With protests seen at 40 stations today, the dissatisfaction with rising rail fares is clear.
On one side, commuters are angry that the price of tickets have risen by 3.4% with some season tickets now costing £100 more.
On the other, the Department of Transport says the price increase was capped in line with inflation and would improve the network.
However, with some being forced to join the so-called £5k commuter club and campaigners saying they are being “priced off” the rails, is there another way of cutting the cost of travelling to work?
For many people, all those journeys into London are indeed necessary. They are in customer-facing roles or need to work side-by-side with team members or thrive in the work environment.
For some though, there may be an option to work from home or from a remote office so they do not have to make the trek into the city.
With the aid of communications and IT applications, some workers could create a business setting away from the London office. They can log onto business servers from any location where there is an internet connection so they can access all their files and documents, use all the business applications they need, check details on the company’s CRM and add updates, etc.
Using unified communications tools and modern telephone systems, they can also see whether their colleagues are available and what the best method is to contact them. If available, they may wish to call them; if in meeting, they might instant message them to see if they can quickly respond; or if unavailable, they can email them for a reply later in the day or contact another colleague instead.
The same is true for their colleagues wishing to contact them. They can even use their mobile phone as an extension of their desk phone or use a handset at home or a remote office to enjoy the same functionality they use at work. They can be contacted on the same extension number wherever they are working.
Even face-to-face meetings do not have to be in person. Video calls are more than adequate in many cases especially those with a screen-sharing feature. For multi-party appointments, audio and video conferencing can also be used without the need for people to travel from multiple places to meet at one venue.
With this technology available, businesses should be able to confidently consider allowing appropriate members of their staff to work from home when they are not needed in the office. It does not work for everyone, but there must be thousands of people who currently cram into trains every morning and evening who could spend their time more productively at home or at an office that is less arduous, and expensive, to get to.
Fares will continue to rise, the network will continue to need investment and commuters will continue to baulk at the cost, so we maybe it is time for a rethink.
Technology can help cut costs throughout a business and we publish plenty of blogs, whitepapers and infographics on the topic but none really tackle the subject of reducing the cost of getting to work. Real cost savings can be made for your staff by embracing remote working and in return they can be just as productive, if not more so, without the distraction of office life and a fatiguing journey.
If this blog rang true for your business, you may like this infographic, Work is no longer a location, it’s an activity about the benefits of embracing a mobile workforce or do not hesitate to contact us for more advice on remote working.