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New York City is known as the Big Apple, the crossroads of the world. Frank Sinatra once famously crooned, “if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”

While many New Yorkers love where they live, a huge number of people in and around New York are stressed out just by making it to the office each day, even though this probably wasn’t what Ol’ Blue Eyes was singing about.

The Big Apple’s Commuter Issues

What’s so bad about commuting in New York? For one, it takes a while. According to a recent report in The New York Times, an average New Yorker spends over six hours of each workweek commuting. Contrast that to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where commuting time is less than 3.5 hours each week. The New York Daily News reported that an average resident of New York City takes 48 minutes to get to work each day, 13 minutes longer than the national average.

Thanks to jam-packed bridges and tunnels, the situation isn’t much better for those coming from the outer regions of the New York metro area like New Jersey or Connecticut. Commuters in New York also face high transportation costs. One study by the Department of Labor found that people spent over $1,100 per year commuting into Manhattan through public transportation. Drivers have it even worse: gasoline and motor oil expenses alone will cost you over $2,200 a year, and that’s before accounting for tolls and vehicular wear.

What can be done to solve this problem? While commuting is always going to take some time in a metropolitan area with over 20 million people, alleviating the issue completely will require effort from both local governments and employers.

Making Commuting in the New York Area Easier for Your Employees

The government has already enacted legislation to help cut down on the financial burden of commuting in New York. In late 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law requiring employers with 20 or more full-time employees to offer commuter benefits to workers.

As an employer, you also have a responsibility to help ease the challenges involved with commuting in New York. Here are three easy ways to do so:

  • Try to be understanding when it comes to commuting, especially for those who come a long way to work at your office. While habitual lateness is never acceptable, accidents and other unavoidable situations do happen
  • Be flexible with scheduling. Whenever possible, try to accommodate members of your team who have children or relatives to take care of. You might consider instating a remote work policy. Many organizations find that allowing employees to work from home improves productivity as well as employee morale
  • Create a commuter reimbursement program that makes it simple for your employees to offset the costs of mass transit, parking, and other commuter expenses

Paypro understands that despite the challenges of commuting in the New York area, people have to get to work. Our commuter reimbursement accounts make it simple for you to help ease the financial burden of commuting in New York. You’ll also get the tax benefits of deducting contributions to your employee commuter accounts. Implementing our solution will make it a little less stressful for your staff to get to the office, which will help them be more productive and feel better about the place that they work.