In the Luumlight

ICYMI: Employer Communications, Active Commuting, and Phased Return to the Workplace Plans

Our June Employer Forum picked up the conversation where we left off, last May, around return to the workplace commute planning. Specifically, we focused on communications, active commuting, and a phased approach for bring employees back into offices. Microsoft, Portland State University (PSU), and Carrix shared their insights, respectively. 


Terry Smith from CBRE, at Microsoft in Silicon Valley, shared that their first step is to identify protocol for engaging internal stakeholders – to get ‘buy-in’ on how to communicate with various employees. In all of Microsoft’s investments, they are leading with sensitivity and compassion, knowing that the health and wellness of employees (and vendors) is the most important—and looks different for every individual. They are carefully thinking about the language they use when communicating with regard to a return to the workplace, so there is consistency between vendors, stakeholders, and landlords. Microsoft also shared one simple approach to this process by introducing a new color palettefor any branded emails specific to Covid communications in order to differentiate it from general communications. 


Clint Culpepper, the Transportation Options Manager at PSU shared a detailed, year-long reward and recognition program for cyclists. Although there is no set date for when staff and students return to campus, PSU plans to begin engaging bike commuters, now, by encouraging them to ride for fun, for errands, and even for commute ‘practice’. Using Luum for their communications, rewards, and gamification – they will add a personal touch through education programs, personalized trip plans, and custom badges to give their 2020 campaign that local Viking and Rose City flare. 

We rounded out the day hearing from Ryan Knudsen, at Carrix, and Bobby Lauterjung, at Beeline Mobility, their commute administrator and shuttle provider. Located on a small island near the Port of Seattle, transit options are limited for employees. And in a recent employee survey, the respondents resoundingly answered that they plan to drive once they return to work. 


Ryan provided great detail into Carrix’s phased return to the office and facility planning. As part of the shipping terminal, Carrix was deemed an essential business, so some employees have been continuing to work onsite throughout the COVID crisis. When King County enters Phase Two of reopening, employees will be returning to Carrix on an A/B schedule, with one group working in the office each week and one group working from home—all with the goal of minimizing exposure and improving contact tracing. They’ve also increased their buildings’ ventilation systems to double the amount of outside air circulating in the building. 

Next time, we promise we’ll save more time for discussion…because we want to hear from you! This is a collaborative space to share ideas, lessons, and limitations as we seek to improve the commute in our return to the workplace. Access the full recording below. Until next time!