Should Employers Reconsider Coming into Work?

Posted by christian harris

These days I’m pretty much chained to my desk at home. No matter how much I try to motivate myself to head into the smoke and pitch for new work, I can’t. I should, I know, but the commute is such a chore – and often the train is full of people who look like they live on there. Why isn’t everyone happy [and clean] like on CBeebies’ Me Too?

Luckily, I’m not alone – for a minute I thought my computer had turned me agoraphobic. It seems the credit crunch is paving the way to a travel revolution, as organisations and staff look to cut costs during the current economic turmoil. Thousands of employers are already helping themselves and their staff through workplace travel plans. Policies such as staggering work journeys, home working, and encouraging cycling and walking, are enabling staff to get to work in a better way and in the process saving time and money while improving health and wellbeing. I’m yet to work for a boss who’s so accommodating, but apparently they’re out there somewhere.

I’ve been saying for years that being green and commuting smart have never made more commercial sense, but it seems companies are finally starting to take heed. The CBI estimates that road congestion alone costs the UK economy some £20 billion per year. Even a limited take-up of travel plans could save £1.9 billion per year within five years. And with that money we could buy a new Government – wishful thinking!

In these cost-conscious times, employees and employers should look at the cost of travel and realise the absurd waste of time and resources, especially of one person commuting by car. If you’re a company bigwig you should think about making it easier for your employees to get about, travel more sustainably and tackle travel issues such as congestion, pollution, carbon emissions and health. Why not take the initiative and promote many alternatives to the usual one-person-per-car approach such as remote working, public transport, cycling and walking. Not only that, but innovative new techniques such as personalised travel planning, car sharing and car clubs – sorry, the last one sounds a bit creepy.

I might even go so far as to suggest that ‘smarter commuting’, such as walking, cycling, car sharing and reducing the number or journeys by allowing remote working, leads to better productivity and cuts business costs. There are not only direct savings, such as mileage allowances, but also hidden costs such as parking provisions, staff retention and employee health issues that can be addressed through travel planning. In the current challenging economic environment, it makes more sense than ever for employers and their staff to look at how and when people travel to and from their workplaces. But more importantly, it helps me to justify not getting out of my seat for another couple more days…


Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit



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