Improve Your Commute

When Jay Shapiro founded ShapiroCM 16 years ago, he had spent years commuting to Manhattan from the New Jersey suburbs. In keeping with creating a business with a family culture, he found an office location close to his home but with easy access to the city to attend to client business.

Today, in our company of over 30 employees, he’s the only one who really doesn’t have to commute. Most employees commute to work in either the New York City or Washington D.C. metro areas. The average New York commute is 57.92 minutes round-trip, the average Washington, DC commute is 60.42 round-trip. With only 4% of commuters able to travel into New York City in half an hour or less, you would be be hard pressed to find any co-worker who lives outside the city with a commute that short. Additionally, in construction management, we often spend time traveling by ground or air to job sites from the office or home.

A stressful morning commute can get the work day off to a less than ideal start. A stressful commute home can make it impossible to decompress and enjoy time off.

Here are six ways to improve your commute – whether you take public transportation or drive or are going from home to an office or traveling to a job site:

1 – Breathing Exercises are a great way to instantly de-stress, and can actually work your abdominal muscles. Breathe in through your nose. Hold the breath for a second. Then, breathe out through your nose or mouth contracting your abdominal muscles to get all the air out. If your exhale is longer than your inhale, you will relax your body automatically.

2 – Drink water. Most of us don’t drink enough water during the work day when we get busy. Drinking water, gives us energy and can counter the dehydration we might experience if we drink a lot of coffee throughout the day. For those who exercise after work, the evening commute is a great time to hydrate pre-workout.

3 – If you drive to work, crank up your favorite tunes and sing. Listening to music through headphones while on public transportation can also be soothing, energizing or distracting – whichever suits your mood and needs.

4- Use a carpool app like Waze to meet new people and reduce commuting costs.

5- If you are on a train or a bus, it’s a great time to meditate, and an easy way to maintain a regular practice. If you don’t know how to start, continue reading.

6- Listen to podcasts or audiobooks. Both are great ways to learn about new things or gain new skills. Employees will soon be able to share their favorites on ShapiroCM's SharePoint. These are a handful of podcasts that may be of particular interest:

  • For those who want to learn how to meditate, and aren’t driving, The Mindful Minute, Meditation Minis, The Daily Meditation are all meditation podcasts worth trying.

  • Grammar Girl provides tips for better writing

  • The Bowery Boys is about New York City history, which might be of interest if you work in the city but didn’t grow up there

  • Reveal is old-school investigative journalism

  • On Being is the podcast version of a radio show about spirituality, and should help put most commuters in a serene frame of mind

  • The Globalist provides an international perspective on news

  • Dishing up Nutrition takes a wellness perspective, like what to eat to prevent illness

  • Listen Money Matters provides actionable advice for those how don’t want to be lectured about money

There’s no doubt that the cost of commuting contributes to financial stress and that impacts overall peace of mind and ultimately job satisfaction. With that in mind, ShapiroCM is preparing to roll out a transit benefit that will allow employees to pay for some commuting costs with pre-tax dollars. While we don’t quite meet the workforce size threshold to be required to offer this benefit in New York or New Jersey, we recognize it will help our employees.

Employees will be able to elect to have up to $265 a month in 2019 deducted from their pay check each period to cover commuting costs, reducing taxable income and saving up to $900 dollars a year. Employees will then receive pre-paid transit or credit cards that can be used for travel or parking in the same dollar amount. In the DC area, the cards will not work for WMATA, but will work for MARC train, VRE and Amtrak. More information will be provided on how to utilize that payroll deduction. Employees can look for a survey on the topic in their email soon.

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