How your business's approach to mobility can make a real difference

Want to be a leader in the sustainability stakes and do your bit for the planet at the same time? Reassess your approach to employee mobility.

Business travel used to be about extra legroom on the plane, driving a flash company car or having a meal served to your seat in the first-class train carriage. But the conversation is shifting.

For more and more companies, sustainability is becoming more important than status, and the way companies approach employee mobility can impact both profits and the planet. Opting for greener solutions like vehicle-sharing schemes and incentivising employees to cycle or use public transport can help your business stay ahead of the mobility game.

Think of it as future-proofing; by equipping your company with smart and flexible mobility solutions, you’ll be ready to adapt to our cities as they change and become altogether smarter.

New trends in business travel

The way we move is clearly changing, with an increasing focus on getting from A to B in the greenest and most efficient way possible. Importantly, it’s also less rigid. That applies to personal and business travel. Mobility as a Service, or MaaS, integrates modes of travel into single apps to help get people moving more dynamically and smoothly.

Some innovations—such as Transit App, which covers public transport options in 175 cities globally including London and New York—are already shaking up transport with on-demand services.

But many experts believe MaaS needs to go further by combining all transport modes, from car clubs to micromobility journeys on e-scooters and city bikes, in a single app.

How to make employee travel more sustainable

Consider greener options for your fleet, like taking part in schemes that incentivise employees to choose electric vehicles (EVs), or operating a virtual fleet with Zipcar for Business.

Mobility cards are the business manifestation of MaaS, giving employees a monthly travel budget to use across a range of transport modes. It’s a staff perk, an incentive to choose sustainable travel and a way for business owners to track travel costs and expenses—all rolled into one neat package (or card).

According to ACFO, an organisation for fleet operators, this could transform business travel: “MaaS should be at the forefront of how businesses should be looking at travel to ensure they are using the best options for the journey, for environment, cost, safety and employee reasons.”

What does this mean for your business?

Overhauling your mobility management needn’t be expensive. In fact, many of these greener solutions are cheaper than providing company cars, while schemes like Cycle to Work have tax benefits: employers save 13.8 per cent of the total loan amount through reduced National Insurance contributions, while also providing a perk for employees.

According to Chevin Fleet Solutions, a Derbyshire-based provider of fleet management software, solutions like mobility cards make it easier for businesses to keep track of transport budgets and identify potential savings.

But the impact goes far beyond money. Switching to sustainable transport solutions should seriously rack up your corporate social responsibility points. It’s not just about what your business does; it’s also about the company your company keeps. Partnering with mobility providers that share your approach helps position your business as an innovator in this field.

Spreading the (green) love

Setting an eco-friendly example tends to rub off. An employee cycling to work each day and taking business trips in a Zipcar may start considering these greener options outside of work. More directly, if they’ve purchased a bicycle or EV via an incentive scheme, why wouldn’t they use it for personal trips?

The more businesses show they care about sustainable transport, the more their employees are likely to have green on the brain. It also introduces and exposes them to eco-friendly modes of travel they might not have encountered otherwise. 

Incentivised travel, mobility cards, or a combination of the two, are significant perks for employees, which achieves a twin benefit: it gives employees control over their transport choices (making them happy) while showcasing sustainable travel in a glowingly positive light. As it deserves to be.

Where next?

For ACFO, cooperation between businesses and authorities can make sustainable and joined-up mobility management a reality:

“This support and encouragement should have a marked environmental impact on journeys being made. The choices and range of services that these systems can provide should be embraced as the advantage for the country and communities as a whole will be dramatic.”

Chevin Fleet Management agrees mobility management is changing, adding that it’s crucial to bring employees into the conversation. “It’s possible that parts of the industry will move away from traditional vehicle ownership, focusing instead on mobility, however, for this movement to be successful, employees will need to accept the change and evolve simultaneously—they will play perhaps the most critical role in that sense,” the company suggests in a blog post.

Without businesses getting their employees on board, sustainable mobility—at work and at home—may be a non-starter. But there are definite, and realistic, opportunities to make your company and staff an integral part of the solution.

 

Katie Spillane
Katie manages Zipcar for Business' marketing communications and ensuring we let businesses know how we can help them. A LinkedIn whizz she is always on the hunt to find out how to optimise and improve herself and help businesses work smarter. Outside of work you can find her exploring the newest London hotspots, searching for the best bargain (a self-confessed shopaholic) or obsessing over the latest true crime documentary - full of the best facts you never knew you needed to know.

Date published: 11 June 2019

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