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Unpacking the impact of transport strikes on workplaces

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Public transportation accounts for the second most common mode of commute in the UK, according to a survey by Statista. Commutes throughout the country have been hugely impacted by the ongoing strikes, with statistics from the UK government finding that due to rail strikes alone, 70% of commuters report it having a work-related impact.

Daily journeys being affected by the strikes can cause workforces a lot of stress when it comes to getting to work, so it’s important for employers to be able to accommodate these difficulties to take some of the stress away from their team.

Flexible working to lessen the impact of transport strikes

The past few working years have shown many employers and employees that hybrid and flexible working are viable options in the modern working world. According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 40% of working adults in the UK consistently work from home (WFH), showing it’s still a popular option for many businesses.

Technology has opened more options for hybrid working through collaborative working and communication tech. Workplaces could avoid missing out on their talented workforce by coordinating days where they can WFH when strikes are likely to impact their travel schedules. This would mean less time lost to ineffective travel and more security for employees, knowing they’ll be able to log in from home and crack on without consequence or fear they’re making the wrong choice.

Flexible working is another phenomenon that could benefit many employees across many industries. This can allow your workforce to begin working earlier or later than the normal start of working hours and leave either earlier or later, opting for a scalable approach to a working day.

Alternatively, a more flexible approach may be introduced where workers can fulfil the remaining hours required on another day, for example, finishing an hour earlier on a Monday and making up for it later in the week. This can help enormously for those who may have a certain window they can travel to and from the workplace, as it means they’ll be able to make it on time for their transport without being stranded.

Invest in alternative travel schemes

No employer wants their quality and talented workers missing from a productive workday because of events that are out of their control. That’s why many employers would benefit from investing time and resources into creating a strategy that enables their workforce to be able to travel to work.

One solution could be a cycle-to-work scheme for the members of your team who live within a comfortable cycling distance of your workplace. These schemes introduce a salary sacrifice that allows workers to effectively ‘hire’ a bike the company owns, allowing them to travel to and from work. This might also encourage those looking for a healthier option than sitting on a bus or train to invest in cycling to work.

Ben Mercer, mountain bike enthusiast and director at bike business: Leisure Lakes Bikes offers some insight into why these schemes are so valuable as an option for commuters: “Many throughout the UK want to take every opportunity they can to get healthy, and with the average amount of time taken commuting every week, it can be a great opportunity to use it for some additional exercise. The cardiovascular benefits you can get from cycling, as well as covering the distance to and from work, makes it a fantastic option for your workday travel.”

Another option is organising car shares between employees who live near each other or can be picked up on the journey if they have spare seats. This can save on the stress and punctuality issues caused by the strikes while simultaneously creating a bonding opportunity between employees who may not be in the same team or interact with each other during their working day.

More focus on employee wellbeing

Commuting can be stressful for many employees as being punctual is a huge part of being successful within the business, which is why the strikes may have a negative effect on the mental health of your employees. This is especially true as with quality, hardworking talent, they want to be able to get to work and earn their keep.

Taking the time to have human resources or people-centric teams focus on the wellbeing of the employees most affected by the strikes can help reduce any feelings of isolation caused by being unable to make it into the office.

There’s plenty to consider when it comes to how strikes will affect your working week, but looking after your employees should be the top priority. You may have outlined several areas within the commute that could affect your workforce on a normal day, so you may already have an idea of how to improve the situation and can take action quickly.

 

As a PA, there are things you can do to help mitigate against transport strikes that are threating to unrail your event plans.