Ah, the great commute. The daily obstacle course most of us endure to get to and from the office. Yet recent research by recruitment specialists Monster.co.uk has revealed that almost half of UK workers would turn down their dream job if it involved a commute of longer than thirty minutes.
Considering that’s roughly in line with the average commute for London-based workers, who spend fifty-six minutes each day travelling to and from work, it raises some interesting issues when it comes to hiring and keeping great staff.
We explore some of the ways companies can help employees tackle the challenges of commuting.
Offer flexible working
Flexible working has already gone some way to addressing the commuting issue, allowing workers to work remotely for so many days each week. As the facilities for flexible working become ever better and more widely available, this is likely to be the most practical option for businesses looking to recruit the best employees.
It’s also a great way to adapt each employee’s schedule to their individual needs, beyond simply avoiding the commuter crush.
Pay employees to live nearer the office
There’s no getting round it, whether you’re renting or buying, residential property in London is expensive – and for many office workers, living away from the centre is the only way they can afford it. While many companies will offer a subsidy for employees relocating to the capital, it’s less common to offer a subsidy for employees to live nearer the office.
Over in the USA, this practice has long been in place within the tech companies of Silicon Valley – where companies like instant messaging specialists IMO offer employees up to $500 a month towards housing costs if they live within five miles of the office. They believe that workers with a shorter commute are happier – and therefore more motivated and more focused. But should Silicon Roundabout follow suit?
Provide cycle parking
London already has the second highest proportion of cyclist commuters in the UK. But according to estimates, there are many more workers who would cycle to the office – if only they could. One of the biggest drawbacks is lack of secure cycle parking, with key commercial districts such as the City experiencing a particular shortage of spaces.
Granted, substantial onsite cycle parking can be difficult to find, with many high-rise office blocks simply not built to accommodate the number of spaces needed – but if it makes it easier for you to fill that position with the right candidate, then it could be money well spent. And think of the additional benefits of having a healthier, more fitness-focused workforce.
It might not be a choice for much longer…
As the daily commute gets ever trickier, even the most determined workers will find it a challenge to get to the office. After all, the transport infrastructure in some parts of the city is already struggling to keep up with the ever increasing numbers of workers.
Take the example of Bank: it’s the most hated station on the underground system, already hectically busy and expected to reach maximum capacity by 2016 – when peak time crowd controls are likely to be enforced. What then?
As London gets busier, bosses will have to do something to help workers tackle the hassle of commuting – or face an ever narrowing selection pool when it comes to recruiting the right staff.
What do you think? Should bosses do more to help workers tackle the commute?