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In Bid To Boost Productivity, Some Employers Offer Incentives For Living Close To The Office

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some employers are paying their employees to move closer to work.

As CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported, commuting into New York City takes, on average, more than 6 hours a week.

For Wayne Downing, who travels from Trenton every day, it takes even longer.

"Maybe an hour and twenty minutes," he said.

That's just one way, and he'd like to spend less time on the road. It would give him more time to work, he said.

Many companies know that's the truth and have offered incentives for their employees to move closer.

"Getting paid to live near work is very common today," workplace guru Stephen Viscusi said.

As Viscusi explained, offering money to move is a win-win for employers.

"They're getting more time out of you and it's a great public relations coup for the company because it looks generous," he said.

Addepar, an investment management company with an office in New York offers monthly housing stipends to its employees.

"If you live within 15 minutes of the office you get $300 a month, within 30 minutes $150," Lisa Minkin, VP of People at Addepar explained.

Minkin said they started offering the stipends in 2012.

"The closer you live to the office, we believe you're going to have better work-life effectiveness," she said.

Dr. Jacqueline Moline, Chair and Professor of Occupational Medicine of Northwell Health said she would advise her patients to take the money and move if it works for them.

"If it allows them more time to pursue other activities and lowers their overall stress level which has so many other health implications," Dr. Moline said.

She emphasized that reducing sedentary time means healthier living.

"We know your risk of colon cancer goes up with sedentary lifestyle, cardiovascular implications for too much sitting," she said.

Jamie Saeed said she'd consider moving, but the cost would be high.

"Probably double my salary," she said.

Viscusi said in his experience moving incentives don't amount to that much.

"In the tri-state area it's more an annual basis or perk toward moving closer," he said, "We're talking anywhere from five to ten thousand possibly. We're talking about possible moving expenses."

Addeoar's Vice President of People told CBS2 that 40 percent of its employees take advantage of the monthly stipend, and they plan to continue the program.

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