As organizations work to create new workplace and facilities protocols and procedures to minimize risks associated with COVID-19, one thing is certain: safety for the workforce starts the moment they leave their house and start their commute.
COVID-19 flipped conventional wisdom about transportation and the commute on its head. Reliance on dense shared modes is no longer possible for commuters due to high exposure risk concerns.
As a result, there are a few new challenge for employers when planning for the commute:
- 90% of Americans say they’re avoiding public transit
- ⅓ of American workers don’t own or have access to a car
- For those planning to drive, congestion may be worse than ever before
Many organizations are releasing return-to-workplace plans but not all are addressing the commute, even though the top employee concern about workplace re-entry is getting there safely.
A safe commute is a necessity for the well-being of your individual employees and your organization as a whole
When we talk about safety in the era of COVID-19, we aren’t just talking about safety from the virus. Safety has two major components to it:
Physical safety – answers the question will I “be” safe. These are the investments we make to reduce the likelihood our employees getting sick or infecting others. From a physical safety perspective, we bring the commute into the workplace.
Psychological safety – will I “feel” safe. These are the investments we make to give employees confidence they can return to the workplace and be safe. From a psychological safety perspective, the commute is the top concern of many of our employees when returning to the workplace.
What does this all mean? It means you can’t have a safe return to workplace plan if you don’t have a safe commute-to-workplace plan.
The commute is now the employer’s responsibility
For many organizations, the commute historically has been the employee’s issue, but COVID-19 has transformed it into an employer issue. If an unsafe commute impacts your people, it impacts your workplace and organization, too.
Without safe commutes, organizations are exposed to more risk:
- Your people won’t reliably be able get to the workplace, impacting employee absenteeism and turnover
- Your people may not feel invested in by their employees, adversely affecting employee experience and productivity
The goal of retooling or updating of your transportation programs to support safe commutes should start with minimizing these risks.
What modes are your people looking to avoid or replace in the wake of COVID-19?
What mode investments as a result need to be adjusted in the short- or long-term to prioritize safety and well-being of your people?
What modes will offer you variability, scalability, and flexibility in the immediate, short- and long-term?
In the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out a platform and tools to help you make these re-investments and updates to your programs with confidence. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about how you can incorporate a safe commute experience into your return-to-workplace plan, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.