Is sustainable travel the future of work? Three quarters of people returning to the office are actively avoiding public transport and seeking new ways to travel

The commute as we knew it may be gone for good, new research conducted by e-bike subscription service DASH Rides reveals. DASH and Sapio Research surveyed over 2,000 city-dwelling, full-time workers, who used to work primarily in the office and now work primarily at home, and discovered that three quarters of those returning to the office will be actively avoiding public transport or seeking new ways to travel.

Time away from the office has given workers the chance to reflect on work and the impact commuting has on individual health and the health of the planet. Four in five respondents say the pandemic has made them reassess their travel footprint (why and where they travel), with a further 76% saying it has led them to look at new modes of transport – many of which they hadn’t used before.

The research also found that 80% of workers returning to the office want to travel to their workplace in a way that is better for their physical fitness, and the same percentage are looking to find greener and more sustainable ways to travel.

The future hybrid office depends on more sustainable travel

Despite this apprehension around public transport and safe travel, the pull of the workplace remains. 85% of workers agreed that being physically present in the office when it opens will be a positive social experience, and four in five agreed that travelling to the office when it reopens and spending more time out of their home will be good for their wellbeing.

But only 25% of employees say their employer is actively helping them to put together a back to work travel plan despite three quarters feeling more concerned about safe travel to and from the workplace than safety in the workplace itself.

Three quarters (77%) of UK employees believe that employers should subsidise alternative modes of transport / routes into the office so that people can travel more safely and sustainably, 54% of whom claiming they would refuse to return to the office altogether if alternative travel is not subsidised.

Jamie Milroy, Co-Founder and CEO at DASH Rides, comments:

“Our relationship to the daily commute has irrevocably changed and as businesses reimagine the office in a post-pandemic world, there’s an increasing need to rethink travel to and from the office. Companies have a golden opportunity to help their employees configure a commute that not only improves their health, wellbeing and productivity but their environmental footprint too. Given 82% of UK workers would like their employer to use COVID as a catalyst to revamp their employee benefits, such as travel or cycle to work schemes, we’re already seeing sustainable travel become central to the future of work.”

The future of urban mobility is brighter, is it also electric?

A positive side effect of the pandemic is that 51% of people have become more conscious about their personal health and wellbeing, with a quarter (26%) taking up cycling or increasing the amount they cycle. And that’s a trend that’s set to stay. 84% of those who cycled more during the pandemic would like cycling to become their primary mode of travel for work and for pleasure. 13% of respondents will be travelling to and from work post-Pandemic via bike and 5% by e-bike, which trumps e-scooters (4%), carpooling (2%) and taxi (2%). But with 31% planning to travel to the office by car when it opens again, and 29% continuing to use public transport, it’s clear more can be done to increase Britain’s pedal power and, in turn, minimise pollution, improve wellness and health.

DASH Rides is an e-bike subscription service intent on dispelling the myth that alternative travel is prohibitively expensive or difficult to access – it costs just 88p per day (less than 40% of a single tube journey in Zone 1) for consumers to access one of its e-bikes and as little as nothing for employers.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.