Great employers care about their teams and try to make their work environments as stimulating, productive and secure as possible.
But it’s important to not overlook the impact that the trip to and from work has on staff well-being. Battles with traffic and congestion, as well as the challenges and cost of parking can leave many staff frazzled by the time they arrive at work.
Many organisations are now developing and implementing Travel Plans as ways to improve employee health and well-being, travel safety and personal security.
If implemented well, a travel plan can:
- Generate an average of 20 min more exercise each day per person
- Result in staff up to three times more productive and less likely to take sick leave
- Contribute to improved workplace culture, morale and engagement
- Improve work life balance and reduce time spent commuting
In addition, a Travel Plan can positively impact your organisation’s environmental credentials and social responsibility and reduce costs.
A Travel Plan is a management strategy for delivering long term behavioural change and sustainable travel patterns across an organisation. It is about understanding how people make their transport decisions and using this to influence behaviours that lead to better staff and business outcomes, while reducing adverse impacts such as congestion and air pollution.
Travel Plans work because they are unique, evidence-based and tailored to the specific circumstances of your business. The first step is to collect data about your workplace, how people travel to work and how likely they would be to change their travel patterns.
Sustained by genuine support from senior management and ongoing engagement with staff and other stakeholders, a Travel Plan implements activities that can create travel change by:
- Re-moding – providing opportunities for staff to use public or active transport
- Re-timing – encouraging travel outside peak times
- Rerouting – facilitating shifts to different, less congested routes; and
- Reducing travel – promoting technology and working remotely/flexibly
Travel Plans are about impacting people’s travel habits and encouraging changes in travel behaviour, so keeping people engaged sits at the heart of developing and implementing a successful Travel Plan.
Some points to remember are:
- Addresses the ‘What’s in it for me’ question to convince people to make changes to the way they travel. For example, giving office staff flexibility around start and finish times can enable them to re-time their commute for a better work life balance.
- Information alone is unlikely to be enough to deliver a change in travel behaviour; emotions and interest must be activated to generate change.
- Not everyone in the target audience will be ready to change their behaviour at the same time.
- Make changes predictable and gradual so staff can take the changes into account when making long-term plans.
- Change will not necessarily be lasting, it can revert back, so ongoing reinforcement is needed.
To help get you started, the Travel Choices team, supported by Iceni Group, has developed a wide range of resources available at https://www.mysydney.nsw.gov.au/travelchoices/tdm to assist your business to create sustainable travel behaviour changes and positively impact your employee’s well-being from the very beginning of their workday.
By Vera Fiala, Principal Consultant