In the Luumlight

Whole Foods Market & Luum Webinar Recap: Returning to the Workplace Without Returning to Traffic Congestion

On September 1, we joined forces with Movability and Whole Foods Market to discuss returning to the workplace, current commute trends amidst the pandemic, and why now is the time to change your policies and benefits in preparation for a post-pandemic commute.

Kelly Hostetler, Luum’s Director of Marketing, kicked off the session by taking a look at key commute trends since the start of COVID-19, including how quickly car traffic is rebounding in cities nationally—fueled in part by record low transit ridership across the country. She also shared four major workplace return strategies that are trending among employers. The takeaway here? We’ve got work to do still in keeping people out of their cars when we do return to the workplace—but we’ve also got time and opportunity on our side.

Of the employers on the webinar, over 70% said they plan to partially return to the office when it is safe to do so—with formalized teleworking options and therefore reduced office space. This fundamentally changes how companies need to approach commuter benefits for their employees and puts a tried and true TDM policy back in the spotlight: daily choice.

No matter your strategy, there’s a focus on changing commute policies and benefits in preparation for our post-pandemic commute. Some major policy focuses and adaptions include:

  • Adding greater convenience to Activate Safe Options

  • Utilizing Subsidies to Encourage Safe and Flexible Commutes

  • Using Parking Reservations & Availability to Improve Employee Experience

See below for commute investment priorities as we return to the workplace. Telework policies, employee communication tools, and bike/walk resources remain a focus for employers, just as they were when surveyed back in May.

Aneka Patel, Transportation and Security Program Manager at Whole Foods Market (WFM), previewed the organization’s pioneering commute program. With the addition of a dedicated commute program manager and Luum’s commute management platform, the organization recently invested in a commute policy and benefits refresh to offer greater flexibility to employees. WFM identified its key business motivators and pillars in developing a commute program: promoting wellness, enhancing productivity and fostering culture.

With its commute management platform, Whole Foods Market is implementing a more robust and flexible commute offering comprised of transit subsidies, real-time parking availability, first & last mile Lyft connections, closed-network carpool matching with incentives, and guaranteed rides home. The organization is using new RFID parking technology to capture data in order to better understand policy impacts on parking demand and commuter behavior.

Aneka emphasized that challenging times are often the catalyst for growth and reinvention—and that this applies to all types of organizations.

Lastly, we surveyed employer participants on the major commute challenges they foresee at their organizations. Responses ranged from budget reduction to reduced parking demand, further emphasizing the need to offer flexible, cost-effective benefits to employees as we return to the workplace.

Just getting started building a commute program and wondering where to start? Packed with practical templates and how-tos, check out our latest article on the Six Steps to Uncovering Commute Program Opportunities. Within this post you’ll find helpful tips on how to: 

  • Identify and articulate your commute gaps and short circuits

  • Develop your commute baseline by asking the right questions

  • Create commute SMART Goals to execute your wide-ranging objectives

Interested in learning more about how employers like Whole Foods Market are getting more data, optimizing parking assets and delivering flexible benefits to employees—then let’s talk today. Send a quick hello to sales@luum.com and we can talk about your current commute challenges and the commute tools that can activate your forward-thinking policies.