Why do it
ways2work is good for business, good for people and good for the planet. It makes sense and it’s a win all round. It can be challenging though – as it involves changing ourselves and our behaviours, our organisations and our structures. But it’s possible and that’s the good thing about ways2work – businesses that are going through this change are sharing their experiences, their learning and results with us and it makes good reading.
In today’s world full of economic uncertainty, the need for cost control and efficiency has never been greater. Businesses need to become leaner and more effective – more so now than ever before and we are all looking for new ways to do this.
There are many opportunities that are not yet being adopted by businesses and these involve how we work and travel on a daily basis. It’s become far too habitual and we are missing opportunities. Doing so is costing us.
We need to think about the choices that we, as individuals and businesses, make on a daily basis about when, where and how to travel. Individuals’ choices about whether and how to travel have a significant cumulative impact on transport demand. So too do the decisions of businesses. Encouraging more sustainable travel options requires these to be attractive and competitive in meeting business and personal needs. For businesses in particular this means finding a way of ensuring that sustainable transport is consistent with commercial priorities. For individuals this may mean changing long-established travel habits.
Research shows that transport behaviours are amongst the most difficult to change – there are strong links between transport and people’s lifestyle choices. Some people see little reason to make greener or reduced transport choices. This could be due to a number of factors, such as not having access to, or being aware of, more sustainable or reduced travel options.
By being adaptable, flexible, agile organisations that can work remotely or on the move as well as in the office, we are covering all eventualities whether they relate to congestion, bad weather, Eyjafjallajökull, fuel shortages, strikes, accidents and major incidents. Adaptability enables us to protect our organisations in ensuring business continuity in the most difficult of circumstances. Dealing with these issues now can also help us to future proof our businesses.
Equally at the other end of the spectrum, having the ability and flexibility to handle things that affect us all in our daily lives – such as minor illness, a child’s school play – means that we can maintain high levels of productivity whilst minimising the work-impact of other aspects of our lives.
Working and travelling better is corporately and social responsible – and can give our businesses the competitive edge in these challenging times.
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Beyond creating business benefits, companies that adopt sustainable travel practices can help build stronger, more prosperous communities in several vital ways:
With transport now the fastest growing source of UK greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable travel and reduced travel through using telecommunications can make a significant contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change.
Reducing the number of car journeys helps to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents, which affects disproportionately the worst off in society. Children from low-income households are five times more likely to die in road crashes than those from the highest income families.
By promoting sustainable and reduced travel at work and working with local authorities to reduce the number of car dependent developments and policies, businesses can mitigate the social exclusion of people without cars who are denied access to work, education, training, healthy food and regular contact with family and friends.
Congestion costs the UK over £20 billion annually. Businesses, people, individuals and communities all suffer. A good transport system is a pre-condition of the long-term economic growth required to drive the UK’s economic recovery.
Promotion of walking and cycling at work will help to reduce levels of obesity and associated physical, psychological and societal health problems and costs in the communities where businesses operate. In addition, reducing levels of work-related car travel will help to reduce vehicle pollution which causes asthma and some cancers and contributes to cardiovascular disease.