Staying safe in warmer times
April 26 2021Read more
It’s no secret that commuting to work can be a daily stressor for your team members. Early alarms, packed trains, travel disruptions and traffic jams can all play a part in negatively affecting your workforce’s mental health on a regular basis.
Scientific research backs this up. A recent study of 34,000 workers by VitalityHealth showed that long commutes have a negative effect on employee morale, productivity and mental health.
To coincide with this research, traffic data firm Inrix have also published statistics revealing that UK drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic in 2017, at a cost of £1,168.
So, commuting can harm your organisation, and its members. But as an employer, there are ways to support your employees who face long, difficult and tedious travels to work.
The traditional rush hours are 7am to 9am, and 4pm to 6:30pm. Most workers travel during these times, clogging roads, buses and pavements as they go.
But do you really need your employees to work the standard 9 to 5 shift? If not, then you could offer flexible working hours. By allowing staff to come in and leave later, you’ll be making their commute more bearable.
If you trust your employees, you could go one step further—let them come in whenever they want, as long as they work a set number of hours.
The daily commute is getting more expensive—train fares saw their biggest rise in five years in January 2018. Paying for a season ticket upfront is also costly, especially if this falls at a time when employees are more financially strained, such as December and January.
More organisations are offering loans to their team members so they can buy season tickets for buses and trains. Before you make such a commitment, it is important that you agree terms of repayment. You could deduct the money from workers’ wages each month, or get them to pay it all back after a set time.
Commuting by bike is healthier and sometimes quicker than travelling by car or bus. That’s why more organisations are signing up to cycle-to-work schemes.
Here’s how it works: if an employee wants to start cycling to work, you buy the bike (plus equipment) up front. Then the employee pays you back by sacrificing a portion of their salary each month. They’ll also be saving money, since they won’t have to pay income tax on the sacrificed amount.
If they’re still reluctant to ditch their cars, why not offer prizes to those who choose to cycle to work?
As if commuting wasn’t unpleasant enough, bad weather can make the journey into work even more unpleasant.
In fact, it’s one of the biggest causes of employee lateness, and sometimes prevents workers from coming in at all. But it needn’t have a massive effect on your organisation.
Outline a severe weather policy—this could cover working from home, making up any lost hours, and payment when the workplace has to close.
This will prevent employees thinking they’ll be punished if they don’t make it to work during inclement weather such as a severe storm or heavy snowfall.
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