Businesses implementing travel plans are finding widespread benefits, including lower costs and a healthier, more productive workforce.
A travel plan is a tool to deliver a package of measures to promote, encourage and enable a variety of travel options. It can be a simple device assessing current travelling practices, conducting a staff survey and identifying opportunities to change peoples’ travelling habits. Those that have encouraged a move out of the car and onto public transport, bikes or onto our feet have found a reduction in absenteeism, lower staff turnover rates and improved productivity and morale among the workforce.
Travel action plans have generated significant cost savings for businesses – how much did you spend last year advertising and recruiting for new staff, in time and money – as well as contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Encouraging staff to walk more has helped improve their health
There are any number of options to choose from, including car share schemes, providing secure parking for bicycles and changing facilities to introducing walking programmes, at the beginning and end of the working day or during a lunch break. To encourage greater participation in cycling many offered bike doctors on site as well as refresher adult cycling training to gain confidence on today’s busy roads. The British Medical Association says 40 minutes of physical activity per week can reduced workplace absenteeism by 50%
Like many ideas we discuss on this blog it’s good to start small and gradually build into a bigger programme. You could begin by not using the car to travel to work for one day or provide the option to work from home one day a week. There isn’t a specific manual of what to do and the plan needs to be flexible to fit in with your business. But it is essential to talk to staff to see what they would like to see and provide regular communications via all channels to keep the message fresh and in peoples’ minds.
While there are differing opinions on whether to use the carrot or stick approach, all staff need to be included in the plans, from juniors to directors. Equity is integral when encouraging people to change their habits and if a few individuals are not expected to participate your plan will fall at the first hurdle.
If you’re implementing a more sustainable approach in business don’t forget to look at the impact of travel. Encouraging physically active travel modes can form part of your sustainable commitment and demonstrates how you’re reaching your green goals.