Working remotely has already been a hot topic for years. The COVID-19 pandemic speeded things up. Many businesses suddenly had to move to a “work from home” approach as much as possible. Consequently, the need for transportation to - and from - work was eliminated for non-essential workers. And who didn’t see the results on the road and in the public transport?

 

As markets begin to reopen, we foresee that the current remote working experience will have a remaining impact on travelling in general. Both employees and businesses seeing advantages of a more flexible schedule. This is backed by the latest results of Mercer’s ongoing global COVID survey, showing that 52% of the responding companies will increase the working from home possibilities in a permanent way and change their habits for good.  Before the pandemic, as told by the respondents, less than 25% of the employees used to be able to work from home. Of course during the first heat of the pandemic the data shows a big difference. In the Netherlands, businesses are starting to reopen for a limited number of non-essential workers but around 70% of the employees is still working remotely. In the near future 40% of the respondents do expect a permanent change in 25% up to 50% of the workforce to work from home regularly.

 

Following this disruption, employers should reinvent their mobility and transportation policies. We expect to see changes in car and travel benefits and a demand of other alternate benefits relating to safe, healthy and sustainable transportation. From our recently published report on car benefits we learn that 44% of the respondents already added electrical cars to their fleet and 37% is planning to do so. 59% of the responding companies is promoting the use of public transportation by offering allowances or is going to and almost 40% is planning to reduce the number of company cars. Time to reconsider your policies as well in a broader perspective!

Determining whether or not to implement or change policies and allowances, often comes down to one factor: the costs. Car benefits are a long-standing staple of many employee benefit programs, but some companies around the world, as in the Netherlands, have begun reconsidering these traditional policies in order to meet the unique demands of today’s labor market and workforce expectations. They are in the need for a hybrid and future proof approach. A coalition of employers has already joined their efforts to promoting employees working from home and scheduling virtual meetings as much as possible. Their mission is for all employees to choose the most sustainable way of travelling for their employer.

Understanding your workforce’ needs and what is commonly offered in a particular market or other markets around the world is key. 

 

While using global and regional data as an anchor point, redefining your goals by aligning the needs of the employees with your estimated goals and your budget is also important.

These are unpredictable times and some creative thinking may be needed to provide employees with benefits that help them to feel valued and fit their needs. This is a good time to redefine your mobility policies. And while doing so, ask yourself at least the following:

  • Do the policies reflect my employee value proposition?
  • Are the policies future proof?
  • What is the impact on other benefits?
  • What are fiscal and statutory benefits in this respect?

 

If you would like to participate in our Covid-19 survey please find the registration button via this link.

 

 

By Anouk Potman

Senior consultant, Career

By Marieke Jesse,

Senior consultant, Health

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