Despite growing interest, only a few employers offer commuter benefit

We conducted a study on how familiar employers are with the commuter benefit. Employer-subsidized commuter tickets have a considerable growth potential among employers in the Helsinki region. However, despite showing interest toward the commuter benefit, employers have yet to start offering the benefit to their employees on a wider scale.

According to our study, 66 per cent of employers were familiar with offering the commuter benefit in the form of an employee benefit. Four per cent of all the 102 companies that took part in the study offered the commuter benefit to their employees. Based on the study, as many as 49 per cent of the companies were very or quite interested in the commuter benefit.  

Companies are most aware of and interested in the commuter benefit in areas that have the best public transport links. In contrast, companies operating in areas with the weakest public transport links were least aware of the commuter benefit. These areas also had the biggest obstacles for employers to start offering the benefit.  

“Over the past few years companies have identified many solutions that are not only beneficial for the environment but also good business. Commuter benefits have a lot of potential for growth in the Helsinki region, where public transport services are more extensive than anywhere in Finland and where customer satisfaction is high”, says Jemina Uusitalo from HSL’s B2B sales.  

According to employers, the main reasons for offering employee benefits include promoting employee well-being and facilitating employees’ everyday life. The well-being of employees is ranked as the most important reason behind employee benefits. By offering the commuter benefit, employers can also indicate that they find environmental questions important. In some fields, offering the commuter benefit can also function as an advantage when recruiting new employees. Some companies also offer the commuter benefit in order to save money on kilometer allowances and parking costs.  

Even though the coronavirus pandemic has increased the demand on remote work more than ever, there are still hundreds of thousands of employees in the Helsinki region whose work cannot be performed remotely. According to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that is used to measure how willing respondents (n=8,123) are to recommend the use of public transport, 41 per cent stated that they are unable or unwilling to work remotely after the pandemic. 20 per cent estimated that they would be working remotely 1–2 days a week, whereas 32 per cent thought the number of remote workdays to be 3–5 per week.  

We have also studied the current travelling trends in detail. According to a study from spring 2021, the commuter benefit is beneficial to even those working remotely. Employees value the benefit especially if the commuter ticket offered by the employer is valid indefinitely.    

In addition to commuting and travelling during the workday, employees can also use the commuter benefit to travel in their spare time. It was therefore no surprise that most public transport journeys were made on weekends when the strictest remote work recommendations were imposed.