How to cut commuting woes for your staff

David Price – CEO of Health Assured

February 06 2018

Let’s face it, no one likes travelling to and from work. Unless you enjoy 6:30am alarms, packed trains and traffic jams, of course. Scientific research backs this up. A recent study of 34,000 workers by VitalityHealth showed that long commutes have a negative effect on morale, productivity and mental health. Plus, traffic data firm Intrex just published stats revealing that UK drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic in 2017, at a cost of £1,168. So, commuting is a problem. But as an employer, there are ways to support your employees who face long, difficult and boring travels to work. Be flexible 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 a bit 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. Lend a hand… and some money 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 strapped for cash… like January. More and more companies are offering loans to their employees so they can buy season tickets for buses and trains. You’ll need to 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. On yer bike Commuting by bike is healthier and sometimes quicker than travelling by car or bus. That’s why more and more businesses are signing up to cycle-to-work schemes. Here’s how it works: if an employee wants to start cycling in, 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 bike it? Ride out the storm As if commuting wasn’t unpleasant enough, bad weather can make the journey into work even more of a nightmare. 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 business. 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 a blizzard.

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