8 Environmentally-Friendly Ways To Make Sustainable Commuting Work for Your Office
Outdoor air pollution caused by motor vehicles is a massive problem for the climate and for the health of all humans. But it can be hard to imagine other options for those who take a car to work. Studies show that sustainable commuting that integrates physical activity increases health and happiness and reduces the likelihood of health issues like obesity. So why not try to experiment with some sustainable commuting initiatives for your own health and the health of the planet?
1. Public transport
Taking public transportation is always the easiest and greenest way to commute sustainably. Whether you’re taking a train, a bus, a ferry, or a trolley to work, you’re reducing your carbon footprint. Commuters can reduce their CO2 output by 20 lbs just by taking public transit for one day. Public transportation commuters also love their time on the way to the office as it gives them more time to catch up on the things they enjoy, such as podcasts, books, and music. You could also consider driving to a local public transit hub and partially taking it to work, as it slightly reduces your carbon footprint and may have you avoiding dense inner city traffic. Employers can also incentivize public transport by paying for employees’ passes.
2. A data dashboard
What if a company could help its employees figure out the best times to commute and park? Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a data dashboard that employees can view to see the latest traffic and parking availability around their campus. It shares employee data on commuting going all the way back to 2016 to help inform sustainability initiatives about how to inform best practices for future commuters. By collecting data about the commuting habits of your employees, you can then learn where your gaps in sustainability might be.
3. Active transport
Another option to tackle sustainable commuting is active transport, meaning getting to work using a bike or walking. While not everyone might be able to walk to work, biking to work could be a bit easier – especially with an e-bike, which is an electric bike that requires much less pedaling. E-bikes will take you further than a regular bike because of that motorized kick. And statistics say that e-bikers use their bikes more than regular bikers do. The average e-bike can take you anywhere from 20 to 100 miles without needing a recharge, and for services like CitiBike, there are recharging stations all around in densely populated areas.
4. Hybrid workweeks
Another way to have sustainable commuting in the office is to invest in hybrid workweeks so that there isn’t a constant battle for parking spaces and hours of waiting in traffic. By keeping some employees at home and some in the office, you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your office – including energy consumption and electricity in the office itself that’s fueled by the power of substations fueled by natural gas. Seeing sustainable commuting as part of an entirely sustainable office mindset can help your workplace stay future forward.
5. Team carpooling
What’s better than a fun carpool ride? Hanging out with your teammate’s first thing in the morning can be just the right kind of wake-up call to put some pep in your step for the rest of the day. And more than anything, it’s a tremendous sustainable commuting practice, as the carbon footprint of one car is far less than that of four or five vehicles. You can also coordinate carpooling by neighborhood rather than team if your team lives too far apart from each other, which would give you a great chance to learn more about others in the office.
6. Flexible hours
If traffic is causing your car to idle for too long on the highway to and from work every day, there’s a simple solution: shift your schedule a bit. The less time you spend wasting gas in stop-and-go traffic, the more sustainable your commute will be, so what’s wrong with getting to the office a half-hour later and leaving a half-hour later? An added bonus for those with road rage will be the elimination of intense frustrations that could be poisoning your attitude throughout the day and making your drive home a nightmare.
7. Disincentivize driving
For companies serious about sustainable commuting, there’s also the option to disincentivize driving. By reducing parking subsidies, increasing parking fees, or cutting parking spaces, employees are more tempted to carpool or get to work through other means. One suggestion to refrain from seeming dogmatic is to take the revenue from increased parking fees and use it to fund e-bike stations, subsidize public transport or workplace shuttles, or other sustainable initiatives.
8. Sustainability goals
Lastly, ensuring that sustainability goals are at the top of your company’s priority list can give some purpose to your sustainable commuting efforts. Try making a sustainability task force that gathers the latest data on climate conservation methods and looks at what other companies are doing to lessen their carbon footprint. Create goals for your team or, if you can, company-wide goals having to do with donations or small shifts in behavior. Test out an active transport month when the weather is good for biking or have healthy interdepartmental competitions.