As with ensuring offices and other work environments are as safe as possible, proactivity is the key to supporting staff safety as they commute. It’s worth considering adjusting your working practices, as well as your rules and guidance for staff, to help ensure they’re as safe as possible.
Here, we’ve compiled 5 key factors to consider as you do this:
1. Provide additional flexibility to staff who use public transport
Many employees previously used public transportation to get to work. For those, this meant standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the bus, tube or train (or all three!) with large groups of strangers, often for extended periods of time.
As a result of COVID-19, the thought of returning to the routine of a commute will be a cause for concern for many. Consider supporting these staff by offering flexible hours and the option to travel at off-peak times, or the option to travel via a less busy route to reduce potential contact with strangers.
2. Remind staff of best practice regarding commuting by car.
It’s likely that staff who can will choose to travel to work in a personal vehicle or car - and for many businesses, this will already be how the majority of their staff reach work.
It’s worth reminding staff who drive daily that they should avoid carpooling with colleagues and/or those not living in the same household to help stop the spread of the disease.
If an employee requires the use of a ride-sharing service, encourage them to check that the driver follows the required cleaning and hygiene protocols.
3. Promote alternative commuting methods
Many employers encourage staff who live in close proximity to the workplace to walk, cycle, or make use of similar alternative travel methods to get to work, primarily for the health benefits of increased exercise.
For those businesses who don’t yet do this, it may now be worth considering beginning to encourage staff to do so. Aside from the health benefits, during the crisis it may mean that staff are in lower proximity to others while travelling, particularly in comparison to public transport.
4. Consider incentivising staff to use alternative commuting methods
Now may be the ideal time for employers — who didn’t already — to start encouraging efficient commutes via incentives.
This is particularly relevant when encouraging staff to use healthier means of transport such as walking or cycling. Benefits some companies supply to encourage staff to commute more healthily include extra time off (e.g. an additional 5 minutes of holiday per day commuted by walking or cycling), or financial.
5. Think outside the box
The above might not suit every employer - but there are a wide range of other changes that can be employed to improve staff safety when commuting.
For those with larger workforces, consider; offering parking subsidies; providing a shuttle bus; offering a balance of on-site (for essential meetings) and remote work; and of course extending your remote work programme for those who can continue to work from home.
Check out our COVID-19 information hub for more guidance on keeping staff safe during the return to the workplace.