There's nothing like getting the keys to your first car. The sense of independence and freedom. You can go anywhere, anytime you want. But this freedom comes with a lot of financial responsibility. Car payments, parking spaces, repair costs, and — of course — gas. For many, these are just accepted costs. But a growing portion of the population is not licensed to drive. A smaller portion does not own a car at all. Turns out, you don't have to own a car to get around. Here are a few more affordable transportation options than a personal car:

1. Public transit

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In most major cities, some kind of public transportation exists. These can consist of subways, light rail trains or just buses. Public transit is a good option for reliable transportation to and from work. While some cities are notorious for late buses and trains, most areas experience little to no delays during rush hours. Most cities allow you to purchase weekly, monthly or even yearly passes. This makes budgeting much more efficient than tallying up varying mileage. It might take a little longer to get around with public transit, but you also have that time to relax or get even more things done.

2. Ride sharing

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Services like Uber and Lyft had spiked in popularity and usage in recent years. Many people use Uber while traveling or for special events, but ride sharing is now an effective replacement for day-to-day transportation. With the addition of ride scheduling, commuters can plan pick ups and get to work on time. UberPool and LyftLine lower the cost by carpooling riders heading in the same direction. This can be an even more effective alternative to public transportation as well as car ownership.

3. Car sharing

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Car sharing is the cousin to ride sharing. Instead of paying to get a ride, you pay to use a car for a set amount of time. The most popular service in this area is Zipcar. But there are other companies offering similar services. This can be similar to renting a car, but it is much much less expensive. You can pay Zipcar for just an hour or as long as a week. If you prefer to drive yourself, car sharing is a great alternative to owning your own vehicle.

4. Carpooling

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If you're not a fan of these new apps and services, you can go old school and coordinate a carpool. Do you and your co-workers need a ride in to work? Hop in the same car. Have a neighbor who heads into downtown every day like you do? Ask to join him. But if you don't want to search for a carpool yourself, there are apps that can help you find a ride, like Waze Carpool. Carpooling helps clear up traffic and reduces the amount of pollution being released.

5. Last mile vehicle

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If you live near your office or in a big city, owning a last mile vehicle might be more convenient than the other options. This can be an electric scooter, skateboard or just a regular bicycle. These are called last mile vehicles because they are typically used in conjunction with public transit to cover that last little portion of the trip. You can purchase your own bike or join your city's bike sharing program for more convenience. Owning and using an electric scooter or skateboard decreases your commute time and lowers the amount of energy you might have to exert. Nothing like fresh air on your way to work, right?

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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