Commuting hasn’t been a top priority for most employers or employees for the past six months. Most organizations implemented work-from-home orders at the beginning of quarantine and have continued to prolong their timelines based on the evolution of COVID-19.
For companies that have extended their work-from-home policies, communication has been paramount. One key piece of your communication to employees is what your company is doing to help with commuting — for employees who are going in now, and for when the floodgates open up and more of them return.
Providing commuting and real-time transit information in your company app can be one of the most effective ways of communicating these protocols. It’s with your employees at all times and can help them make informed decisions before and during their commute.
Employees will be faced with relearning their commute. Even if they decide to continue getting to work the same way they used to, there will still be a learning curve. Let’s say an employee decides to start or continue biking to work. They will need answers to questions like:
- Where can I safely park my bike?
- Which safety guidelines do I need to follow when I arrive at the office?
- Am I able to use the showers at the office? If so, is there a schedule I need to sign up for?
The same goes for employees who may decide they want to drive to the office. Although it’s not ideal, the reality is that more of your employees may decide to drive to err on the side of caution until there is a vaccine. That creates another logistical battle you will need to deal with — is there enough parking for everyone? New drivers and previous drivers alike will need answers to:
- How many parking spots are available?
- Do I have to pay more to park?
- Will I be able to drive every day?
Providing extensive commuting information in your company app will greatly help with the re-onboarding of a large number of employees.
Fresh start effect
Many employees have the opportunity to make a major change to their commuting behavior. This is known as the fresh start effect. This is the concept that someone has the opportunity to make a major change and improvement after a significant event takes place. Studies have shown that when someone is presented with a fresh start, they’re more motivated to achieve new goals and disassociate themselves from their previous performance.
COVID-19 is a significant event that has changed the behavior of most people, basically overnight. People had to learn how to work from home and juggle intersections of their life they never faced before. And behavior changes will happen again when companies begin returning to the office. Employers need to take advantage of this opportunity to help their employees make behavioral changes, especially when it comes to commuting.
You need to provide your employees with accurate commuting information. This information can be the difference between a positive behavior change, where employees adopt sustainable commutes, and a negative behavior change, where employees all begin driving to work.
Modified commuting hours
A tactic to combat increased drive-alone commute rates is encouraging modified commuting hours. The traditional rush hour may no longer exist, but you can (and probably should) encourage flexible commuting regardless. If your employees decide to work at home in the morning and the office in the afternoon (or vice versa), they will need to know how to safely do so.
Your employees have been at home, not making the daily trip to the office. Because of this gap in commuting, they will need to relearn their commute. That means learning new transit schedules. Transit agencies across the country have modified their hours of operation at different times during the day. Employees will need accurate, up-to-date information in order to adjust to commuting again.
We know we talk a lot about promoting alternative, sustainable methods of commuting. The reality is that your employees will be inclined to drive, at least in the beginning. Providing accurate parking information in your company app can save a lot of headaches for your employees.
This is especially true if you do have employees who commute during non-traditional times. If you have employees coming to the office at different times during the day, the number of available parking spaces will constantly be in flux. Providing parking information in your company app will help employees know if there will be a space available for them when they arrive to the office.
We would be doing ourselves, and you, a disservice if we didn’t mention our own app. We can work with you and your company to integrate data from our mobile app, CityMotion, directly into your company app, third-party or otherwise. What does that mean? It means getting real-time, curated transit and mobility information at your employees’ fingertips.
If you don’t currently have a company app, or aren’t thinking of getting one, CityMotion can be that for you! You can communicate safety guidelines through the Messaging feature. Your employees can also receive service alerts through CityMotion that may affect their commute.
If you think CityMotion can be an important tool for your employees and your return-to-the-office commute plan, we want to talk!