The future of work is going to be very different to the past.
After more than 18 months of pandemic and office workers working exclusively from home, employees and employers alike are realizing that there is absolutely no need for everyone to be in the office five days a week.
In fact, studies have suggested that employees are more productive when working from home. A Qualtrics survey found that only 15% of employees think they have been less productive while working remotely during the pandemic.
Part of the reason for this productivity is the lack of commuting. Removing the commute can also help reduce stress in the working day, according to a Business Travel Report from Point A Hotels. It is becoming clear that there is no need for workers to waste time and money commuting to and from city hubs every working day.
However, long-term remote working is not the solution for many companies or their workers. Working from home can feel the same as living at work, and it can be hard for employees to switch off from work. Remote working has also created feelings of isolation from employees, particularly for younger employees.
As a result, the future of work is going to hybrid where companies balance out the business’ needs with employees’ preferences around flexibility.
The future of the commute
While employers may want workers in the office often, it is clear that employees are still worried about the safety of returning the office, and particularly about their commute.
According to an August survey by LinkedIn, more than a quarter of employees are worried about their commute to the workplace with 13% saying they do not feel safe with their commuting options.
Therefore, the study suggests that organizations need to step up to make employees feel as comfortable as possible with commuting to their office. One option could be to offer a stipend for ride shares or rental cars.
A survey by Uber found similar results to LinkedIn’s study – 77% said they were anxious about commuting and three quarters saw ridesharing as a public transit as a safer option.
He tells UNLEASH: “Our mission at Uber for Business is therefore to provide organizations with an alternative commuting option.
“Being on hand to offer rides to and from the office, on-demand, and with flexibility businesses and employees now expect is a core pillar” of its business.
Uber for Business does this by making it seamless for companies to set up a commute program where they can subsidize the cost of employees’ trips.
Uber has also been committed throughout the pandemic to mask wearing of both drivers and riders – drivers are actually asked to verify they are wearing a mask with a selfie, while riders are asked to confirm they will wear a face mask and sanitize their hands before their trip.
One example of the 150,000 businesses that partner with Uber for Business is video conferencing giant Zoom.
Uber for business helped Zoom to streamline expensing of taxi rides as employees had access to the Zoom profile in the Uber app so they could charge rides directly to Zoom and have the details sent to the Finance team.
In addition, Uber’s platform makes it easy for HR and Finance teams to scale the offering as the employee base at Zoom grows; this is especially important since Zoom is on a acquisition spree at the moment.
Ultimately, offerings like Uber for Business’ makes commuting seamless, and means the use of taxis is more accessible and affordable for employees. However, importantly, it also demonstrates that employee health safety is their employer’s top priority, which is vital for making employees feel valued at work.
Prioritizing company culture in hybrid working
Unfortunately, hybrid working is not a panacea.
Peymirat notes: “Most organizations will have been operating in a remote working capacity for nearly a year and a half now, and by having everyone working remotely there was a camaraderie in the idea that we were all in it together.
“The true challenges will therefore emerge in the coming months when you have some staff working remotely and others in the office.
“What businesses need to avoid is a feeling that one side of the business, be it home workers or office commuters, are getting more out of the culture of an organization than the other.
This mean it is crucial that companies are aware of this risk and bake answers into their hybrid working strategy as it is developed.
To do this, Peymirat says: “Employers…need to bridge the gap” by “providing great cultural experiences to employees no matter where they work”.
He adds that personalized experiences are keen, but that employers also want to feel included “and feel able to enjoy the benefits of that wider business community feeling”.
Companies are planning to continue to stream all their office events, such as exercise classes or Q&As with executives, online so that everyone can attend no matter where they are working.
Food rewards for hybrid teams
Another idea to drive inclusivity in the hybrid future is “food reward programs”, which Peymirat explains is another core element of Uber for Business.
He continues: “The great thing about food as a reward is that it’s not restricted to one location. You can serve up lunch in the office while sending food vouchers/deliveries to those working remotely.
Uber for Business’ offering is called Eats for Business. It allows for companies to seamlessly organize with a customized dashboard having food delivered to remote workers during virtual meetups – whether they are social or training days – at the same time that in-office workers are being fed.
In addition, Eats for Business makes it easy for HR to reward employees with food vouchers.
Peymirat adds: “Food has always been a great connector, and throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard from our customers that it’s been integral to keeping employees engaged and motivated.”
So it is no surprise that Uber experienced significant growth in interest in Eats for Business, according to Peymirat. This pushed Uber to bolster this offering, which can now reach 91% of the UK population and has 400,000 restaurants globally on its books.
It is time that companies should consider a commute program or offering food-based incentives to help them retain their talent during the ‘Great Resignation ‘ and win the competitive war for talent. This is especially since there are tech solutions out there to assist.
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