Getting to Work in a Pandemic: What Employers Can Do to Help Workers Commute Safely

4 Mins read

Great efforts have been made to manage the coronavirus, which has changed economies and societies. Regrettably, officials have been unsuccessful in bringing the virus down to low levels, millions of cases being confirmed every day. The closure that we’ve all been waiting for mightn’t arrive any time soon. Businesses must remain open during COVID-19 in spite of the frightening reality. Some employees will continue to work from home while others have to be onsite. It’s the responsibility of employers to ensure workplace safety during this tough time. 

This is the perfect time for companies to take a step back and re-evaluate their strategies. And plan the transition back to the office. Working from home presents some disadvantages, including but not limited to lack of community and teamwork, unmonitored performance, not to mention security concerns. The staff should come back to the office btu not side by side, even if there are screens in-between. It’s of paramount importance to ensure the safety of employees on the commute to work. The employer’s duty of care extends to the commute. So, how should you handle employees who need to travel to work? 

Don’t force employees to come back to work 

The risk of contracting COVID-19 can be a major cause of concern for employees. Some workers will refuse to come back to work even if their presence is necessary on-site. They fear that a coworker or a member of society will expose them to the coronavirus. Another explanation is that they have underlying medical conditions and are reluctant to come back to the office out of fear that they’re at risk for high complications. Given the threat of an infectious disease lurking around the corner, it’s unrealistic to demand employees to come to work. 

If the organization has people who can do telework, they should stay at home. Even one department that makes the transition to working from home can free up the roads, public transportation, and, most importantly, space in the office for those who need to work in-person. It’s not recommended to discipline or lay off staff members because, under the law, they have the right to protect themselves from imminent danger. These matters are undoubtedly delicate because the global pandemic has affected individuals mentally and economically. 

Make available parking spaces for those who opt to use their personal cars 

Your company should offer free and preferred parking spaces for employees who use their own cars to get to work. While there are many options to choose from in a populous city, the vast majority of them are extremely expensive and they’re not always readily available. It’s important for workers to have a safe and accessible place to park. Corporate parking lots contribute to commuting safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for essential workers. Organizations should adopt private parking spaces to help accommodate social distancing. Drivers should be able to stay safe a distance apart. 

In more urban areas, such as Washington DC, it’s hard, if not impossible to find a good parking space. Driving around only wastes gas and time, the outcome being that employees could be late for a very important meeting. Physical distancing has made parking spots even more valuable because people are terrified about mass transit. Therefore, parking, especially in the nation’s capital, comes with limited spaces and high rates. As an employer, you could make your staff’s lives easier by reserving monthly parking in DC, for example, until a vaccine is made available for the novel coronavirus. Companies aren’t obligated to offer employee parking but they should because it can turn out to be a positive and impactful solution. 

While some parts of the world are going into lockdown, private sector actors are taking advantage of this time of crisis to introduce novel and innovative technology. For instance, we’ve witnessed the advancement of parking apps, which make it easier to park in garages or lots. You can obtain access to a large network of exclusive and secure monthly parking spots, for you or the staff members. Some of the benefits of group parking include simplified payments, privileged locations, and the ability to swap employees. Take into consideration the possibility of offering free parking for employees who don’t occupy managerial positions. 

Find alternatives to public transportation 

Not everyone can afford to buy a car. Millions of people can’t afford to buy the average used car in their city and have no choice but to rely on public transportation. The problem is that, during a health crisis, it’s not a good idea to ride the bus or subway. Mass transit poses a great risk of coronavirus outbreaks, which is why local and national authorities are encouraging telecommuting. Wearing face masks and respecting social distancing guidelines aren’t always enough to ensure protection against the infectious disease. Try to find alternatives to public transportation. If employees live nearby, they can ride their bikes to work. But what if they don’t? 

The good news is that there are alternative modes of transportation for workers, of which mention can be made of carpooling and shuttles. Commonly referred to as ride-sharing, carpooling sharing a car with another passenger who is traveling on the same route. Several strategies can be used to encourage carpooling among employees, such as offering parking benefits. Offer free parking spaces to rideshare drivers. Better yet, financial incentives can be introduced. Besides carpooling, another good solution would be to rent a shuttle or more. The shuttles will pick up and leave the employees at the office.  

To sum up, getting to work in a time of COVID-19 is challenging, to say the least. Things have changed significantly over the past couple of months and how people choose to commute is a complex consideration. It’s up to companies to make sure that their employers get to the office safely. It’s important to step in and implement initiatives that protect people during one of the worst pandemics in history in which commuting has become a real obstacle. Business needs to move forward in spite of the uncertain times.  

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