This toolkit offers useful ideas and suggestions on how to reduce the need to travel to work by allowing remote working and flexible working hours.
Why reduce the need to travel to work?
Many employers now offer the opportunity for employees to work from home, hold meetings by telephone or video conferencing, or work a condensed week. Reducing the need to travel to work can benefit the employer by:
- Reducing work space by having more staff working from home or at work hubs
- Increasing staff morale by allowing flexible options for staff with difficult or stressful journeys
- Being seen as a considerate employer
- Increasing the safety of staff in bad weather conditions
Many people in Devon face a long commute every day, but by encouraging employees to work from a local work hub you can cut your carbon footprint and save your company money.
Devon Work Hubs offer local work spaces that provide the opportunity to travel shorter distances, along with the freedom to arrange meetings and days in an office environment without the long commute. Workers can find their local hub and take advantage of the hot desks available. See www.devonworkhubs.co.uk for more details.
Working from Home
Allowing staff to work from home one or more days a week can benefit both you and your staff. According to research by YouGov, conducted on behalf of Redcentric, just under one third (30%) of UK office workers reported an increase in productivity when working outside of the workplace, with only 17% stating that it reduced their efficiency. Moreover, 70% of office workers said it’s important for businesses to allow remote working.
Allowing staff to work from home is also beneficial to the environment if they have a long commute by car to work, which can help meet company targets for lowering travelling emissions.
Flexible Working Hours
Allowing flexible working hours can allow people to car share more flexibly or take public transport. A flexible–hours scheme usually involves working a set of “core hours” – perhaps 10am until 4pm, with the ability to vary the hours either side of this.
It might also be a good idea to allow staff to build up hours one week in order to work less another week, if this works for the company. This will allow employees to work more flexibly based on their personal lives, while allowing them to still work full hours.
Compressed Working Week
An increasingly popular option is the ‘compressed working week’ where staff condense their working week or fortnight by working longer days, for example:
- 4 and a half day week – Half a days’ worth of additional hours are worked up during the week, allowing for a half day to be worked on the Friday
- 4-day week – All hours are worked in four days instead of the usual five, normally spreading out the usual hours equally over the four working days
- 9-Day fortnight – Staff work two weeks’ worth of hours over nine days instead of the usual ten. The hours from the day taken off are then split between hours worked during the first and second week.
These can be offered as the permanent working hours for staff who may regularly need a shorter day each week or can be offered as and when a member of staff needs it.
Further information and support
Want to encourage smarter travel to work at your workplace? Devon County Council can offer support* to organisations who want to enable their staff to travel more sustainably and actively. Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
*Support offered will depend on availability of funding, COVID-19 restrictions and engagement and commitment of your workplace.
When following our toolkits, please check the government guidance for safer travel.
This page was last updated March 2021.
- Devon workhubs website: www.devonworkhubs.co.uk
- YouGov research into remote working https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2015/10/20/30-uk-office-workers-are-more-productive-when-work
- Flexible working times options: www.flexibility.co.uk/flexwork/time/time-options.htm
- National Government website on flexible working: https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working