Business mobility management is highly effective health management
// by Matthias Rensing
HR Consulting, People & Culture
The choice of means of transport has a huge impact on health
Employees who ride a bicycle to work all year long take – on average – 36 % fewer sick days than colleagues who take this ride with the car. That is the result of a new study by EcoLibro GmbH in which approx. 2,200 employees from all over Germany were interviewed. At the same time, these employees were 10 % more satisfied, as determined by a WHO catalogue of questions.
Based on the information regarding sports activities, it was furthermore found that the impact of sports on the number of missed days of work was significantly lower than the type and method of how the interviewee got to work. There was virtually no connection between health and the frequency of sports activities. Just as other sports scientists such as Prof. Froböse have already found, too, the body needs regular and moderate exercise: heading to the office by bicycle or walking, it receives exactly that, 10 times per week, heading there in the morning and heading back in the evening.
What does this mean for the company?
There is hardly any method that is more efficient than business mobility management for promoting the health and well-being of the employees. As such, this instrument receives a completely new importance. Business mobility management represents the conscious design of the framework conditions of any mobility of the employees, customers, and suppliers that is triggered by the business. Through the integrated design of the fleet, business trips, and the mobility of employees on the daily trip between home and work, the following objective is pursued: to make mobility more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more socially responsible, more attractive, and – of course – also healthier.
But how can this be achieved if a lot employees live too far away to cover the distance walking or by bicycle? And what are employees to do who regularly go on business trips and while doing so depend on a car, train or airplane? And even those who live close enough to the company and would be able to get to work through their own locomotion quite often prefer the car due to convenience, out of habit, or for other reasons. In particular those who – due to their importance to the company – have received a company car for both business and personal use are those who switch the least often on their regular paths to an active, read health-promoting means of transportation.
Integration of business mobility management into day-to-day business
Business mobility management features a good many registers. The trick is to utilise the right ones and combine them such that a system is created in which the employees are motivated to be more sustainably mobile in the sense of economical, ecological, and health aspects. Based on a detailed analysis of both the trips necessitated by business as well as the daily trips between home and work, at first a sensible mix of modes of transportations must be worked out for the employees, completely independent of the mobility behaviour currently displayed. Driven by the question which objective advantages and disadvantages the different modes of transportation and combinations thereof are offering on concrete paths. Processes must be designed and – where applicable – supported by modern software, that simplify the planning and booking of a sustainable mobility mix for employees and which, at the same time, steer them into the desired direction. And ultimately, incentives must be designed that increase the motivation to utilise a sustainable mix of the different modes of transportation.
In case of those entitled to a company car, the mobility budget constitutes an important component
A company car generates costs for the company; depending on the size and intensity of utilisation, more than EUR 10,000 per year can accumulate when all operating costs are included. In addition, there are the costs for business trips with other modes of transportation, where applicable. What happens if, instead of being provided with a company car, the employee is provided with a budget from which he has to cover his business and personal trips at his own discretion, and from which the savings earned due to changed behaviour are paid out to him as a bonus? Will he then automatically buy the same (over-)sized company car, or will he instead choose a smaller vehicle, drive in a more fuel-saving fashion, and will he more consciously utilise the more economical mode of transportation with respect to the occasion in order to be able to enjoy the bonus?
Experience from personal life but also from initial business examples, in which this approach already is being applied, shows that a large share of employees are changing their behaviour very quickly as soon as the monetary advantages and disadvantages have an impact on their own purse. In addition to the monetary effects that significantly reduce the otherwise quite heavy-weighing status symbol, the company car, individual needs gain completely different importance; something that a run-of-the-mill car policy hardly can address.
Taking total costs into consideration in order to develop the full impact of the mobility budget
Some have already been practicing similar constructs for a long time, but in all cases known to the author they were only modelled after the leasing rate and/or at best after the theoretical total costs based on a calculatory useful life. However, the full impact of a mobility budget can only unfold once, additionally, the costs that can be influenced by the utilisation and mobility behaviour are also taken into consideration. How much does a style of driving that is looking ahead and resource-saving lower the costs of fuel and damages? How much is being saved through a cost-conscious selection of mode of transportation or through better planning of schedules and tours?
On the day-to-day trip to work, but also on the last mile between the destination‘s train station and the destination of the trip, it then happens more often than not that the car or taxi is being skipped, not only to the advantage of one‘s own budget, but primarily also to the advantage of one‘s own health.
In order for the monetary incentive of the mobility budget to not – in large parts – melt away due to taxes and social benefit contributions, as is the case with a simple salary increase, this must be designed optimally in terms of taxes. In case of a smart design, a taxation in accordance with § 37b German Income Tax Law (Einkommensteuergesetz – EStG) as payment in kind takes place at a flat rate of 30 %.
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