation requires a non-traditional method of defining workdays and workweeks. Under the 9/80 schedule, you must begin the workweek for day shift employees between the fourth and fifth hours of work on any day of the week and define the workweek so that employees will not be required to work more than 40 hours.

For example, you could start the workweek at noon on Friday and end at noon the following Friday. Employees could work nine hours each day, except on alternate Thursdays, when employees could work eight hours, and on alternate Fridays, when employees do not work. This allows some of the Friday hours to be worked in one workweek, and some in the next workweek.

This means the employee would work some hours of the shift on one workday, and the remaining hours of that shift on the next workday.

If I want to start a compressed workweek, or flextime program or to improve an existing one, what is the first step I should take?

Contact us at 800-745-RIDE or email us at ridematching@mwcog.org

Bicycling

Commuting Solutions for Washington Area Employers

Cycling is a healthy, quiet, clean, economical, and fun way for your employees to get to work. Thousands of DC area employees bicycle to work every day. Commuter Connections offers support and information to employers so they can encourage this smarter way to work

Bike To Work Day

Bike to Work Day is an annual event that encourages commuters to ride their bikes to work as an alternative mode of travel. Pit stops are located throughout the DC metropolitan region that provides refreshments, giveaways, and even music! To learn more about Bike to Work Day, visit www.biketoworkmetrodc.org.

Employer Bicycling Guide

To view or print a pdf copy of the bicycling employer guide, click the image below:

 

Customized Landing Page for Worksites

Employers who have 500 or more employees commuting to the same worksite are eligible to receive a custom landing page for the Commuter Connections database. Follow the lead of other employers in the region by partnering with Commuter Connections to help your workplace cut costs and improve employee morale.

By creating a company-branded landing page, employees are more likely to register and participate in commute-based programs. The trusted image of your company integrated with the custom-built Commuter Connections web platform will help ease doubts and encourage participation on behalf of your employees.

Contact us at 1-800-745-RIDE or ridematching@mwcog.org to learn more about creating a custom landing page for your worksite.

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

How will your employees get back to work after a natural disaster or regional catastrophe? In today’s uncertain world, it is essential for every organization to have a plan to cope with an emergency situation.

While each emergency situation is unique, it is still possible to prepare for such situations. Any organization can be prepared if it plans carefully and puts emergency procedures in place for dealing with a variety of emergency situations. Careful planning and preparedness can go a long way in an organization’s ability to recover after a major disruption.

How Commuter Connections Can Help

One of the most daunting challenges for organizations and companies following a disaster is finding commuting options for their employees so that the organization can continue to function. Your local Commuter Connections Employer Services representative can help your organization create a plan for coping with an emergency situation.

Recommended Strategies

While Commuter Connections will work with your organization or company to create an emergency preparedness plan tailored to your organization, there are several recommended strategies that organizations can consider:

• Emergency Situation Carpool Formation
• Emergency Work Schedules
• Teleworking
• Public Transportation
• Bicycling and Walking

For more information or for help in creating an emergency preparedness plan, contact your local Commuter Connections Employer Services representative, use our Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.

Employer Transit Benefit Services and Laws

How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Organization

• Identify employees’ home locations served by public transit
• Survey employees to determine their interest in public transit
• Provide bus and rail schedule and route maps
• Arrange for the implementation of SmartBenefits for your employees
• Arrange meetings with local public transit operators
• Assist in developing public transit support programs (Guaranteed Ride HomeSmartBenefits, etc.) and transit monitoring programs.

The Federal Transit Benefit
Employers that offer the transit benefit for their employees, either by direct subsidy or by pre-tax can currently provide up to $270 per month.

Assistance Programs and Laws
The District of Columbia implemented a Transit ordinance that requires employers who have 20 or more employees on site to provide transit benefits to their employees. For more information please visit

DC Commuter Benefits Law

For the District of Columbia's ordinance itself, please visit
DC ACT 20-365

Commuter Choice Maryland

Commuter Choice Maryland is an incentive program that encourages Maryland employees to choose transit or vanpools instead of driving to work.

Certain local jurisdictions offer assistance to employers to provide a Transit benefit to their employees

SmartBenefits "Plus50" For Employees

The "Plus50" program will send a SmarTrip® card to an employer for their interested employees and works with the employer to load the free $50 benefit.

Parking Management

Parking Management

Studies show that approximately 70% of Washington area workers drive to work by themselves. Every car needs a parking space, and this can be a major expense for businesses though it’s often free to employees. Surface parking may run $2,000 per space per year, and underground garage parking can be more than $20,000 per space.

How Commuter Connections Can Help

Commuter Connections can help you evaluate your current parking policies and suggest ways to reduce or reallocate parking space to the benefit of your company, its employees, and its customers and clients. Our programs can help you increase your workforce without increasing your facility costs. In some cases, Commuter Connections can work with you on zoning requirements for alternative parking proposals.

The Parking Connections

Those who have to drive to make a connection to public transportation may be eligible for the parking connections benefit. In recent years, residential growth and expansion have occurred away from the downtown urban areas, making it difficult to rely solely on mass transit. Commuters can enjoy tax-free incentives for driving when the automobile is a part of the commute trip, and mass transit is used for the remainder of the trip. For instance, the eligible parking benefit may be up to $270 per month to pay for parking at a location from which employees commute by public transportation, such as a park and ride lot, a transit station or facility or vanpool staging area. Employers can pay for the benefit and receive an equivalent deduction from business income taxes. Your employees will receive the benefit completely free of all Federal payroll and income taxes up to $270 limit.  Eligible parking costs may be provided as a direct benefit, a pre-tax deduction, or as a shared expense. The same tax savings, reduced payroll costs, and program flexibility apply to eligible parking expenses.

Cash-out and Convert...

Many employers provide free or subsidized parking for employees, making it more economical for the employees to commute by automobile. The goal is to make it economical for employees to use mass transit. If you only provide parking and your employees want to take advantage of public transportation and other alternatives, establishing a parking “cash-out” program may be the appropriate choice. Your employees may forego parking and cash out the value of the parking benefit. The value of the parking benefit will be subject to taxes. However, if the value is converted to transit or eligible vanpool benefits, up to $270 of the amount converted will not be subject to taxes.

There is no real cost to employers if they are leasing parking spaces for employees. They may simply transfer the cost for the parking space to a direct payment to employees. Should an employee decide to accept the cash value rather than a tax-free transit or vanpool benefit, the amount is treated, as additional compensation and they also would incur payroll and income taxes. If the cash-out value is greater than $270, employees could accept a tax-free transit or vanpool benefit and receive the balance in taxable salary. The employer will have to pay payroll taxes on the taxable portion of the cash-out benefit provided. To offset that cost, simply lower the cashout amount by your share of the payroll taxes as follows:

Cost of Parking Space            $270

Payroll taxes                            (15)

Cash-out Offer                         $255

The employees could apply the additional compensation towards costs associated with commuting modes that are not considered qualified transportation fringe benefits, such as walking, bicycling, carpooling, or rollerblading to work. Cash-out provides an incentive for your employees to try other commuting alternatives. The tax status of employees who continue receiving the parking benefit would not be affected. For more information on Parking Cash-Out please Click here

Commuter Connections can work with you to set up alternate work schedules and teleworking programs that may greatly reduce or even eliminate the need for some parking spaces. Setting up a ridesharing program such as carpooling or vanpooling can equally consolidate your parking requirements. And, we can show your ridesharing employees where the closest park-and-ride lots are throughout the metro area. Also, encouraging employees to use public transit whenever possible eliminates the need for expensive parking spaces. Most likely a combination of the above strategies will best work for your company.

If you’re interested in Commuter Connections employer services to help you investigate cost-effective parking management programs, use our easy Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.

Teleworking

Teleworking

Looking for customized telework assistance? Let us know!

Teleworking means using information technology and telecommunications to replace work-related travel. Simply put, it means working at home or closer to home. With teleworking, employees work at home, or an employer’s satellite office one or more days per week. Communication is accomplished by phone, email, and teleconferencing. Regionally, more than 877,000 workers are going to work simply by turning on their home computers. This workplace alternative pays real dividends for area businesses and their employees, while reducing traffic congestion and air pollution, increasing the area’s economic vitality, and bolstering the overall quality of life.

Promote teleworking at your workplace! CLICK HERE to download a PDF version of the above poster.

Commuter Connections can help your organization implement a successful telework program for your employees. Consider the benefits of implementing a telework program at your organization:

Why Telework?

Employer Benefits

Teleworking is an effective tool for organizations looking for a competitive edge in today’s labor market. Teleworking can help an organization prosper by enhancing an employer’s ability to recruit and retain skilled workers, improving employee satisfaction and productivity, and cutting overhead costs. Employer benefits include:

• Strengthened employee recruitment and retention

• Reduced absenteeism, sick leave, and late arrivals

• Increased employee productivity

• Increased employee satisfaction

• Reduced costs for office space and parking

• Expanded geographic access to skilled workers

• Enhanced public recognition as an innovative business and as a good corporate citizen

• Provides for business continuity of operations during a regional crisis

Employee Benefits

Whether an organization succeeds and grows depends on the people that make up the organization. Working with employees to structure a flexible work environment that makes sense helps a company improve its long-term business prospects and keeps good people. Employee benefits include:

• Reduced long, congested commutes making late arrivals a thing of the past

• Improved productivity resulting from fewer interruptions and distractions

• Enhanced time management and opportunity for flexible work schedules

• Improved balance between work and family life, boosting employee satisfaction

 

Telework Resources

Whether you’re looking to create a new telework program or modify an existing program, Commuter Connections has resources to assist your efforts no matter how small or large your company may be.

 

Sample Program Guidelines

These short policies provide basic information on recommended program descriptions, employee eligibility and availability, considerations, hardships, legalese, parameters, technology (if needed), and other issues that safeguard employer and employee arrangements. The guidelines also contain language for piloting, expanding, or terminating programs. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Sample Teleworker Agreement

Formalizing telework arrangements with a Teleworker Agreement helps set measurable expectations for the teleworker and management. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Manager Do's for Teleworking

COMMUNICATION

  • Develop good communication and access procedures for your employees so they are clear about meeting times and availability when teleworking, for example, suggest that teleworker email their team when starting and ending their telework day
  • Integrate teleworkers in innovation exchange such as brainstorming with the use of technology
  • Communicate with the teleworker like you would in the office
  • Plan meetings when your teleworkers can participate
  • Consider short team huddles or online meetings
  • Encourage good communication skills, such as responding to emails and voicemails in a timely manner

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Manage by measuring results
  • Build trust through troubleshooting with the teleworkers
  • Encourage goal setting - use the Telework Task Schedule or Daily Log
  • Delegate assignments equitably among your teleworkers and non-teleworkers. Think creatively of how work can be re-organized for the purposes of teleworking
  • Provide feedback in a timely manner
  • Ensure that you have a performance evaluation process in place for both teleworkers and non-teleworkers.

MANAGING

  • Be prepared if telework doesn’t work well and allow the employee to terminate participation
  • Do consider expanding the telework program after the emergency period
  • Use telework as an opportunity to strengthen your management skills
  • Make sure teleworker has IT contact information
  • Ask for feedback on the teleworking program
  • Trust your teleworkers

 

Manager Don'ts for Teleworking

COMMUNICATION

  • Don’t call teleworker every hour to check on progress

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t set unattainable goals
  • Don’t expect perfection; there will be adjustments needed
  • Don’t set unrealistic deadlines for projects
  • Don't select employees that are not productive in the office to telework

MANAGING

  • Don’t neglect problems
  • Don’t expect everyone to be a successful teleworker
  • Don't begin new projects during the telework period
  • Don't require face to face or team meetings during an emergency period unless necessary - some technology alternatives are Skype or conference call
  • Don't feel obligated to continue the arrangement if it's not working

 

Disclaimer

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is not engaged in rendering legal advice and provides these forms free of charge solely to assist businesses exploring teleworking arrangements with their employees.  By using these materials, the recipient (1) acknowledges and agrees that the MWCOG makes no representations regarding the sufficiency (legal or otherwise) of these materials in any particular jurisdiction or for any particular business purpose, and (2) voluntarily and knowingly assumes all risks associated with their use.

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Communicate seamlessly with your office, colleagues, customers, and potential customers. These locations provide entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and established corporate teleworkers with a variety of settings. Features include workstations, high-speed internet, and other amenities which may consist of photocopiers, VoIP/telephony, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.

In general, shared workspaces and Telework Centers are better suited for more established professionals. These types of locations work on a twelve-month lease arrangement and are known for providing more traditional amenities such as conference rooms, professional office furniture, photocopiers, audio-visual equipment etc. Some also offer receptionists, pantries, and separate private offices. Coworking spaces are more ideal for start-up businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneur-types looking for an affordable creative atmosphere to pursue their passions. Usually, coworking spaces can be leased for a shorter period, between three and six months.

There are countless facilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, each offering a unique, productive, and flourishing environment. Regardless of location, each offers a surrounding of like-minded people and allow for independence while at the same time a collaborative, supportive community not available when working from home.

Below are just some of the many work centers within the region:

1776

AdvantEdge

Alley

Bureau

Carr Workplaces*

Cowork Frederick

Creative Colony District (formerly DC Workspaces)

Inclusive Innovative Incubator

Industrious

Locale

Make Offices*

Mindspace

Regus*

Spaces

TechSpace

The Cove

The Hive

The Hub

The Wing

The Yard

Wework*

* Multiple Locations

Telework Case Studies

Telework Case Studies

Animal Health and Plant Inspection Service(APHIS) Beltsville, MD

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a multifaceted agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal.  Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities. These efforts support the overall mission of the USDA, which is to protect and promote food, agriculture, natural resources and related issues Read Case Study

Calvert Investments, Inc. (formerly Calvert Group, Ltd.) Bethesda, MD

Calvert, headquartered outside Washington, DC in Bethesda, MD, has been setting industry standards for investment management excellence since its founding in 1976. As a leader in sustainable and responsible investing, (SRI), Calvert offers a range of SRI strategies that meet sustainability goals for its clients and communities. Calvert serves individual and institutional investors as well as professional financial advisors nationwide. Today, more than 400,000 investors entrust over $14.5 billion in assets to Calvert. Read Case Study

Social & Scientific Systems, Inc. Silver Spring, MD

Social & Scientific Systems, Inc., an employee-owned company, has supported public and private sector programs since 1978. We contribute significantly to improving public health around the world. Whether we are supporting HIV/AIDS clinical trials around the world, providing program monitoring and evaluation services in Africa, collecting epidemiologic data in Europe, coordinating AIDS conferences in the Caribbean and Africa, or analyzing Medicare data in the United States, we consistently provide the highest quality support available. We are committed to conducting ourselves ethically, honoring our commitments, acting proactively and responsively, and delivering excellent services—on time and at a good value. Read Case Study

United States Department of Agriculture Washington, DC

The USDA has a workforce of approximately 120,000 employees and provides the nation with leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. The Department is a vastly dynamic organization whose vision is to enhance agricultural trade, improve farm economies and quality of life in rural America, protect the Nation’s food supply, improve the Nation’s nutrition, and protect and enhance the Nation’s natural resource base and environment. Read Case Study 

Clean Currents Rockville, MD

Clean Currents is a green energy company that was founded in 2005. Clean Currents provides affordable green energy options to residential customers including windpower options through the grid as well as solar panel installations for on-site energy generation. Clean Currents also provides energy efficiency and environmental consulting services. As a green energy company, Clean Currents works to ensure that its operations are environmentally responsible. The option for employees to telework is one of these efforts. Read Case Study

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Rockville, MD

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created by Congress in 1974 as an independent agency to regulate the commercial nuclear industry to protect public health and safety against radiation hazards from industries that use radioactive material. The NRC has over 4,000 employees located at headquarters in Rockville, Md., four regional offices and 65 nuclear plant sites.
Nuclear safety is at the core of all the agency’s work in licensing, oversight, inspection, enforcement, research, and emergency response. Read Case Study

United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) Rockville, MD

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a scientific nonprofit organization that sets Federally recognized standards for prescription and over–the– counter medicines and other healthcare products manufactured or sold in the United States. USP also sets widely recognized standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements. USP sets standards for the identity, as well as the quality, purity, and strength of these products–critical to the public health. These and other USP standards are used in more than 130 countries around the globe. These standards have helped to ensure public health for close to 200 years. Read Case Study

U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) Arlington, VA

The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), an independent agency within the Postal Service, employs more than 1,100 auditors, investigators, and professional support staff located in more than 90 offices nationwide. The OIG plays a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of America’s postal service, its revenue and assets, and its employees. With $73 billion in revenue, the Postal Service is at the core of a $900 billion mailing industry that employs more than nine million people. The more than 700,000 employees of the Postal Service comprise the largest civilian federal workforce in the country. Read Case Study

Marriott International Bethesda, MD

Marriott International, Inc., is a leading lodging company. Its heritage can be traced to a root beer stand opened in Washington, D.C., in 1927 by J. Willard and Alice S.Marriott. Today, Marriott International has more than 3,200 lodging properties located in the United States and 66 other countries and territories. People first—the foundation of Marriott's corporate culture and success for over 80 years! Marriott's belief is that our associates are our greatest assets. Marriott Culture is the experience we create for our customers, which is demonstrated by the behavior of our associates. It is people serving people. "Green Marriott" is our company's commitment to sustainable environmental practices. Read Case Study

Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)

As a result of the 2005 DISA Employee Satisfaction survey, a recommendation was made to expand DISA's telework program.  During the same time period, DISA was selected under the Base Realignment and Closure Committee recommendations for the relocation of its Headquarters function in Northern Virginia to Fort Meade, Maryland. With 75% of the DISA workforce living in the Northern Virginia area, a solid strategy was needed for retention of this experienced, highly qualified workforce as well as one for recruitment of exceptionally qualified employees for the Fort Meade location. It was determined that the expansion of the telework program would serve as an excellent tool for both retention and recruitment. Read Case Study 

Noblis Falls Church, VA

Noblis is a nonprofit science, technology and strategy organization that helps clients solve complex systems, process and infrastructure problems in ways that benefit the public. Our unique impartial, independent stance—free of any ties to commercial or sponsor interests—assures clients that our counsel and implementation support is offered purely in their best interest. At the forefront of those expectations were the program’s stated goals (to attract and retain staff and be cost-neutral), but the team also expected environmental benefits, such as reduced gasoline consumption and increased productivity from telecommuters. Read Case Study  

Booz Allen Hamilton Mclean, VA

Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for more than 90 years. Every day, government agencies, institutions, and infrastructure organizations rely on the firm’s expertise and objectivity, and on the combined capabilities and dedication of our exceptional people to find solutions and seize opportunities. We combine a consultant’s unique problem-solving orientation with deep technical knowledge and strong execution to help clients achieve success in their most critical missions. Read Case Study

 

 

Telework FAQ

What is teleworking?
Teleworking, also known as telecommuting, replaces travel to, from and for work with telecommunications technologies. It refers to working at home or another location on a full or part time basis. Many employees telework only once or twice per week, on the other hand, some employees telework full time and only go to the office on an occasional basis.

What type of equipment is needed for teleworking?

Teleworking often involves remote access, computer hardware and software, phone, email and other collaborative technologies.

What type of jobs are appropriate for teleworking?
Most “information-based” jobs are appropriate for teleworking. Teleworking is ideal for jobs that require reading, writing, research, working with data and talking on the phone. Many jobs that may not seem appropriate at first may be modified so that the employees can telework, at least on a part-time basis. One of the secrets to designing a good teleworking program lies in the ability to organize specific jobs so they can be done without constant interaction or need for feedback.

Which employees are ideal for teleworking?
The ideal teleworker is well-organized, able to work independently and requires minimal supervision. Successful teleworkers have a high degree of job skill and knowledge and strong time management skills. Teleworkers don't mind working alone. Teleworking is not ideal or desirable for every employee.

What are some of the issues that managers confront with teleworkers?
Some managers of teleworkers have a problem with the concept of employees working from home. They fear that their employees may be distracted with household duties and/or dependent care and unable to accomplish their work, when, in fact, it seems to be the exact opposite. Managers can expect more productivity and a higher quality of work from teleworkers who are less stressed and distracted in their flexible work environment.

How do I know if the teleworkers are really working?
The employee’s completed work product is the indicator. Telemanagers must focus on quantity, quality and timeliness. They must manage by objectives or results, rather than by direct observation.

Who is the ideal manager for supervising teleworkers?
The ideal manager of teleworkers (telemanager) has a positive attitude towards teleworking and is willing to allow employees to telework. A telemanager manages by results and not by monitoring work hours. Telemanagers delegate work easily, are well organized and trust their employees. Not every manager is comfortable with a style of management that is conducive to successful teleworking.

How will managers know how to supervise teleworkers?
Teleworking presents an opportunity for telemanagers to become better supervisors. By focusing on the employee’s work product, telemanagers will improve their organizational abilities and their own skill in managing by objectives.

Will employees work less if they are at home working unsupervised?
No, survey results showed marked improvements in productivity. Productivity increases because employees have fewer distractions and interruptions, work at their peak times and experience less stress due to the absence of the commute to work.

Will loyalty to the company be diminished?
No, loyalty is likely to improve as employees are happier with their working conditions. Employee morale also improves as a result of teleworking.

How can social interaction be maintained to keep teleworkers from feeling isolated from their colleagues?
Many techniques are available to overcome the feeling of isolation. These include part-time teleworking, core days in the office and frequent communication via telephone and voice-mail. Teleworkers should be included in all scheduled meetings and events.

Is teleworking a substitute for child- or elder-care?
No, a teleworker must focus on his or her job, not handle demanding child- or elder-care situations. However, due to their flexibility, teleworkers are better able to manage their work/family schedules.

Can teleworking result in reduced use of sick leave?
Yes. An employee working in a regular office usually has to use half a day to get to the doctor or dentist appointment. A teleworker can take one or two hours and then return to work at home. In addition, often an employee that does not feel well enough to drive or whose child is sick may work some hours at home.

Will the need for overtime decrease as a result of teleworking?
For non-exempt employees, the rules for overtime are the same as they are in the office. Please refer to your HR handbook for guidance.

What are some of the issues that teleworkers should be aware of?
Teleworkers should designate a work area for teleworking in their homes. A separate room provides greater privacy but is not necessarily required. Teleworkers must gain the trust and support of their families, coworkers, clients and managers. Teleworkers need to be aware of the tendency to work long hours and the need to take breaks.

If I want to start a teleworking program or to improve an existing one, what is the first step I should take?

Contact Commuter Connections at 800-745-RIDE or email us at ridematching@mwcog.org

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Shared Workspaces/Coworking Spaces/Telework Centers

Communicate seamlessly with your office, colleagues, customers, and potential customers. These locations provide entrepreneurs, growing businesses, and established corporate teleworkers with a variety of settings. Features include workstations, high-speed internet, and other amenities which may consist of photocopiers, VoIP/telephony, meeting rooms, and video conferencing.

In general, shared workspaces and Telework Centers are better suited for more established professionals. These types of locations work on a twelve-month lease arrangement and are known for providing more traditional amenities such as conference rooms, professional office furniture, photocopiers, audio-visual equipment etc. Some also offer receptionists, pantries, and separate private offices. Coworking spaces are more ideal for start-up businesses, freelancers, and entrepreneur-types looking for an affordable creative atmosphere to pursue their passions. Usually, coworking spaces can be leased for a shorter period, between three and six months.

There are countless facilities in the Washington, DC metropolitan region, each offering a unique, productive, and flourishing environment. Regardless of location, each offers a surrounding of like-minded people and allow for independence while at the same time a collaborative, supportive community not available when working from home.

Below are just some of the many work centers within the region:

1776

AdvantEdge

Alley

Bureau

Carr Workplaces*

Cowork Frederick

Creative Colony District (formerly DC Workspaces)

Inclusive Innovative Incubator

Industrious

Locale

Make Offices*

Mindspace

Regus*

Spaces

TechSpace

The Cove

The Hive

The Hub

The Wing

The Yard

Wework*

* Multiple Locations

Alternative Work Schedules

Support Work Schedule Alternatives

Employer-sponsored flextime and telecommuting can help reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and crowding on Metro during peak commuting times.

What are Work Schedule Alternatives?

The most common time-management options for employers are variable work hours also called flextime and compressed workweek schedules. Flextime programs, in which employees are given the option of adjusting their arrival and departure times, are proven ways to reduce congestion at peak travel times. Compressed work schedules (such as a four-day, 40 hour work week) can eliminate commuting altogether one day a week for many employees. Companies with such programs report less absenteeism, fewer late employees, and less use of sick leave.

Advantages of Flextime and Compressed Work Schedules

  • Changes can be implemented company-wide or by the department
  • Increased coverage for companies that communicate across time zones or whose customers require extended hours
  • Employees travel to and from work with less stress during off-peak hours
  • Less use of leave time due to greater flexibility in planning personal and medical appointments
  • Increases employee morale
  • Employees can choose to work during their most productive hours (flextime)
  • Reduces spot congestion at work site entrances

How Commuter Connections Can Help Your Company

  • Identify job types best suited to alternative work schedules
  • Advise on issues related to schedule changes (legal, union contracts, etc.)
  • Survey employees and managers for planning input
  • Recommend program policies and procedures
  • Develop a pilot program and evaluate results

If you’re interested in setting up a flexible or compressed work schedule, Commuter Connections can help. Use our Employer Services Request Form or call us at 1-800-745-RIDE.

Resources for Alternative Work Schedules

Sample Program Guidelines

Commuter Connections has developed some sample guidelines that may help your organization in developing an Alternative Work Schedule program that fits your particular needs. These guidelines address several different methods of Alternative Work Schedule implementation, such as Flextime, Compressed Work Week, and Staggered hours. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Sample Program Agreement

Formalizing Alternative Work Schedule arrangements with an agreement between the employee and management helps set measurable expectations. CLICK HERE to download.

 

Compressed Work Week Do's for Managers

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Develop good communication and access procedures for your employees so they are clear about start and end times as well as the exact day off during the working week
  • Ensure that all staff have access to other employees’ schedules through outlook or another electronic calendar
  • Encourage employees to schedule personal appointments on their day off

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Manage by measuring results
  • Ensure that you have a performance evaluation process in place
  • Make sure that employees take breaks and lunch away from their desk
  • Watch out for fatigue

MANAGING

  • Be prepared if the new schedule doesn’t work well. Allow the employee to terminate participation in the alternative work schedule
  • Respect the employee’s compressed work weekday off

 

Compressed Work Week Don’ts for Managers

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Don’t call or email the employee on their compressed work weekday off
  • If there is a work emergency, talk to your employee if they can switch their day off for another day during that week
  • Be respectful of the agreed-upon schedule

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t expect perfection; there will be adjustments needed
  • Don’t set unrealistic deadlines for projects
  • Don’t allow people with performance issues to work on an alternative work schedule until they improve

MANAGING

  • Don’t neglect problems
  • Don't feel obligated to continue the arrangement if it's not working

Compressed Work Week Do's for Employees

 

COMMUNICATION

  • Make sure that you and your supervisor agree on the which day of the week should be an off day and the core schedule for the work hours
  • Ensure that your colleagues are aware of your schedule as well
  • If you use outlook or another electronic calendar indicate your day off
  • Do not work overtime, unless you have approval

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Stick to all deadlines and keep your work organized
  • Make sure that your productivity level stays consistent
  • Take breaks throughout the day
  • Longer hours may result in fatigue, try to integrate healthy habits such as taking a brisk walk during your breaks
  • Have lunch away from your office desk
  • Schedule doctor’s and any other personal appointments on your day off

 

Compressed Work Week Don’ts for Employees

 

HABITS

  • Don’t change your schedule during the working week. Start at the same time, end at the same time and take breaks
  • Don’t fall into the practice of working on your day off, unless there is a work emergency.

PRODUCTIVITY

  • Don’t stay in the program if you feel tired and stressed or if your productivity drops. However, keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to get used to the longer days at work

Alternative Work Schedule FAQs

What is the difference between flextime and staggered work hours?

Flextime is an arrangement that allows an employee to alter the starting and/or end time of her/his workday. Employees still work the same number of scheduled hours as they would under a traditional schedule.

Staggered work hours start and end working hours in a manner that works best for employees, fulfilling the core working hours within a workday (e.g. 8 hours)

What are the core hours for a flextime program?

Core hours are a set of hours when all employees are expected to be at the office, (e.g. 10 am – 4 pm) under a flextime program.

Are flextime arrangement procedures different for exempt and non-exempt employees?

No, arrangement procedures do not differ.

If I work more hours than my original schedule (flextime, working more than 40 hours/week), am I eligible for overtime?

If you are a non-exempt employee (hourly), you are eligible for overtime for any hours worked over 40 per week. Exempt employees are not eligible for overtime pay.

How will I interact with others who are on a flextime schedule?

Open and regular communication is very important during core hours.  Schedules should be transparent and should be shared in terms of arrival and departure time.

Does an employee have to arrive at the same time and leave at the same time every day under a flextime program?

This is a decision that has to be made at the management level.  Some organization allow employees to flex their arrival and departure time on a daily basis but ensure that all staff is there during core hours.  Others ask an employee to have the same schedule every day for arrival and departure at work.

What are compressed workweek schedules?

Compressed workweeks are an alternative work schedule that allows employees to work more hours per day but work fewer days per week. One example is the 4/40 program in which an employee works four 10-hour days and takes the fifth day off. This results in reducing 20 percent of an employee’s commute and allows employees to avoid rush hour.   Another example is a 9/80, whereby employees can work eight-nine-hour days, one eight-hour day and take the tenth day off.  In a 9/80 schedule, employees have a three-day weekend every other week.  Compressed workweeks have a positive impact on morale, productivity and job satisfaction for the employee and companies can recruit and retain valuable skilled workers by offering such strategies.

Is it important to have a written policy on compressed workweeks for my company?

A written policy is essential. It provides the basic information employees need to participate and the available options. Within the written policy, incorporate eligibility requirements, restrictions, monitoring and procedures to participate.

What if all my staff wants to work compressed workweeks with Friday's off. No one will be there on Friday and we need to staff this office every day of the workweek. I do not want to get anyone mad at me and I also am not sure how to rate the needs of the requesters to decide who deserves this more and who less. Help?

Decisions for approving flexible work requests should not be based on personal needs but rather on organizational needs.  Not everyone has to have the same day off.  Most organizations allow for other days that can be allocated for the day off.  Changes can be made quarterly or twice a year so that everyone gets a chance to have a three-day weekend at some point.

My friend and I work for different departments of the same organization. She was recently changed to a compressed workweek, working four days instead of five. I brought up the subject with my supervisor about a similar arrangement for myself but was turned down. Is this fair?

Alternative work schedules, including compressed workweeks, are not an across the board benefit for employees. Managers and supervisors know the operations of their unit(s) best and are responsible for final decisions on how to get the work accomplished.  Keep in mind that supervisors and managers have the authority to say yes or no to a flexible arrangement, or to postpone consideration of a compressed workweek program to another time. Since every job, worker and situation are different; it cannot be assumed that the same decision is appropriate for two similar positions.

How can I work a compressed workweek schedule if I have trouble keeping up with my workload now and I work over 50 hours a week?

While some flexible work arrangements, such as compressed work, may not be feasible for your situation, other flexible work options may work well. For example, your work may be appropriate for a telework arrangement and you would benefit from saved commuting time or an opportunity to focus on a special project. This will not reduce your hours worked, merely where the work is done.

How do compressed workweeks impact hourly employees?

Based on the Federal Labor Standards Act, Non-exempt staff should maintain the same number of hours worked weekly during the revised schedule as well as when more traditional hours are worked. Remember, overtime pay is required for non-exempt staff who work in excess of normal workweek hours up to forty hours a week. Above forty hours a week, time and half pay are required.  In a 9/80 program, the pay period is often cut off at noon on Friday to avoid going over 40 hours per week.

How are holidays and paid time off calculated under a compressed workweek program?

Under a compressed workweek program, holiday, sick and vacation time can be confusing.  Employees who work 10-hour days and get a day off every week, for example, will get “cheated” if their regularly scheduled day off falls on an official holiday – such as Thanksgiving – that all staff receives anyway. Consider the following methods to avoid inequities in holiday, sick and vacation time:

  • Reverting back – Require employees to take the first day before a holiday if it falls on their regularly scheduled day off and work an additional two hours the day after.
  • Credit/Debit – If a holiday falls during the workweek, although they would have worked 10 hours, you pay only eight; the balance of two hours is pulled from their vacation or personal holiday bank. Conversely, if the holiday falls on their scheduled day off, eight hours are credited to their holiday/vacation bank.

How do we address management issues when employees are working a compressed workweek program?

  • Find solutions to help managers monitor employee attendance. Challenges arise when managers work different schedules than their employees, arriving and leaving at varying times or taking different compressed work weekdays off.
  • Establish core times and core days if inter-departmental or all-company meetings are regular or essential.
  • Involve company accountants in developing the policy to expedite accounting for payroll, holiday pay, vacation, overtime, absences, etc. Train managers on policies and procedures.

How do you avoid overtime for a 9/80 program?

Avoiding the necessity for overtime payments in this situation requires a non-traditional method of defining workdays and workweeks. Under the 9/80 schedule, you must begin the workweek for day shift employees between the fourth and fifth hours of work on any day of the week and define the workweek so that employees will not be required to work more than 40 hours.

For example, you could start the workweek at noon on Friday and end at noon the following Friday. Employees could work nine hours each day, except on alternate Thursdays, when employees could work eight hours, and on alternate Fridays, when employees do not work. This allows some of the Friday hours to be worked in one workweek, and some in the next workweek.

This means the employee would work some hours of the shift on one workday, and the remaining hours of that shift on the next workday.

If I want to start a compressed workweek, or flextime program or to improve an existing one, what is the first step I should take?

Contact us at 800-745-RIDE or email us at ridematching@mwcog.org

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