Five Smart Ways For Precise Employee Commute To Relieve The Smog Distress

Ashok Vashist, Founder & CEO, AavegA mathematics graduate, Ashok prior to establishing Aaveg, has worked with Hertz & Europcar.

The air quality in Delhi is degrading by each passing day and businesses can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to it. As per the report by industry body ASSOCHAM, the polluted environment in Delhi could potentially push away the top executives. Talented workforce, that is otherwise so difficult to source, has been considering moving to lesser polluted cities or settle abroad, given the rise of air pollution levels in the capital. And, while pollution is instigating corporate brain and talent drain, foreigners are more likely to avoid visiting the capital, given the international reportage on Delhi’s infamous smog. Even expats staying in the national capital region are more likely to take longer breaks away from the city.

Even if the workforce is not relocating, they are still exposed to real and severe health risks. Last year during the same time period of smog, the World Health Organisation and the Delhi government had declared a state of public health emergence, due to the toxic combustions and rising air pollution levels. Besides, in the period of smog, employees are more susceptible to respiratory disorders, which may in certain cases escalate to cancer, thus making the city life extremely risky.

For businesses, this predicament would result in finding it extremely difficult to hire the right talent, especially for senior-level positions. Furthermore, the existing workforce whose health is put to jeopardy is more likely to take extended leaves or work from home due to health issues. Thus, while facing such critical lags, organisations of today need to take both, immediate and long-term actions, in order to ensure optimum working and commuting conditions for employees, especially when the city looks for a breather from a thick layer of smog.

Show that you Care by Offering Immediate Relief
As the city drowns in the thick opaque smog, organisations must consider offering some relief to the daily commuters in transit. Providing good quality smog masks to help shield the employees from the adverse effects is definitely the first step. In addition, businesses should consider installing air purifiers within the office premises, thus letting employees know that the efforts are
being made to ensure their optimum health. Providing flexible working hours to help employees escape the rush hour traffic and its resulting combustions is another great example of offering respite.

Tech-enabled Employee Transportation Solutions
Available forms of company operated employee transportation tend to get rather tedious and cumbersome, both for the employees and the audit team. However, with the advent of managed service providers in the domain, employees no longer have to generate rosters and the audit team needn’t tenaciously manage the same. Furthermore, MSPs offer smoother operations, training the fleet staff and ensuring real-time route optimisation for the employees. This not only increases the critical mass of available fleet, thus ensuring that more employees are able to avail of the transportation service, but also saves a lot of time and effort with tech-enabled solutions.

"As the city drowns in the thick opaque smog, organisations must consider offering some relief to the daily commuters in transit"

Managed Services for Corporate Business Districts
In addition to managing employee transportation of a particular organisation, MSPs can administer operations for key corporate districts. By analysing the available data on employee transportation, MSPs are able to better visualise the routes ahead of time. This solution ensures optimum critical mass and utilisation of available resources, also reducing the total number of vehicles hitting the roads.

Making Employee Commute Fun and Enriching
Urban commute tends to be long and arduous, marked with unforeseen delays and being stuck in serpentine jams. However, companies can come up with interesting ways of ensuring that the time in transit is spent in a more enriching and fun way. Starting a book podcast or an online radio of the company, boosting engaging activities for the carpooling staff are some of the ways in which companies can make the time spent while commuting more meaningful.

Need for Better Efficiencies in Public Transportation
At the beginning of this year, a thick layer of smog had engulfed Seoul, the capital of South Korea. In fact, the air quality had dropped considerably to become harmful, reporting over 50 micrograms per cubic metre. The critical situation warranted urgent recourse and as means of immediate combat, emergency measures were introduced in the city. The use of public transport was made free of cost, with the intention of discouraging the use of private cars and relieving the situation. However, despite proving to be a costly affair for the state, the directive didn’t offer any significant changes in the use of privately owned vehicles.

The fact of the matter is, despite traffic jams and toxic emissions, people would continue to use private vehicles, simply because the public transportation system is inconvenient. A majority of public transportation is old and in poor condition, thus not making the ideal choice for the corporate clan of daily commuters. The State Road Transport Undertaking, furthermore, doesn’t have the required funds or drive to invest in the upkeep and maintenance of these vehicles.

Thus, it is time for the private players to enter the domain and address the bottlenecks being faced by public transportation. Owing to their years of experience, MSPs can bring in the efficiencies currently lacking in the public transport. This would include training the fleet staff, updating the current systems to be more tech-enabled, reliable and secure, especially for the female travellers. While odd-even and free public transport hasn’t contributed towards a bigger behavioural shift, by making public transport just as efficient and convenient, we can arguably disrupt the status quo and influence everyday commuters to opt for the same.