Train Delays Reach 12 Year High, So What Can Businesses Do To Combat Employee Lateness? The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has released data, showing that UK train delays have reached a 12 year high.
Aspects such as new timetables and harsh weather meant 14% of trains in the UK missed the industry’s Public Performance Measure (PPM) of punctuality in the 12 months prior to August 2018. The last time the annual average was worse was February 2006, when it was at 14.2%.
In order to classify as on time, trains must arrive within 10 minutes for long distance services and five minutes of their final station in London and southeast England
Over the past year, Britain’s railways have been hit by a series of major issues – which has had a knock-on effect with commuters and employees up and down the country.
In a survey conducted by
TotalJobs, nearly 1 in 10 employees commute to work by train, meaning rail disruptions could have a huge detrimental effect on absenteeism and lateness in the workplace.
So what can businesses and employers do to help tackle the effects of travel disruptions? ELAS HR Director, Pam Rogerson, explains:
his situation has a direct impact on employees and business alike. Staff are feeling that their jobs are at risk because of persistent and continuous lateness and disruption. From a business point of view, yes employers can encourage employees to find alternative modes of transport , car share , group together for taxis or use other public transport etc, but that doesn’t solve the problem. The impact on the economy must be substantial and business is suffering because of those lost man hours, trade losses and overall staff morale. Staff feel that they are under pressure to make up for the hours they have lost in their own time but playing catch-up isn’t productive. Many times a contract may have been lost or the company suffers financial implications for not servicing an appointment for example.
Alternative transport can’t be good for the economy, as if staff feel that their alternative is more reliable than trains, then this perpetuates the problem. More people will move away from trains, when as an economy, we want less cars on the roads.
Flexible hours aren’t a solution to this problem but can help ease the pressure in the short term, however flexible hours don’t always fit the business needs and each company needs to make an assessment based upon the needs of the business rather than the needs of a rail commuter.”
Employers may believe that disciplinary action is the way to solve absenteeism and lateness within a company. However, ELAS legal consultant, Emma O’Leary, believes there are more effective strategies to combat the above.
Lateness and absenteeism has long since been a headache for employers with traffic and public transport often being blamed. There are various way employer can address this and disciplinary action is usually the most common.
However, rather than use a stick approach, it may be time for employers to look at more progressive ways of tackling such disruption. Many employers operate ‘flexi-time’ policies, this is where a set number of hours must be worked in a week but it is the employee can choose (within reason) their start and finish times.
This gets the best out of employees because they can operate within hours that suit their lifestyle – whether it is doing the school run, or opting for the best time in which to commute most easily. This allows employees the freedom to avoid rush hour when the majority of transport disruption occurs but still allows them to complete their contracted hours. It might also be argued that they will be more productive at work because they have that freedom and are far less stressed by their daily commutes. Working from home is another way of allowing employees to completely avoid commuting. Home working is becoming popular and as long as the employee has adequate facilitates to complete their job at home, and this is adequate monitored, this can work very well. Again it allows the employee the freedom to work around their job and potentially get more from them in terms of productivity. It obviously does not work for all business or roles.”