However you plan to return to the workplace, you’ll no doubt be looking for ways to make the transition that little bit easier for your employees.
For some, it may be a simple decision to just jump in the car and begin commuting to the workplace again as they did pre-pandemic.
If you’ve already moved back in some capacity, many of your employees may already be doing this.
However, in the last 18 months attitudes have changed, and while resuming the work commute for many may sound simple, in reality, it isn’t.
How has remote and flexible working changed attitudes towards commuting?
Without a doubt, attitudes towards the environment and climate change have changed in the last 18 months.
Research by Ipsos Mori showed that in 2020, 60% of Brits said they were more worried about climate change than in the previous year.
Many employees will be conscious of this when considering a potential return to the workplace. Even if they’ve already begun to commute back by car, for example, they might prefer a more environmentally friendly option.
Many employees have also saved money on their commute since they began remote working. At £1.20 per litre of fuel, a commute of 20 miles a day at an average of 40 miles per gallon would cost around £600-£700 a year for a full-time employee.
Depending on how many days a week you’re returning or have returned to the workplace, you can see how much this could cost your employees commuting in by car.
Providing different commuting options and potential savings for employees on their commute through employee benefits could therefore be crucial.
There’s also been a huge focus on work-life balance, its effect on our wellbeing, and how flexible and remote working has contributed in the last 18 months.
Reintroducing the commute means also bringing back the time spent commuting which will of course affect work-life balance.
In 2019, a TUC study showed the average work commute in the UK to be 59 minutes long. According to the research, this works out at around 221 hours per year for the average full-time employee.
Of course, these numbers will vary for your employees depending on the number of days they return to the workplace and the length of their commute.
However, it’s important to consider how a return to the workplace will affect work-life balance and therefore wellbeing.
Employee benefits can provide options for employees with their commute, helping them prioritise whichever of these factors mentioned here they choose and helping them find a way to commute to and from the workplace in a way that suits them best.
- The Commuting Loan scheme on Salary Extras helps make public transport and parking more affordable for employees
- The UK Government are investing in public transport to make it easier and more accessible to help hit green energy targets
- Employees can save hundreds on their commute annually through the scheme.
The Commuting Loan scheme helps staff purchase annual travel season tickets or parking passes and spread the cost monthly through their net pay, so they don’t pay interest on monthly payments, making commuting by public transport much more manageable.
Commuting by public transport is a more environmentally friendly way for your employees to get to and from the workplace.
Given how many of us have become even more environmentally conscious in recent times, it’s important to give employees a more affordable way to travel by train, bus, or tram, for example, to make it a more accessible and viable option as we look to return to the workplace.
Using the National Rail season ticket calculator, a season ticket for travel between Woking and London by train paid monthly would cost £5065.20 over the course of a year, whereas an annual ticket would cost £4,396.
With the Commuting Loan scheme, this annual cost can be spread monthly through the employee’s net pay, helping make the season ticket more affordable and helping them save £669.20 over the year.
Bike to Work
- 6 in 10 Bike Scheme users would drive to work if they didn’t use the scheme (Cycle to Work Alliance)
- Between March and September 2020, there was an increase of 60% of new scheme joiners compared to the same period in 2019 (Cycle to Work Alliance)
- 7 in 10 companies who use the scheme say it improved staff health (Cycle to Work Alliance).
Through the Bike to Work Scheme, employees can save up to 42% on the cost of a brand-new bike and accessories.
Over the last 18 months, the UK Government has invested in cycling infrastructure and has attempted to capitalise on the “cycling boom” seen in the UK since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bike Scheme has become hugely popular and can support your employees with their commute whether they’re back in the workplace part-time or full-time.
The scheme can help reduce the carbon emissions associated with your employees’ commute, help them incorporate exercise into their day more easily, and help improve their health and wellbeing, all while allowing them to get a brand-new and more reliable bike for less.
For more, read our full blog “How the Bike to Work scheme can support a return to the workplace”.
- Employees save up to 12% on the cost of their car MOT, service, routine maintenance, and repairs
- Employees can get back to using their car more regularly, safely, and without breaking the bank
- The scheme is brand new and designed to keep your employees’ cars safe and well maintained on the roads.
For some, taking the car is either the only option or by far and away the most preferred.
Over the last 18 months, many have used their car drastically less or even not at all while they’ve worked remotely.
As we get back to the workplace in some capacity, it’s important for employees to keep a close eye on their car and its regular maintenance.
MOT’s, regular servicing, or any long-standing repairs that have been put off through the pandemic must be taken care of and kept on top of to ensure cars are kept safe and reliable on the roads as employees begin to use them more often.
MotorSave is a salary sacrifice scheme that allows employees to spread the cost of their car MOT, service, routine maintenance, and repairs while saving up to 12%.
Whether you’re going hybrid or back to the workplace full-time, MotorSave can help provide financial support for your employees when it comes to maintaining their car and helps make the car a more reliable and safe option for the commute.
Car Benefit scheme
- In November 2020, the UK government announced the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030
- They also announced that all new cars and vans will be fully zero-emission at the tailpipe from 2035
- The Car Benefit scheme is one of the easiest and most affordable ways for employees to drive a brand-new electric or Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).
So, your employees would prefer to commute by car but don’t want to increase their carbon emissions output again as they return to the workplace.
Chances are you’ll have heard lots about the UK Government’s plans to reach net-zero by 2050.
It’s an ambitious target, but alongside their support for cycling and greener public transport, electric cars are also receiving support.
The Car Benefit scheme is a salary sacrifice scheme that allows employees to get their hands on a brand-new car while saving on Tax and National Insurance (NI).
For ULEVs on the scheme, for the tax year 2021-2022, they’re subject to just a 1% Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax, meaning the Car Benefit scheme is one of the cheapest ways to get a brand-new ULEV for employees.
The employer makes NI savings too, so the scheme is a win-win for everyone.
There’s also plenty of support businesses can access to support electric motoring, with a Workplace Charging Scheme from the government designed to help employers install electric charging points at the workplace.
The Car Benefit scheme helps employees still take the car to the workplace should they prefer, without increasing their carbon emissions output, all in an affordable and easy to manage way.
Your employees may need an extra helping hand with potential increased costs of their commute, and that’s where employee discounts can come in.
For the cyclists in your team, discounts can help make essential parts and maintenance more affordable, helping reduce the cost of cycling or even helping improve their bike to make it easier to ride or more reliable.
For the motorists, discounts can help with parking, parts, or maintenance, for example, again helping reduce the costs associated with the commute.
Depending on your employee discounts package, you could even get discounts to support public transport, helping give employees even more options when it comes to their commute.
With the Employee Instant Discounts scheme on Salary Extras, employees get a huge range of discounts designed to help them save not just on their commute but in many other areas too. What’s more, is they can now be accessed through our brand-new Salary Extras app, designed to make employee discounts even more accessible.
However, you decide or have already decided to return to the workplace, when it comes to employee benefits there’s plenty of options.
Increasingly at caboodle, we’re seeing more and more clients opt for a broader range of benefits to meet the new needs of employees.
When it comes to the new work commute, providing more options through employee benefits is a key trend we’re starting to see emerge and one that will benefit both businesses and employees alike.