In some cases, encouraging an employee to take the train instead of a company car to a meeting can reap financial rewards as well as save wasted hours of staff time, it claims. But it takes the expertise of the fleet manager to work out when such travel is worthy of consideration and cost-effective for the business.
The main benefit of train use over car use would be in the ability to work while on the move.
In some cases, the report suggests, the productivity allowed by train use could cancel out the cost of the ticket with employers potentially missing out on £144 on every journey if employees take the car.
This new research adds weight to previous predictions that fleet managers will take on a bigger role in the future as business mobility planners, working out the best travel arrangements for staff.
Commissioned by Virgin Trains and published by Napier University’s Transport Research Institute, the study aims to show that British companies are wasting millions of hours of staff time because employees use a car rather than a train on business trips.
Virgin Trains’ chief executive Tony Collins said: ‘Businesses who choose the car as the sole mode of transport could cost themselves a fortune in lost productivity.
‘We’re not saying ‘never use the car’, but we are urging businesses to think about it based on a better understanding of all the costs to their business – in terms of both immediate expenses and lost employee productivity.’
Mike Petrook, spokesman for the Chartered Management Institute, said expert travel planning by the fleet manager, including the encouragement of working from home or taking the train, can also reduce stress and boost morale. He added: ‘The introduction of flexible working patterns will certainly go a long way towards creating more mobile staff, and should both boost morale and increase productivity in the workplace.’