It’s a common story in the press these days about commuters facing train misery on their morning commute. Twitter is awash with stories of cancelled trains into London leading to overcrowding and delays, this is even before the office working day has started.
The above coupled with recent analysis from TUC and the Action for Rail campaign, that fares have rocketed by 25% over the past six years, while average weekly earnings have only seen a 12% rise. In other words, the cost of travel is increasing at more than double the rate of wages.
So is this something that employers need to be concerned about? You might think that how your employees get to work is largely their own business, and out of your control. With the cost of getting into the office increasing at an alarming rate though, business owners may find themselves facing some serious issues.
If your employees commute from a distance, what would happen if they started to seek out opportunities closer to home?
Could they be forced to seek out a higher pay packet, to cover their costs?
And could the stress of the daily commute leave your workers feeling frazzled and demotivated?
When you scratch the surface, it’s easy to see how the issue could start to create real headaches in terms of how you manage your workforce.
It’s definitely worth thinking about how you could take a more proactive approach…
First of all, let’s consider for a second whether you actually need to have your employees in the office, every single day of the week. In some businesses, it’s a very obvious pre-requisite to your ability to offer a quality service to your customers and clients. In other companies though, a more flexible approach could bring about huge benefits.
If your employees can work from home, their travel costs may be cut. They’re also going to be spending less time in cramped train carriages, and this can have a positive impact on morale and productivity. Alternatively, letting your employees choose their start and finish time, within a designated window, could mean that they miss rush hour. Plenty of business owners have reservations about offering flexible working practices, but it could be time for you to bring your business up to date.
Some employers decide to take a different approach, and provide financial assistance to help with travel costs. You could add season tickets to your employee benefits, or cover a chunk of the yearly fee. Or you might offer an interest-free loan so your employees can afford to take advantage of the savings that often come with booking a chunk of travel in advance.
You might jump to the assumption that you can’t afford to fork out for extra expenses, but it’s sensible to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Can you afford to have your employees leaving your business because of escalating travel costs? It might be a balancing act, but it could be worth it.
If you would like to discuss any challenges or concerns that your business may have, pick up the phone and give us a call.