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5 Smart Ways for Companies to Simplify Employee Commute These little steps go a long way in communicating to employees that they are being cared for

By Ashok Vashist

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Several studies seem to hold the notion that employees staying closer to the office happen to stay loyal to the organisation for long. That is clearly not surprising, since having shorter commutes leave employees with more personal time to spend with family and friends, pursue a hobby, run errands and more. However, when we factor in the increasing cost of living, especially the staggering rents in areas surrounding the popular corporate business districts, it becomes easier to empathise with employees who would rather suffer longer commutes then shift closer to the office. Besides, the choice is not even available to all employees, especially the ones living with their families, taking care of the ailing health of parents and more.

However, while longer commutes might be inevitable for the majority of employees, they don't necessarily have to suffer the transit time. Here's what organisations can do, in order to smoothen and simplify commute for employees.

Flexi work hours to relieve the commuting woes

Flexible work hours are a rage, especially with the millennial generation emerging as the leading workforce demographics. It not only offers the much-required sense of freedom but also inspires employees to take complete ownership of their work. In addition, providing flexible work hours will also prove to be a tool for organisations to relieve the commuting woes of employees. By relaxing the clocking in and out hours, companies can help employees skip the rush hour traffic. The same would not only reduce the time spent in transit but will also boost the productivity of employees, for they are more likely to be rejuvenated and energetic at work.

Make reimbursements easy!

Typically the reimbursement process may comprise raising rosters and having the finance team audit the same. For an employee, it primarily boils down to having a lot of hoops to jump through and further add to their distress. However, with the advent of the latest technology, it is possible to automate the entire process. Through software and IoT devices or biometrics, employees can receive digital transfers of the reimbursement amount, without having to raise an invoice. Companies may want to explore collaborations with managed service providers, in order to best leverage this new technology and simplify employee transportation, both for the employees and the audit team.

Reduce the cost of transportation for employees

This is a special hack for companies not providing any pick-up and drop services to the employees. The fact of the matter is that the employees having to spend a lot on their commute are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. However, companies can do a lot, even if they are not providing transportation services. For instance, covering the cost of public transportation against actuals for all employees or especially for the pregnant ladies is definitely one of the alternatives. In addition, through corporate tie-ups, companies can source cabs for employees during special occasions or celebrations. Gift cards for fuel or designated parking spots could also be reserved for employees. These little steps go a long way in communicating to employees that they are being cared for.

Have clearly defined policies

HR managers need to come up with clearly defined guidelines and protocols for employee transportation. The guidelines should contain information on reimbursement policies, the time is taken for processing the same and more. Also, it is important for the managers to pay heed to the feedback from employees and update the policy document from time to time, in order to make the commute more flexible, simple, and employee-centric.

Adding fun to employee commute

Ever gave a thought to starting a community podcast or a company's online radio, only for the employees? Think about it, the time spent in transit is often presumed to be a total waste and is going to only add to the angst of the employees. However, with a book podcast, online radio for employees, the same travel time will be spent rejoicing and better engaging with the rest of the employees. Thus, perhaps managers could think of other such ways to make the travel time more fun and contribute to employee's life in more meaningful ways.

In a nutshell, employees have been struggling with tardiness or absenteeism, due to long and arduous commutes. It has taken a toll on their mental health, stress levels and is also impacting the quality of their work. Organisations of today that believe their core strength lies in the workforce must utilise the latest technology and creative ways of making employee commute smooth, fun, and simplified.

Ashok Vashist

Founder & CEO

Ashok Vashist is the Founder & CEO of Aaveg, a Delhi based Employee Transport Management Company with PAN India Presence. He is a forward thinker who has played a pivotal role in disrupting the mobility and ground transportation industry by introducing radio taxies and driver-cum-owner business model.
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