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U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Giving Employees a Healthy Diet of Commute Options

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with a responsibility to protect the public health and guarantee secure food and drug products, but FDA also impacts public health by implementing programs for its employees that improve air quality and reduce pollution. This 260-person employer offers a la carte carpool and telework programs, as well as transit and bicycling incentives.

The federal agency encourages transit by offering discounted passes to all employees. As a result, more than half of its employees use transit as their primary way to get to work. But FDA doesn’t stop there. It promotes ridesharing by offering designated carpool and vanpool parking spaces; and employees who clean commute can’t be stranded, as they have the use of four vehicles for personal errands or emergency rides home.

FDA also has a competitive hiring and retention edge by allowing flextime, which enables employees to work an additional four hours each week and, in turn, reduces the amount of trips taken to work each week on Thursdays and Fridays. Teleworkers receive agency-provided laptops and a reimbursement up to $50 per month for Internet costs incurred while working remotely.

When asked what, if any, services might encourage employees to use or increase their use of alternative ways to work, employees considered discounts for transit passes as the biggest motivator, with Guaranteed Ride home services receiving the next highest value in affecting the commute behavior of FDA employees. More importantly, factors that influence their mode choice most are dependability and safety.

By implementing programs that are supported at its agency, FDA is able to increase employee productivity and work-life balance while also making them aware of minor changes they can make in their routines to have a positive impact in their community. FDA proves that a variety of commute options is a healthy choice for any commuter.

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