Home-to-work trip : a social issue and a challenge for companies

Home to work trips

Home-to-work trip time, budget… employees are increasingly careful about their transport issues. Although the transport organization remain the responsibility of the public authorities, companies involvement in workers mobility is fundamental.

Home-to-work trips woes are not fresh. Jean Boyer made fun of it in times of war (“To get to my office,” 1945). Today, social medias are seeing the outpouring of discontent with users stranded on public transport; outside the cities, the Yellow Vest crisis has revealed the unease of workers forced to use an increasingly expensive car which is moreover, denigrated socially due to global warming.

Home-to-work mobility is almost as old as industrial society, most often considered as problematic.

Work is not everything: employees are also concerned about their quality of life.  The daily home-to-work trip time and the budget dedicated become determining criteria when seeking for a job, turning central in negotiations.
Recent studies show that the longer the journey time are (especially more than an hour), the higher the frustration is. However, this dissatisfaction is not limited to the route exclusively, but reflects how employment is regarded as a whole (less interest, less productivity, less interactions with colleagues, less loyalty to the company …) [1].
In some territories or within some social categories, mobility is even an absolute barrier to employment: one in four French people has already refused a job offer or training because they cannot get there [2].

The ‘mobility plan’, the company’s armed arm

With no intention to reduce the responsibility of political and societal choices, companies can play a big role in home-to-work mobility. Above all, it’s in her best interest. Expanding its recruitment pool, having an additional argument to attract the best profiles, improve worker”s quality of life and reduce the risk of road accidents, display social and environmental responsibility, are all incentives to look at the matter. That’s where “company mobility plan” comes into action.

Home-to-work trip: improving the quality of life for employees

Mandatory for all companies with more than 100 employees on the same work site, the mobility plan seeks to make it easier and “cleaner” for company travels, including commuting.

In addition to improving the quality of life, it has an essential environmental dimension, aiming to reduce the individual car use in favour of soft or collective transport. It can be developed within a single structure or between different companies in the same area.

In all cases, the plan is carried out in consultation with all stakeholders, in the first place the transport authority in the area concerned.

It includes a diagnostic phase to determine precisely the journeys undertaken by employees (location, length, duration, modes used, cost, satisfaction, needs and expectations…), before establishing the improvement axes and implement the concrete measures.

Home-to-work travel

Concert, facilitate, network

Various levers are available to improve workers’ mobility. In addition to “physical” accommodations, how work itself is organized plays a big role: establishing homework days, shifting schedules to avoid rush hour, encouraging video conferencing meetings, are all ways that can reduce travel.
In addition, simple equipment can easily lift the brakes on the use of soft modes: secure bike garages, changing rooms equipped with showers, service bikes…
Other actions can be taken, such as increasing the support for public transport subscriptions or a financial help to purchase electric bicycles.
Finally, with the help of new technologies, companies can play an active role in connecting its employees for carpooling or even, from a certain number of users, setting up a shuttle or creating a car-sharing service.

Home-to-work travel: making physical adjustments, but also rethinking the organisation of work

Companies therefore have an interest in promoting mobility : it is a factor of attractiveness as well as an element of its social and environmental responsibility. The legal requirements in this regard are also expected to be stronger, starting with the mobility orientation law just adopted: it now makes home-to-work mobility a mandatory part of social dialogue. Proof that in this great challenge of mobility, companies promise to be a central player.

[1] Paris Workplace 2018 Ifop-SFL Barometer

[2] Mobility and Employment Study 2017, Elabe for the Inclusive Mobility Laboratory

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