Emma Mitchell

By Emma Mitchell
Senior Workplace Consultant |

What is a commute analysis? 

A commute analysis is a study that analyses your staff’s daily commute, evaluating the impact of different office locations or premises.

Why should I undertake a commute analysis?

Conducting a commute analysis allows you to identify the most common commuter routes to your current office and see how this will change for your staff if you move. It’s instrumental in taking steps to reduce staff turnover during a move and maintain high morale. It also helps with change management, allowing you to accommodate the staff most impacted, either with financial assistance or through adopting agile or flexible working.

If you’re deciding between different new offices, a commute analysis can help identify the true cost of each option, looking beyond the headline rents. After factoring in the financial impact on staff, you may very well decide it’s worth paying a higher rent for a more centrally located space.

When should I commission a commute analysis?

You don’t always need to be moving to conduct a commute analysis - it’s also an effective tool to justify any internal policy changes regarding working habits, such as home working.

If you’re moving office: If you’re moving building or location and are concerned about the time or cost of a different commute on your staff. Some employers may like to know how their staff will be impacted to help with change management, while others might look to cover  the cost of their employees increase in travel at least the first two years, helping keep staff benefits competitive.

If you’re staying in your space: A commute analysis can also back-up a call to introduce or review a flexible working policy. For example, this can identify all employees living over 90 minutes away from the office, who could then become a working group on whether or not to introduce agile working. Would they benefit from working from home, and would they look at taking advantage of it? These are the ones with your answers!

When should I commission a commute analysis?

You don’t always need to be moving to conduct a commute analysis - it’s also an effective tool to justify any internal policy changes regarding working habits, such as home working.

If you’re moving office

If you’re moving building or location and are concerned about the time or cost of a different commute on your staff. Some employers may like to know how their staff will be impacted to help with change management, while others might look to cover the cost of their employees increase in travel at least the first two years, helping keep staff benefits competitive.

If you’re staying in your space

A commute analysis can also back-up a call to introduce or review a flexible working policy. For example, this can identify all employees living over 90 minutes away from the office, who could then become a working group on whether or not to introduce agile working. Would they benefit from working from home, and would they look at taking advantage of it? These are the ones with your answers!

How is a commute analysis done?

Step one: It starts with the client providing a list of staff’s residential postcodes (in-line with GDPR regulations), which allows us to map where all employees are living. This allows us to identify clusters or hotspots of employee residences, along with potential outliers.

Step two: We can then identify the main transport methods and routes to pull together a detailed picture of the way your staff are currently traveling into work.

Step three: Once your property search has progressed, we can compare these results against the post code of your top three potential new offices - allowing you to make an informed decision on how the move will impact your staff’s daily commute; both from a financial and wellbeing perspective.

A commute analysis will be different depending on the location of your buildings and how the majority of your staff already commute. For example, most central London workers commute on public transport, so parking and motorway access won’t be a consideration. However, for offices in business parks, motorway proximity and car parking will be paramount.

A typical commute analysis will provide detailed observations of the highest and lowest changes in both commute time and cost. This will allow you to fully assess the impact a new building or location will have on your staff.

What are the main benefits of doing a commute analysis?

Change management: Knowing how your staff will be impacted (either with a shorter, longer or unchanged commute) can help you frame your change management messaging. This will allow you to really sell the benefits of your new space, or look at compensating individuals who are set to be impacted the most.

Overheads and costs: If you’re planning on compensating those most impacted by a new commute, this cost will add to your overall property or HR overheads.

Retention: Knowing which staff will be impacted before the move allows you to address them individually and offer unique compensation packages - either financial or through flexible working.

So, if you’re thinking of moving to a new space or even introducing new working arrangements, a commute analysis can provide incredibly valuable insights into how your staff will be impacted. This will allow you to shape your change management messages, ensuring everyone’s on board for the ride!