The real advantage of Workplace Travel Plans is that organisations can tailor the process to achieve whatever outcome they need. Successful Workplace Travel Plans don’t always focus on trips to and from work; often the focus is on travel for business meetings, or travel between different work sites.

Here are some of the reasons why your organisation might consider a Workplace Travel Plan:

Need to reduce business travel costs?
The Workplace Travel Plan could include increasing the use of video and telephone conferencing, and encouraging the uptake of instant messaging. Reducing a fleet or switching fleet cars to ‘greener’ cars offers another opportunity, as does promoting and supplying pool cars for work related trips with employees even encouraged to share cars for work journeys.

Not enough car parking spaces to meet employee demand?
Telling an employee they can no longer have a company car parking space is not an enviable task. But a well designed Travel Plan can resolve this very difficult and sensitive issue. It must focus on encouraging those who do not need to drive to work to commute by other means, freeing up enough spaces for those who ‘need’ to drive. This will mean lots of incentives – like subsidised public transport costs – to be implemented first, and then disincentives – like car parking charges with reduced rates for car-sharers – implemented in stage two.

Need to develop a ‘greener’ company image?
Focus the Workplace Travel Plan on reducing the level of carbon associated with your organisation’s business travel. Be able to say ‘we saved ten tonnes of carbon by using video conferencing instead of flying to meetings’. Use your commitment and results to demonstrate good Corporate Social Responsibility – minimizing your organisation’s environmental footprint. Perhaps sign up to a national accreditation scheme to get wider public recognition. Many new employees actively look to work with companies who are environmentally responsible.

Relocating to a less accessible site?
Mitigate the risks by developing a Travel Plan designed to ensure all current employees can easily get to work at the new site. The emphasis is likely to be on de-mystifying the new journey by providing easily accessible information on travel options, maybe through personalised journey planners, travel briefings and Transport Access Guides. It may be necessary to provide new transport services, possibly a car-sharing scheme, and could be a good opportunity to promote cycling and walking.

Workplace Travel Plan a Condition of Development Consent?
Councils and NSW Department of Planning/Transport NSW are increasingly asking organisations to produce a Travel Plan as part of their relocation. Your Plan should focus on ensuring the new site (and the traffic generated) does not unduly impact on the local area, including congestion and air pollution. The Workplace Travel Plan is likely to be broad in-scope and require liaison with transport providers or local government, infrastructure investment (such as bicycle racks) as well as motivational campaigns to staff. You will likely be given binding targets showing the proportion of people travelling to work by different types of transport, with penalties if they are not achieved. It is essential these targets are built on a realistic assessment of travel patterns.

Problems with recruitment and sickness absence?
The goal of the Workplace Travel Plan could be ensure employees have access to a wider choice of travel options. Promoting active travel options like walking and cycling will improve the motivation, health and fitness of your employees. This is proven to improve productivity and reduce sickness absence. Also, reduced travel costs for employees means happier staff, and you become a more attractive employer. For example, the RTA Tele-working Program is saving staff hundreds of hours commuting to work.

A common sense business management tool
A well designed Workplace Travel Plan will deliver efficiencies, savings and benefits - to the organisation, its operations and employees. It can have a positive impact on Corporate Social Responsibility, your carbon footprint and improve an organisation’s brand and position in the market.

A Workplace Travel Plan is fundamentally about change;

  • Changing an aspect of how your organisation does business
  • Changing the way your employees work during the day
  • Changing the image of your organisation and
  • Even changing the way your employees travel to and from work.

But it is not change for the sake of change.

A Workplace Travel Plan will be strategic as well as dynamic, designed to link into an organisation’s existing business systems and processes. It will include provision of/improvements to and promotion of ‘sustainable’ travel choices such as walking, cycling, using public transport and car-sharing and car-pooling. This will be reinforced with promotion and incentives and by the management of workplace parking. It can also include action to reduce the need to travel, such as tele-commuting, and focus either on travel to and from work or travel during work, or both. Crucially, the precise form and outcomes of the Travel Plan will be entirely determined by the organisation itself.

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