The opportunity for employers to implement a diverse, multi-faceted, sustainable mobility plan and display corporate social responsibility has never been greater.
Cost management, risk management, carbon footprint reduction, business efficiency and effectiveness and time management are all issues that impact on corporate travel.
Too frequently, many employers retain the status quo and simply accept that employees have a company car, will access a pool car or drive their own car and reclaim mileage. But is that the best travel solution, both for the business and the individual?
Frequently, the answer may well be no. Employers and employees have never had the business travel choice that is available today.
The internet enables searches and price/time comparisons to be undertaken almost instantly. It means the travel options are almost limitless: train, plane, car share, car club and daily rental, as well as bus, motorbike, taxi, cycle and walking, not to mention the company car, pool car or own car.
Therefore, just as when compiling company car choice lists, fleet decision makers should focus on the total cost of ownership of the car during the operating lifecycle. The factors that should be taken into account in establishing a staff travel policy should include: the number of people travelling; length of journey, costs, for example peak versus off-peak fares; hire car, car club or taxi; if driving, the cost of fuel and parking; time constraints; ease of travel; the actual travel distance, in terms of the start to end location and return trip.
Thus, it is the total cost of the journey that is critical, while also taking into account a myriad of broader factors, notably risk, the environment, efficiency and time. The car may not always be the optimum solution.
It is also critical to fully communicate the travel policy to staff. It is essential that policies and procedures are joined up and clearly understood and that the options are taken into account by employees when they make their travel-related decisions.
Business mobility is a balancing act with no right answers and many variables that all have to be considered and managed.
John Pryor is chairman of industry body ACFO