More than four in five feel ill-equipped to devise transport strategies following the recent rise in fuel costs.
Rising fuel costs have left HR directors feeling the pressure to meet employee demands for better transport solutions, according to a study released today.
Nine in ten workers have called on employers to help provide more travel options and ease the cost of commuting, with showers and secure bike parks (69%) for cyclists topping their list of demands, followed by season ticket loans for public transport (63%), regular use of tele-conferencing or home working (58%) and car-sharing schemes (50%).
But, in a study commissioned by the Energy Saving Trust, more than a quarter (29%) of HR directors admit they have no understanding at all of travel planning and 59 percent describe their knowledge as ‘limited’ or ‘basic’.
Following a fuel price hike of around 12 per cent in only three months , drivers using their cars to get to and from work now spend, on average, £50.38 a month on fuel – almost double the travel costs of those using public transport (£29.17). Britain’s car commute fuel bill now stands at a staggering £609 million each month .
One in three (33%) HR directors say rocketing fuel costs have prompted company talks about vehicle use, and over half (53%) acknowledge that fuel costs have had the biggest recent impact on their employees – but seven in ten (71%) admit their organisation has no travel strategy.
And many feel ill-equipped to put plans in place. Over half (56%) of HR directors working in the private sector say they could not prepare travel plans without the help of an expert, and that figure rises to 68 per cent for those working in the public sector.
Nigel Underdown, head of transport advice at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “Fuel costs have put travel strategy in the spotlight and employee demands have now made it a crucial issue for employers to take action.
“Two thirds of employees (64%) told us their employer has never spoken to them about their use of transport and the same number said they’d like more advice and support from their employer on the best use of transport to and from work.
“ HR managers and directors are ideally positioned to apply their knowledge and expertise to travel planning. Being close to the coalface of their organisations, HR personnel are well placed to help meet the transport requirements of the workforce.
“It’s vital that organisations answer these demands and ensure that their HR personnel are equipped and properly supported to lead from the front and ensure effective travel strategies are put in place.”
Topping the list of HR directors’ concerns about travel planning are the time and resources needed to put strategies in place (61%), followed by costs involved (54%) and lack of employee support (46%). Others told researchers for the Energy Saving Trust they would be concerned about the insurance or legal implications of company car share schemes (43%) or winning the support of senior management or the financial director (39%).
Nigel Underdown added: “These results are the clearest indicator that HR directors need more advice and support on travel planning to help dispel these myths.
Yet, HR personnel should take heart that employees would give their support to the implementation of travel planning - nine in ten workers requesting their employers provide more travel options and almost two-thirds (64%) calling upon their employers to recognise their journeys to work as part of their working day.
In fact, our research tells us that travel planning can not only enhance the health and moral of the workforce and help reduce staff commute time, but also enhance a company’s reputation and reduce expensive parking costs.”
The Energy Saving Trust offers a free travel plans consultation service and resources for organisations looking to develop travel plans.
Energy Saving Trust is offering the following top-tips to companies and workers to encourage a reduction in fuel bills:
1. Car Share. Investigate the number of people willing to share journeys to work and consider whether an online ‘dating agency’ for passengers could help to establish this network
2. On Your Bike. A lack of changing rooms and storage facilities are two of the most often-cited reasons for not cycling to work. Many businesses are providing these facilities to allow more people to travel by bike
3. Home Work. With the advent of broadband and penetration of PCs, increasing numbers of employers are allowing staff to work from home for a proportion of their working week. This has been shown to improve productivity and, of course, reduces on commuter journey each time
4. Bus It. Ultimately, if a business case can be proven (as is the case with business parks for example), bus operators may redirect routes
5. Maximise Your Walking. Businesses can work with the local council to ensure that routes from bus stops or rail stations are pedestrian friendly
For more information please visit www.est.org.uk/fleet/travelplan or call 0845 6021425.
To set up an effective car share scheme for your staff contact Liftshare on 01953 451166 or visit www.Liftshare.com
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