24 Feb 2011
Flexibility key to reducing toll of new road tariffs on workers
Johannesburg, 23 February 2011 – New tariffs for using Gauteng’s freeway system could take a huge toll on employees’ finances and affect businesses’ ability to attract out-of-town talent unless employers adopt flexible ways of working, says workplace solutions provider Regus.
The toll system – designed to recoup the government’s expenditure on road upgrades for the 2010 World Cup – is expected to open on 23 June. It includes hi-tech tollgates along major highways into Johannesburg’s main business nodes – the central business district, Pretoria, Sandton, Fourways, Midrand, Eastrand, Westrand and Gauteng North. Driving these arterial routes will cost about 66 cents per kilometre, which could land staff with an estimated extra R1000 travel bill a month based on 21 working days.
The open road toll system will affect both employees, who have to stump up more for travel, and businesses because workers will seek to reduce the cost and frequency of freeway tolls by searching for jobs closer to home so they avoid commuting.
Joanne Bushell, Regus Vice-president for Africa and Middle East, said: “Companies can reduce toll costs by giving their staff access to satellite offices, hot-desks and alternative workspace closer to home. But they are missing the bigger picture. Our current ways of working are simply unsustainable, with an irrational and unfeasible focus on commuting that put stresses and strains on workers, undermining productivity and job satisfaction. Better ways of working help all companies to make staff’s lives happier, save costs, improve business and reduce their impact on the environment.”
High-profile research* by Unwired Ventures, specialists in the future of work, was commissioned by Regus last year. It showed how corporates could cut costs per head by half by addressing six factors: real estate, culture, people, technology, transport and sustainability – identifying the cost of occupancy, changing to a results-based supervisory rather than management culture, understanding employees’ needs, using technology to work effectively everywhere, reducing travel through polycentric working and reducing carbon output by using a smaller property portfolio with intelligent building management systems.
“Toll or no toll, companies need to be smarter about how they maintain productivity and eliminate time-wasting exercises,” added Bushell. “Offering alternative workplace solutions to employees can meet these challenges and serve individual workers – creating a win-win situation. A good example of a more savvy approach to the toll is to take out Regus Businessworld Gold card membership, which costs just R199 a month and gives individuals access to Regus business lounges and locations throughout Gauteng, including those nearer home.”
A flexibility strategy doesn’t just drive down costs in this scenario; it frees up firms from unnecessary facilities expenses, reduces the need to pay for traditional office space, gives workers the ability to meet clients and suppliers in different venues, and eases transport congestion around cities. Out-of-date industrial age practices are key to all these problems – and adopting flexible, multi-centric activity-based working styles is the only way forward.
Notes to Editors:
* Agility@Work: adopting the corporate six pack – by Mark Dixon and Philip Ross, used insights from property directors at organisations such as Barclays, BP, Nokia and Accenture to present six trends or forces that are reshaping work, and in turn allowing companies to change the way they organise work. The six forces are: demography, culture, technology, sustainability, transport and property.
For more information contact:
Regus is the world’s largest provider of workplace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus enables people to work their way, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Customers such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join hundreds of thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core activities.
Over 1 million customers a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of 1500 locations in 600 cities and 100 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. Regus was founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1989, is headquartered in Luxembourg and listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information please visit: www.regus.co.za