Commuting in a crisis: Supporting your staff with transport costs

The cost of living crisis is all over the headlines, and commuting costs are getting more difficult for your staff to cover. We’ve put together some top tips to tackle the commuter crunch and help your team travel for less.

First published on Thursday, Jul 14, 2022

Last updated on Thursday, Jul 14, 2022

5 min read

With the cost of living crisis biting hard, your staff will be feeling the pressure. If any of your team commute to work, they may be feeling the pinch harder than ever. Join us as we look at our four top tips to keep attendance affordable.

Why is the cost of living crisis such a problem?

This year, inflation peaked at 9.1%, the highest rate for over forty years. Basic necessities are getting more expensive while wages haven’t kept up with inflation.

As a result, people are feeling the squeeze and are turning to their employers for help. However, following the pandemic, businesses and SMEs are being hit hard by price rises too, so helping your staff isn’t quite as simple as just paying them higher wages.

For many managers, a great alternative is to be more enterprising and offering financial support through other means.

Why you should tackle the commuter crunch

While numbers dropped during the pandemic, there were still over 990 million rail journeys taken between April 2021 and March 2022. It’s no secret how expensive train tickets are, either.

Train tickets rise in price every year, and if your staff try to skirt around the rail fare, there’s a risk of a hefty fine and potential conviction.

It isn’t much better for those driving into work, either. Petrol prices are at an all-time high, with more price fluctuations expected over the year.

By working to support your team with these expenses, you’re actively improving your staff’s relationship with work. As a result you’ll improve engagement, retention, and attendance.

You’re probably on track (no pun intended!) to working out the opportunities here. Making these journeys easier is a great way to support your team.

How can I help my team afford their commute?

Set up a carpool system

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do to reduce the costs of fuel. However, setting up a carpool or ride-share discussion among your team is a sure-fire way to keep it manageable. Everyone’s commute will become cheaper, thanks to everyone chipping in.

Simply set up a team chat, or send round an email, and your team will be able to organise themselves into saving on their costs. It’s a win-win scenario.

Tell your team about railcards

Every member of your team up to age 30 or over age 60 is eligible for a railcard. These typically cost £30 for a year and will knock a full 1/3 from the price of off-peak railway journeys. (For further info on off-peak travel, keep reading!) That’s an average of £4.88 per journey, or £218 per year.

Railcards include:

• 16-25 Railcard • 26-30 Railcard • Senior (60+ Railcard)

All of which are available digitally.

The beauty of this tip is that it’s as simple as letting your staff know in a workplace email, Teams, or WhatsApp message.

Consider a season ticket loan system

Commuters can save money by buying season tickets—if they can afford the upfront cost, but that’s a pretty big one-time expense for your employees. This is where you can step in to support them with the costs.

You may be able to do season ticket loans. This is something we do at BrightHR HQ. Simply pay for season tickets up front for your staff member, and then take monthly instalments from their regular payments.

Send an email proposing the idea your staff and see if they’re interested!

Seeking staff perks

The cost of living crisis is affecting all walks of life. Sometimes, just saving a few pounds can make all of the difference.

If you ever find a great offer or discount, sending them to your staff in an email builds rapport, and can really help your team out in saving a little cash.

With BrightHR you also get access to Bright Exchange, our free marketplace, where businesses are listing new discounts and deals daily.

It’s not only a great way to advertise your company to over 450,000 customers but a fantastic perk for your staff that doesn’t cost you a penny. Explore the exchange today!

Look into flexible approaches to working

Train tickets are usually cheaper outside of rush hour, with off-peak tickets available from 9:30AM until 16:00, then continuing from 19:00 onwards. This saving can range from a few pounds to a whopping 61% off of your train ticket.

A flexitime system—that is, allowing staff to decide their start times and work earlier or later accordingly—is a great way to help your team take advantage of cheaper fares.

If it fits your business, hybrid working is worth thinking about. One day of homeworking per week is a huge saving on your staff’s weekly train costs. It also promotes a better work-life balance, improves morale, and can be easily set up with the right system.

This is where Blip comes in. With it, your staff can set their start and end times, and record their hours to the minute. That makes off-peak working a breeze.

Blip also allows you to set up workspaces in the business and at home. As a result, your staff can clock-in remotely from anywhere, including their homes, and still accurately track their hours.

If you’re already using BrightHR, then great news! Blip is ready and waiting for you, absolutely free. Just pop onto the App Store or Google Play today.

If you aren’t a BrightHR user, we can offer you a completely free product demo! We’ll take you through Blip and all of BrightHR’s other amazing features, at a time that suits you.

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