How strikes and other transport woes are hindering British businesses


  • UK’s aging transport infrastructure putting huge burden on employers and workers

  • From the mental health of staff to lost job opportunities, the problems are far-reaching

  • What can employers do to mitigate the impact?

Many of the lines on the UK’s railway network appear at breaking point: over-crowding, delays and particularly in the case of Southern Rail – crippling strike action. This is having a huge knock-on effect on Britain’s workforce and the businesses that employ them.

Katie Aldridge from The HR Dept Newbury explores the impact this has on businesses and what employers might do to reduce the pain.

Katie starts: “Let’s think about employees first. A long commute, cramped carriages and frequent delays is hardly the best way to begin or end a working day. It’s tiring and stressful. Throw in ever-rising fares and it’s a pretty miserable experience.”

“At the extreme, the newspapers have been full of tales of Southern Rail woe: job offers withdrawn because applicants are at the mercy of that route, people turning down short-term contracts to avoid developing a reputation for being unreliable, and general unpleasantness between commuters.”

Employers, if they are not directly caught up in the transport chaos themselves, have plenty to deal with. Late-comers or no-shows among their workforce; harried, stressed or even depressed staff; a smaller talent pool from which to recruit if people can’t travel from further afield. So, what advice does The HR Dept offer for local SMEs?

Katie suggests: “Depending on the business, flexible working could be a great help where tricky commutes are concerned. It puts employees more in control of their work-life balance, which should lead to a happier, healthier workforce. It allows them to be more productive by avoiding peak travel times – either by working from home or tailoring office hours around the worst of the problems. And at a human level it can create good will in those who work for you.”

If you don’t offer one already, interest-free season ticket loans will be a help on the cost front, and depending on the length of commute a tax-efficient cycle to work scheme has many benefits.”

For further information or guidance please contact Katie Aldridge on 01635 613040 or 07393 140386, email katie.aldridge@hrdept.co.uk.

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