Two key reasons why your Workplace needs a Travel Plan

A Workplace Travel Plan (WTP) is designed to bring about change that positively influences travel behaviour for healthier and more sustainable choices, while also generating value and cost savings for your organisation.

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It’s a common-sense business management tool, designed specifically for your organisation, to reduce solo car trips in favour of healthier and more sustainable forms of travel, including walking, bike riding and catching public transport.

WTPs help your staff to identify the different modes of travel available to them, which they can choose to take to and from work each day.

WTPs can incorporate any number of elements including:

credit: Victor Aldebalde, unsplash
  • Ensuring appropriate end-of-trip facilities (secure bike parking, showers, lockers, change rooms; fresh linen service);
  • Route identification and journey planning;
  • Bus timetable information;
  • Flexible working arrangements – to reduce the need for travel by working at home occasionally; by working from an office or community hub closer to home; by altering hours of work to avoid walking or cycling during peak traffic or inclement weather;
  • Staff subsidy program for healthy transport options – public transport tickets; walking shoes; bike discounts…;
  • A buddy-system;
  • Sponsorship or partnership with a local bike store, gym or other suitable partner
    • Can include regular bike mechanic on-site;
  • Pre-work group rides;
  • Make it fun – colourful entrance from the footpath;
  • Charity fundraising events or pledges to encourage a sense of camaraderie and support;
  • Walking meetings;
  • Incentives:
    • Parking subsidies on wet weather days
    • Coffee or other discount vouchers
    • Social activities – examples could include a breakfast function
    • A WTP club;
  • Disincentives for unnecessary solo car trips:
    • Unpopular is it might be, these can include increased parking fees

A WTP should consider the needs of all staff, including those with mobility difficulties, and those who regularly travel long distances. WTPs can also include information to assist visitors in accessing your workplace by means other than private vehicle – when sending a meeting invitation, provide information on how to reach your workplace by public transport or bike.

Your WTP should also consider how staff move around during their working day – to attend meetings, lunchtime activities, personal errands, and for other purposes. You might consider purchasing staff passes for public transport, or a bike fleet which can be booked and used in much the same was as a car fleet.

There are myriad benefits to developing a WTP for you and for your staff. Among them, our top two are:

Reason #1: Become an Employer of choice

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By supporting your staff and enabling them to choose how they travel to and from work each day you’ll be considered an employer of choice. Increasingly staff are expecting a certain level of service to support their work-life balance, and incorporation of healthy, active lifestyles as part of their daily routine.

For many, this might mean walking or cycling to and from work, using a scooter, catching public transport, car-pooling with others, or lunchtime exercise.

Staff who feel supported to achieve their own ideals of a work-life balance are more likely to remain with you as their employer.

A WTP will help you improve your image and branding. You might be surprised how much chatter there is about workplace support for WTPs and end of trip facilities among a growing audience for whom travel choice matters.

Have you ever been asked by a prospective employee what end-of-trip facilities you provide? Where the bike parking and shower facilities are? What flexible working arrangements you offer? This is your answer.

Reason #2: Reduced costs

Research consistently demonstrates that those who receive regular physical activity, including walking and riding, are less likely to suffer both short and long-term illness; and are more likely to be productive employees. You will see less absenteeism and increased productivity among your staff if you’re able to introduce a meaningful WTP that results in greater participation in walking and cycling. This not only provides positive HR and financial outcomes for your workplace, but also contributes to a more positive workplace culture.

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Research also shows reduced stress, anxiety and depression by those who regularly exercise, including by foot and by bike. Ever noticed how a short walk can help to either clear your mind when you need it, or provide the space needed for some challenging problem-solving?

You will also be able to more readily attract and retain quality staff. Beyond the obvious benefits of having positive, productive team members on your staff, you will also save costs associated with staff recruitment and induction.

And, by encouraging modes of travel other than solo car use, you will also save on your car fleet costs and taxi fares.

Closing comments

Workplace health and wellbeing. Flexible working arrangements. Work-life balance. We hear it all the time. And it means different things to different people.

WTPs are one contribution you can make – relatively quickly and easily, and at low cost.

As a first step, we recommend conducting a staff survey: find out if a WTP is of interest to your staff, how they currently travel to work, whether they would like to travel via a different mode, and – if so – what are some of the key elements that would assist them in moving away from private vehicle transport.

From there, undertake a site audit – identify the opportunities and challenges based on the results of your staff survey for your workplace and staff; and then start exploring ways that you can better support your staff in their preferred travel modes.

Oh, and lead by example! If you’re the Director or CEO of your organisation, please try not to park by the front door of your office building. Park a little further away and walk at least some of the distance to set a good model for your staff.

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Talk to us today

Here at Anna Gurnhill Consulting, we’ve developed a range of tools and products to assist you to develop a WTP including a staff survey, site audit, fact sheets and other information and resources, including to help support a business case for any additional funding needed to implement WTP strategies. We’d love to chat with you about developing a WTP for your workplace – no matter how big or small.

AnnaGurnhillConsulting@gmail.com | 0400 843 858 | https://annagurnhillconsulting.com/