Today marks the end of “Commute Smart Week”.  I had never heard of this before, but it is a campaign by Work Wise UK to “raise awareness of implementing smarter ways of commuting during the winter months”.

Work Wise UK has identified five separate themes in relation to Commute Smart week.  These are:

  • flexible working (ie encourage people to travel outside rush hour);
  • remote & agile working (ie encourage people to work from home or from a closer office);
  • virtual meetings (instead of struggling to work, people could partake in meetings via telephone or online);
  • health benefits (people should be encouraged to walk or cycle to work where possible); and
  • road congestion and road safety day (according to Work Wise UK, statistics show that road users are more at risk of accidents on Fridays, between the hours of 4pm and 6pm and during the winter.  So be careful on your way home this evening!).

It is fair to say that commuting can be a struggle.  Last winter in particular threw up a number of challenges due to the weather.  According to Work Wise UK, £22 billion is lost each year due to these issues.

On this basis, it seems sensible for employers to have a contingency plan and to start thinking about these issues at this stage (this time last year the heavy snow was about to arrive).  If staff are struggling to commute to work then, rather than have your workforce stranded on roads for much of the day, perhaps consider the feasibility of them working from home.  If possible, this could reduce the impact of difficult commutes.