Call For Smart Travel Plans

THE National Business Travel network (NBTN), part of the Government’s ACT on CO2 campaign, has called on businesses to implement smart travel plans for staff to cut costs and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

Reducing unnecessary and costly travel can help companies cope in the tough economic climate but according to latest figures, says the NBTN, only six per cent of UK companies facilitate sustainable travel for employees.

The good news for businesses, it adds, is that staff are keen to embrace more flexible ways of working which are, in turn, more productive and eco-friendly.

Encouraging car sharing saves employers money on mileage claims and expenses such as parking space maintenance. Bicycle hire schemes and converting a company car fleet to more fuel efficient, greener vehicles benefits the environment, reducing carbon footprint.

Flexible and home working also saves companies considerable costs.

At BT, it has reduced absenteeism to 3.1 per cent (the national average is 8.5 per cent) and BT has calculated that a reduction in commuting by homeworkers has resulted in more than 7.5 million kg of CO2 emissions being avoided from those journeys.

Other companies that have successfully implemented smart travel plans include BSkyB and E-ON.

Latest research by NBTN, of employees who travel to work in Great Britain, reveals that over half of those surveyed (63 per cent) would take up a work travel plan if their company offered one.

A work travel plan uses more sustainable modes of transport, like car sharing, cycle schemes and flexible or home working, if employers facilitated such schemes.

More than one in four (28 per cent) of those surveyed stated that flexible working would also increase their loyalty to an employer and over a fifth (24 per cent) felt it would significantly improve their productivity.

The potential benefits of travel plans for businesses, as demonstrated by companies like BT, says NBTN, are clear – increased employee reliability, productivity and improved corporate credentials.

Key factors which currently determine employees’ chosen method of transport are convenience (64 per cent) and cost (29 per cent).

Just over a third surveyed currently use a car to drive themselves to work. Many employees who travel to work, however, would consider alternative means of travel with almost one in five (18 per cent) surveyed willing to take part in a car share scheme.

Heather McInroy, programme director for NBTN, said: “I am urging all businesses to embrace a modern approach to work travel practices.

“Business resilience, recruitment, retention and business agility to meet customer demands is at the heart of this issue. It is great to see that such a high percentage of employees would consider buying into a work travel scheme and I hope that employers now act on this.

“The message is clear flexible workstyles and travel plans are good for the environment, good for business and good for employee wellbeing.”

Jon Marsh, head of agility at BT Global Services, said: “Through working in partnership with NBTN, we are communicating the effectiveness of work place travel plans and smarter working policies to other organisations so they can share in the practices that have been so beneficial to BT.

“At BT, we have implemented flexible and home working at scale across the organisation, allowing people to work in the way that best suits them, their job, their personal circumstances and our customers.

“As a result, we’ve been able not only to make large financial savings and productivity improvements but also create a more sustainable organisation through reducing travel and CO2 emissions.”

The National Business Travel Network (NBTN) is urging businesses to champion smart work travel plans, including flexible working, to reduce CO2 emissions and bolster employee wellbeing and productivity.

For further information and advice about work travel plans, visit


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


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