It feels like the world of commuting has gone full circle in about 25 years, from local to global and back to local, but what are the drivers behind changing travel habits?
Rewind to the late 80s and 90s and the birth of cheap air travel. Jumping on a plane prior to that was expensive and connections were still limited to the major hubs within each country. But the dawn of cheap air travel changed all of this. Suddenly it was possible to reach new locations, work for a day or two in another country, without it taking a week, and even commute to and from the near continent for just £1 if you could plan your diary in advance.
And so, it was. We moved from a position whereby commuting to the nearest big town or city was the norm, to suddenly working here there and everywhere. Overseas relocation increased and more of us were willing to travel further for a day’s work.
And there it remained for almost two decades. But whilst we were travelling further for work and spending more time in planes, trains and automobiles than ever before, technology was advancing, and we were becoming more aware of our impact on the environment.
Today, businesses are more sensitive to the physical and less tangible costs of travel and global trade, with many preferring to invest in technology to bring remote locations together rather than pay to transport people around the globe. Relocation packages are not what they used to be either. Gone are the days of golden handshakes and relocation allowances as employers increasingly expect you to move to the job – which suits upwardly mobile millennials, happy to travel.
Better awareness of our environmental impact and increasing pressure on our time and mental health have all added to employee demand to stay local when seeking a new role. Whilst still dedicated to their jobs and highly skilled, employees have a life beyond the workplace and they don’t want to spend time that can be better used elsewhere, sat in traffic or commuting huge distances on top of a long working day.
So, what do these changing travel habits mean for the employer? The biggest priority must be location, location, location. Businesses need to be accessible to the largest possible catchment area for recruitment purposes. This means well located, with multiple means of transport to and from site. Not everyone drives these days, so cycle and walking routes and free/public transport are important.
Once you’ve positioned your company in the right location, keeping staff happy is next up on the list. If the things that make employees want to get away from work at the end of the day, are on the doorstep, there is more chance of them choosing you over the competition and staying at work longer each day.
If you want an example of how important travel habits and lifestyle have become, then look no further than the Lakeside North Harbour app. Despite being the leading business campus on the South Coast, home to some of the UKs leading brands and best employers, with an unparalleled lifestyle wraparound and a range of transport links; the most requested function on the Lakeside App is the home time shuttle bus timetable!