Moving away from a culture of single occupancy car use is essential to a successful travel plan, but it's also a challenge. Businesses often provide company cars as part of employment packages or set high mileage reimbursement rates as a 'perk'.
On the other hand, high quality potential employees can be attracted by your business reputation for staff care and the local environment. Making it easy for your employees to make alternative choices can help to reduce their reliance on car travel.
Promotion and incentives
How you pitch the plan is vital to its success - it needs to be promoted in a positive way. Energetic marketing campaigns will encourage strong uptake. Focus on the personal benefits that changing travel patterns could have for your employees - like saving them money and having a healthier, less stressful life.
You could use a variety of marketing tools and techniques, such as:
- branding the plan
- using promotional events
- staff incentives, special offers and prizes
- involving your business in external competitions
Induction packs for new starters should also include comprehensive information about sustainable travel options.
You need to commit to a long-term communication effort to ensure that the message stays fresh and that travel patterns change.
Flexi-time and home working
Flexible working, including home working, is a viable option for many businesses even if it is just for short defined periods. It also ties in with wider business objectives such as committing to improving work/life balance.
You could also consider staggering shifts or start and finish times to maximise the use of public transport and to avoid peak travel times.
Videoconferencing can be a very efficient alternative to face-to-face meetings which would require time-consuming and costly travel.
Plenty of free video call options are available through popular internet companies, allowing any business to get started with minimum cost. Technical advances mean documents and graphics can be easily displayed within calls, and meetings can be recorded for later use.
Investing in conference phones, videoconference suites and business-licensed conferencing software and technical infrastructure is an important step if you want to embed this in your everyday business culture. Return on your investment costs can be assessed against travel costs saved.