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Don't lose good employees to a bad commute on Vodafone IE

Don't lose good employees to a bad commute

Don't lose good employees to a bad commute

Don’t lose good employees to a bad commute

Guest blog by Vanessa Tierney, Co-Founder of, September 2018

One of the most consistent problems encountered by Irish businesses is how to attract and retain staff in an economy approaching full employment. Candidates for jobs are in the enviable position of being able to pick and choose the positions that suit them.

But one thing everyone can agree on is that lengthy daily commutes are a waste of valuable time and put off candidates from many jobs. Nobody likes to sit in traffic or on public transport for hours at a time, regardless of how good the job on the other end is.

What if there was a way to have the best of both worlds, for staff to avoid that commute while their employers also benefitted? The answer is there is – smart working.

Flexible working combines technology and connectivity with employee agility to achieve work goals. Facilitating staff working remotely from home or on site saves time, is cost effective, improves employee wellness and ensures that business decisions are made more quickly leading to increased productivity.

Meanwhile industry research shows that requiring staff to be present in an office on a point of principle to ‘improve productivity’ is a flawed strategy. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University analysed the impact that traditional work journeys have on employees compared with flexible working options.

The findings revealed how long commutes can in fact have a negative impact on your team’s lives and productivity levels. Starting the day stuck in traffic or on public transport can use up employee’s productive morning energy. Instead of feeling fresh and inspired for the day, by the time they get to work they’ve already experienced stress and frustration, even though the day is only starting.

Vitality Health, the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer investigated the daily work journey of over 34,000 people across all industries in UK. According to the study, members of staff facing a daily work commute of one hour or more are less inclined to be fully productive. It found those with a commute of half an hour or less end up gaining an equivalent of seven days’ increased productivity per year.

Another study conducted by Stanford University revealed that employees are more likely to make mistakes when working long hours and that a long commute correlates with an increase in health-related issues for employees.

Longer-commuting workers are more likely to struggle with both physical and mental health. Results show that staff with ongoing long commutes are 33% more inclined to suffer from depression, 37% more likely to have financial issues and 12% more likely to experience various forms of work-related stress. 

They are also more likely to develop diabetes, increased blood sugar levels and higher cholesterol.  Excessive tiredness and absence in work are also related to health problems, which directly affects employee productivity.

The philosophy behind flexible working benefits the business owner and employee alike. A two-year experiment conducted by Stanford University on Ctrip, the largest travel agency in China with 16,000 employees produced startling results.

The CEO James Liang introduced the ability for employees to work remotely for the first time and it worked better than expected. The company enjoyed a striking boost of productivity and significant improvement in time, work management and employee concentration.

In addition, employee's attrition rates in the company decreased by 50%, employees were found to take shorter breaks, take less time off and had fewer sick-days. Finally, this SmartWorking initiative saved Ctrip nearly $2,000 per employee by reducing the amount of required office space - proving its cost effectiveness.

Why not create a Smarter Workplace by utilising these resources to maximise your team’s potential? Grow your business for survival and continue to take ownership! Hold meetings on Zoom, share files on Google Docs, message and communicate via Slack and analyse competitors all from the comfort of your employees very own work space.

It is time to embrace change and face the facts that allowing your employees to SmartWork is the future of work. Whether the improvement is in productivity, employee health, cost savings or all of the above - utilising these elements is key to your business’ success and employee retention.

For more information on Unified Communications  and how it can help your business, click here

Download 'The Future of Business in Ireland: A Conversation with SMEs'


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