For the 10th year in a row, George Mason University has been named one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters for offering employees exceptional commuter benefits, according to the program’s website.
Mason is among a select group of universities in the United States that has achieved this National Standard of Excellence, with at least 14 percent of the commuting population not driving alone to campus within a 12-month period.
The university’s location in Northern Virginia offers access to a wide range of public transportation options to and from its campuses. Public bus service is available on the CUE, Fairfax Connector, and Metro buses. Mason Shuttles travel to and from the Arlington, Fairfax, and Science and Technology Campuses, the Vienna Metro station, and the Burke VRE station.
“While we don’t differentiate between students and employees on Mason Shuttles, we estimate that the shuttles are the most-used option by faculty and staff, followed by the Commuter Choice benefits for public transportation,” said Josh Cantor, director of Parking and Transportation at Mason.
Through the Commuter Choice program, Mason covers public transportation costs for full-time employees at a rate of up to $270 per month. Mason also reimburses full-time employees for the cost of vanpooling up to $270 per month, per the current IRS limit.
With ongoing construction on I-66, there are special incentives to vanpool right now. On Wednesday, Feb. 26, stop by Kiosk F in the Johnson Center from noon to 2 p.m., or the Sandy Creek Transit Center from 4 to 6 p.m. to meet with representatives from Parking and Transportation and the I-66 project who will share information and help those interested sign up for a vanpool.
Encouraging employees to use alternate transportation also aligns with Mason’s sustainability goals.
“Reducing single-occupancy vehicles on campus is one of Parking and Transportation’s key goals,” said Cantor. “This is important for sustainability to reduce both greenhouse gases and the need to build additional parking decks.”
Flexible work and telework are also factored into the equation, since these options allow employees to reduce their commutes to zero.
Mason supports a variety of flexible work options for employees such as flextime, compressed work schedules and telework.
“Flexible work arrangements—in particular, telework opportunities—are a valuable benefit for faculty and staff, and Mason as a whole,” said Shernita Rochelle Parker, assistant vice president of human resources strategy and talent management. “When we are organizationally able to support employees in creating more balance in their lives, a decreased commute, or the flexibility needed for them to be responsive to the needs of their professional and personal lives, we improve job satisfaction and engagement.”
Commuter benefits and flexible work opportunities also enhance the well-being of employees.
“These programs and benefits affect work-life across multiple dimensions of well-being,” said Janet Walker, transportation programs manager. “The impact on the individual isn’t just financial. These programs also contribute to the social, physical and community dimensions of well-being.”
For more information on all the commuter benefits available at Mason, visit the Parking and Transportation website.