How do you get to work in the mornings? On foot? By bike? In a four-seater car with only you at the wheel?
Many companies employ a workforce that mainly drives to work. Lack of parking spaces, traffic jams, and stressed staff are just a few of the side-effects, and the environmental impact is well-documented.
However, a new government initiative encouraging people to share the commute to work could help to make a difference.
Tomorrow (14 June) is National Lift Share Day, when the government is urging employers to incentivise workers to try out car sharing. The government also plans to pilot car-share lanes in select areas of the country, giving priority to vehicles that have more than one passenger.
Recent research by the Scottish Executive showed that 86% of cars on their way to the workplace were driven by a single driver.
But more and more forward-thinking employers are taking steps to help staff share their cars and cut down on traffic.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), for example, operates a car-share scheme with a website where staff can log on and match themselves up with other drivers. The system works well, and everyone who has used it has been very happy with it.
Lorna Hyslop, who works in the HR department at RBS, has been car sharing since 2001.
Initially, she shared a car with three other friends, but recent plans to move house have seen her log on to the work-based system.
“It’s very simple to use, and I found new sharers straight away,” says Hyslop.
“The drive to work takes about 45 minutes – up to an hour if the traffic’s bad – and I would usually use a tank of petrol a week. I now only drive once or twice a week, so I use about a quarter of the petrol. It is nice to have good company, and we’ve never needed to exchange money – we just take it in turns to drive.”
From an HR perspective, car-share schemes are a great way to boost employee morale and provide a cost-free perk that saves employees money. With the daily commute one of the most cited reasons for quitting a job, it is also a good way to enhance retention rates.
Setting up a scheme
So how do you go about encouraging car sharing in your office?
Setting up a company car-share website is one option, but for those on a tight budget there are public websites, such as Liftshare.org, or Carshare.com, which charges a nominal £5 annual fee that enables it to identify users by credit card for security purposes.
Another incentive to car share could be reserving special parking spaces at the front of the office.
As a cost-effective and sociable solution to traffic-congestion, employees may well decide to make it a regular habit.
Why share a car journey?
Save money on petrol
Cut down traffic congestion and pollution
Enjoy some company to and from work
Relax and let someone else drive occasionally