Traffic jams and long commutes are a fact of life for many Americans. Chances are that in any given business, commute times and workspace location are a major factor determining where you could hope to draw applicants and employees. Office and work spaces further away from population centers tend to be cheaper to keep or have better infrastructure for the kind of work you do -as in the case of technology parks.
However, long commutes not only tend to limit the population you could hire from, they can be bad for employee retention. This in turn raises hiring costs for business.
But that’s not all. Long commutes, especially when private cars are a necessity, increase the production of greenhouse gases and pollutants, even when using most types of “green” vehicles. Long commutes also increase stress not just for those commuting, but those who need employees and coworkers to be on time.
The editors at Intercall Blog sent us an infographic on the costs of traffic jams that should put some of this into perspective:
Suggestions from the infographic include:
- Driving during Off-peak Hours
- Working from home part of the week
- Conference calls (hey, they are a telecom provider)
- Listening to business podcasts or audiobooks
While these are all great ideas, here are a couple others to look over:
5) Use it as a time to unplug or meditate
Not doing anything work-related while commuting can help you relax and actually be even more effective by the time you get to where you need to be.
4) Listen to whole albums in sequence
iPods and have forever changed the way we listen to music by making it easy to find catchy songs from huge music libraries. Unfortunately, the niceties and fun of listening to complete albums have been lost to some extent. Try turning off the shuffle function and go through the music you already have. It can be as good as reading through a book.
3) Choose a business location closer to population centers or mass transit
If you own your own business, it often pays to pay a bit more to be located close to where your employees are. Not only will you have much better retention and more relaxed (and hopefully more productive) employees, your business can reduce its impact on the environment. You will also have an easier time finding the right talents to fill available positions.
2) Allow some positions to be completely via telecommute or contracted
Sometimes, you don’t really need certain people to be where you are all the time, which is exactly why outsourcing is huge these days. If an employee’s role can be done just as effectively (or better) at home, consider sparing them from needing to show up regularly. However you will likely give up team cohesion if all of your employees work that way. Make sure to keep these employees part of your company’s community and culture.
1) Have a goal-based business structure that emphasizes actual output over coming in by a certain time.
Sometimes you need a person to be on site, but circumstances prevent his commute from being regular. It may be best to just overlook this, especially if they are offering valuable contributions to the company. This may not be a long-term solution though, and you may want to offer incentives or encourage these employees to move closer.
What are your suggestions? We’d love to know!
How to outsource your App Development – PC World
Why, When, and How To Outsource Tasks – SmallBizTrends
Arthur Piccio is one of PrintRunner Blog’s resident Admins. He is also the head writer for The Art of Small Business. His work has been featured on New York Times’ You’re The Boss Small Business Blog, Bizsugar, SmallBiz Trends, and other small business and printing-oriented online publications.
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