Addressing health issues among employees is a growing concern for many companies, as highlighted in a recent CBI article.
The CBI notes that economic inactivity due to long term sickness is at historically high levels, with ill-health costing the UK economy a staggering £180bn in lost output.
In response to this growing issue, the CBI has launched a new Health & Work Taskforce. This taskforce will focus on proposing new solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of workers within 18 months.
Shared transport (coach and minibus shuttles) is an often-overlooked solution that could be explored by the taskforce, as it can contribute to reducing employee stress levels, improving physical health, and reducing their exposure to harmful pollutants.
The length of a commute is a universal indicator of related stress, as UK transport infrastructure leaves a considerable number of workers with a limited list of unattractive choices; car driving has become increasingly expensive as the cost of fuel continues to rise, and local councils are withdrawing many local bus routes throughout the country, an acute issue for rural areas with a high number of factory and warehouse workers .
Staff shuttles can reduce stress levels for employees. Long and stressful daily commutes have been linked to a range of health problems, including high blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression.
On the flip side, recent studies have shown the commute to provide a “liminal space” to “psychologically recover” from work – offering an opportunity to listen to music or podcasts, read or otherwise decompress. These benefits can quickly be lost due to external factors such as traffic congestion or delays to public transport.
Company-arranged coach or minibus shuttles can be tailored to meet both employee and organisation needs, providing a direct route between residential or intermediary hubs, such as train stations, and places of work and adapting to changing shift patterns throughout the year.
Live tracking of the service reduces the potential stress associated with transport timetables and by freeing passengers from the concerns of driving they can make use of the time they regain to mentally recharge.
Shared transport also reduces air pollution, which provides a positive impact to both the environment and employee health. Air pollution has been linked to a range of health issues, including asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.
By sharing a ride to work, employees can reduce their carbon footprint and minimize their exposure to harmful pollutants. A Euro VI coach produces 70% less carbon per passenger than the same journey by car.
By encouraging shared transport among employees, companies can contribute to improving the overall health and wellbeing of their workforce, which can have a positive impact on productivity and output and help the UK economy to bounce back.
It can also help recruitment by expanding catchment areas and strengthening that all important employer brand.