Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => On The Road => Topic started by: DuncanM on January 23, 2020, 04:32:25 pm

Title: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 23, 2020, 04:32:25 pm
My office is moving from Milton Park in Didcot (very good public transport links including a subsidised bus from Didcot Parkway) to Abingdon (no train station, bus services from Didcot take ages, rubbish traffic from all directions). Sadly, much of the discussion in the staff meeting was about car parking spaces...

I'm pestering those in charge of the move about secure bike parking because I want to return to bike commuting from September (no longer needed to act as child taxi service :) ), but what else should I be pushing for to help my colleagues/office use sustainable transport?
We currently do the cycle to work scheme through Evans, though I don't know anyone who has used it!
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: PaulF on January 23, 2020, 04:40:31 pm
I’d be asking for showers, changing rooms, drying racks and lockers to store your belongings if you’re going to be cycling.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: bludger on January 23, 2020, 04:43:09 pm
I would personally get in touch with Cycling UK or British Cycling. See e.g. the number at the end https://www.cyclinguk.org/cyclefriendlyemployer . Ask if they can arrange for some kind of consultation with your organisation's leadership, with reference to this kind of affair. They might be able to persuade your org's leadership that there is commercial value in their proposals with reference to case studies. Ideally an in-person meeting but a conference call could also be better than nothing. A bunch of 'actionable minutes' would hopefully come out of this that the top brass would be under more pressure to implement. If you can, get as many bike users in the office together to submit this request jointly. Don't get bogged down in it yourself, it's too big a process.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 23, 2020, 04:43:32 pm
My office is moving from Milton Park in Didcot (very good public transport links including a subsidised bus from Didcot Parkway) to Abingdon (no train station, bus services from Didcot take ages, rubbish traffic from all directions). Sadly, much of the discussion in the staff meeting was about car parking spaces...

I'm pestering those in charge of the move about secure bike parking because I want to return to bike commuting from September (no longer needed to act as child taxi service :) ), but what else should I be pushing for to help my colleagues/office use sustainable transport?
We currently do the cycle to work scheme through Evans, though I don't know anyone who has used it!

Gold standard to me is:

- Indoor bike parking - Access controlled for employees only (guests with escort), CCTV monitoring, Sheffield stands, power sockets to recharge ebikes/lights etc...
- Drying room - Somewhere you can hang your wet clothes, plus a warm radiator to dry gloves etc...
- Shower - For when the ride is longer, or the weather warmer
- Space for 1 bike per employee at least.
- Track pump - Stored in the bike room, so you can top your tyres up if needed.

The worst of all solutions is when you get wheel bender racks, round the back by the bins where noone can see them, space for 1 bike per 50 employees, and no radiators anywhere in the building...

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 23, 2020, 05:00:45 pm
There is not going to be indoor bike parking - we're renting space in a shared building.  According to the website for the new park, the site apparently has showers and lockers and a towel service (!?), though it's not clear where these facilities are.
I sent them the Cambridge Cycle Campaign guidance on bike parking, so hopefully that will mean that any facilities they do provide will be vaguely useful, but I'll have a look at the cycle friendly employer stuff - that's exactly what I was after, thanks. :)
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 23, 2020, 05:22:54 pm
There is not going to be indoor bike parking - we're renting space in a shared building. 

Which idiot chose the building then?

In a shared building they could have a room for every one to use...

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on January 23, 2020, 05:36:06 pm
In a shared building they could have a room for every one to use...

Or the landlord could rent that room out for more income.

A friend moved to work for a cycle training company, he would like to but chooses not to cycle commute as there's no secure cycle storage at the office. (This is a mostly administrative office, the cycle trainers themselves aren't based there.) Same deal, rented space in a shared building. The company tried to get the landlord to do something but they aren't interested, and moving offices is prohibitively expensive.

We're mostly ok here. Indoor-ish bike parking but still not entirely secure. Plenty of showers and lockers. No dedicated drying room or radiator but stuff left in the locker room tends to dry by the end of the day. Mixture of Sheffield stands and wheel benders (but people are generally careful).

Track pump lasted a few weeks before it broke. Replacement disappeared within a few more weeks (some people have had their cheap clip on lights stolen in the past).

- Space for 1 bike per employee at least.

Ha! Hahaha! ~1000 employees and ~50 spaces but it's only peak summer where there might be a need for 2 or 3 more spaces.

For me the order of things would be:-
* Showers (really am not interested in wet wipes or trying to ride so slowly I don't sweat)
* Lockers (I don't want to have to carry everything with me, and partly because I run commute once a week and it's nice to just run with a tiny rucksack and have everything waiting for me at work)
* Space (I don't want a daily fight for somewhere to lock it up)
* Security (with poor security or outdoor racks I'd use a cheaper/cheap hackbike but I'd still cycle)
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: JonBuoy on January 23, 2020, 05:42:55 pm
We had an announcement a couple of weeks ago that our office is moving 12 miles to somewhere without a station, with poor bus options, with thoroughly unpleasant/dangerous direct routes for cycling etc.  Apparently it is OK though because the big boss drives past the new site every day on his way to the current site  ::-)

Discussions on the move have just started and the answer to the question 'Are there cycle racks, are they secure and covered?' was 'Being looked at'.  This doesn't exactly fill me with confidence.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Jaded on January 23, 2020, 05:56:36 pm
There should be a tax on businesses for Private Staff Commuting Mileage. Something like that might get businesses to look at relocating in a different way.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 23, 2020, 06:21:36 pm
There should be a tax on businesses for Private Staff Commuting Mileage. Something like that might get businesses to look at relocating in a different way.

In .NL it is normal for employers to pay for your commute. This is at a flat rate of €0.19 per km if private vehicle, or the actual cost if public transport. 

Private vehicle includes car, bike, scooter etc... Carrot can work just as well as stick.

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: rogerzilla on January 23, 2020, 06:53:46 pm
DuncanM, where are you commuting from?  And how much of a walk is it from Radley station to the office?
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 24, 2020, 09:10:55 am
DuncanM, where are you commuting from?  And how much of a walk is it from Radley station to the office?
I commute from Barton (east edge of Oxford), by car for now, bike from September. The new office is between the police station and the Tesco at the A34 junction, so at least 4 miles from Radley. Driving the best way is via the A34 (ick), but cycling it's ~9 miles and the roads (via Radley) aren't horrible.
The people worst affected are those who live in Didcot or who come from the south by train to Didcot Parkway. Sucky traffic and slow busses means that it will add ~40 minutes each way for them.
I'm just taking this as an opportunity to fight for cycle provision - there is bound to be money for outfitting the office, so if I can persuade them to spend a tiny fraction of that on bike facilities it will be a huge win. Once we've moved in then it will be too late!
There is not going to be indoor bike parking - we're renting space in a shared building. 
Which idiot chose the building then?
In a shared building they could have a room for every one to use...
We're moving to save money - where we are is apparently much more expensive than the new place. A lot of our business is selling consultancy time meaning lots of people have to visit client sites all over the country - cars are an assumption and long commutes are relatively common. We'll have around 70 desks - if there's 10 bike spaces that will probably be sufficient.
According to a news piece I found on the web, the most recent people to move there are paying £17 per square foot (per month I assume). 1 bike space is what 6ft x 2 ft? That's > £200 per month per bike - car parking spaces are cheaper than that!
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 24, 2020, 11:12:18 am
We're moving to save money - where we are is apparently much more expensive than the new place. A lot of our business is selling consultancy time meaning lots of people have to visit client sites all over the country - cars are an assumption and long commutes are relatively common. We'll have around 70 desks - if there's 10 bike spaces that will probably be sufficient.
According to a news piece I found on the web, the most recent people to move there are paying £17 per square foot (per month I assume). 1 bike space is what 6ft x 2 ft? That's > £200 per month per bike - car parking spaces are cheaper than that!

Stick an ISO container in a parking space...

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 24, 2020, 12:24:17 pm

Stick an ISO container in a parking space...

That's not a  bad idea. I had been thinking more along these lines:
https://www.direct2u.co.uk/cycle-shelters/fortis-cycle-shelter-with-cycle-rack.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAyKrxBRDHARIsAKCzn8yhLBb3xsHCLazFSd-p4NWL65s0TZEqVz75xSiadpKbH9h4pDWDfmgaAsyzEALw_wcB

Fundamentally, if it's too much hassle or expense, the move organiser is just going to write me off as trouble and do nothing. I suspect using their precious parking spaces for a container or a shelter is not an option, but I might have an explore on my bike on the weekend and see if there's a suitable alternative location.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: telstarbox on January 24, 2020, 01:46:23 pm


Fundamentally, if it's too much hassle or expense, the move organiser is just going to write me off as trouble and do nothing.

I would take that as a cue to start organising your own 'move'  :demon:
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 24, 2020, 03:18:41 pm

Stick an ISO container in a parking space...

That's not a  bad idea. I had been thinking more along these lines:
https://www.direct2u.co.uk/cycle-shelters/fortis-cycle-shelter-with-cycle-rack.html

Fundamentally, if it's too much hassle or expense, the move organiser is just going to write me off as trouble and do nothing. I suspect using their precious parking spaces for a container or a shelter is not an option, but I might have an explore on my bike on the weekend and see if there's a suitable alternative location.

That is a crap design. Sure it has Sheffield stands rather than wheel benders, and it will keep some of the weather out when the wind is in the right direction, but it doesn't provide enough security.

Proper work bike parking facilities need to be designed to be secure enough for someone to lock their work handbag with laptop and phone in it, unattended all day. If it doesn't pass that test, then it is not secure enough for work bike storage.

If your employer isn't going to actively try to get it's employees out of cars and onto better forms of transport, then IMHO, you're best off considering if there are employers with better attitudes.

The cost of recruiting an employee for any skilled profession is in the 10's of thousands, companies should be taking more care to make sure they retain their employees, whilst helping them to travel in ways that are more environmentally friendly and better for the health of the employees.

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Jaded on January 24, 2020, 03:40:11 pm
There should be a tax on businesses for Private Staff Commuting Mileage. Something like that might get businesses to look at relocating in a different way.

In .NL it is normal for employers to pay for your commute. This is at a flat rate of €0.19 per km if private vehicle, or the actual cost if public transport. 

Private vehicle includes car, bike, scooter etc... Carrot can work just as well as stick.

J

That sounds remarkably sensible.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Phil W on January 24, 2020, 03:43:31 pm
Make sure the bike racks are the Sheffield type, covered and next to the entrance.  I got ours moved from the other side of a car park to right next to the doors to the office. Plus we got nice new glass ones.

I had great success talking with HR and facilities when there was a proposal to convert a set of showers to an extra meeting room. Pointing out that it would cause x number of cyclists to drive instead and put pressure on already overflowing car parks.

Also ask about cycle and pedestrian access to the site and what is being provisioned.

Mind in this day and age most companies should have a sustainability and climate champion.

Do you know if there are any other cyclists in the company? I set up a bicycle user group,(BUG) when I wanted to get things improved.  We included facilities and a HR representative in monthly meetings.

Plus the space for car parking isn’t free. How much is your company paying for that?
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 24, 2020, 07:43:31 pm
Proper work bike parking facilities need to be designed to be secure enough for someone to lock their work handbag with laptop and phone in it, unattended all day. If it doesn't pass that test, then it is not secure enough for work bike storage.
In that case, I have never worked at, interviewed at (or maybe even seen) a workplace with suitable work bike storage. The current office park certainly doesn't meet your criteria.

I believe that 2 employees currently cycle regularly (though one may not be after moving because of the increased distance), and a couple intermittently. More people probably care about ensuring the pool table comes with us than we have bike storage. I'm gonna have an explore tomorrow morning (assuming security don't arrest me!) and see what's there. Once I know that then at least I know what I can chase...
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 24, 2020, 08:09:47 pm
In that case, I have never worked at, interviewed at (or maybe even seen) a workplace with suitable work bike storage. The current office park certainly doesn't meet your criteria.

Very very very few companies have proper bike facilities IMHO. Surprisingly the Netherlands is very bad at this.

Quote
I believe that 2 employees currently cycle regularly (though one may not be after moving because of the increased distance), and a couple intermittently. More people probably care about ensuring the pool table comes with us than we have bike storage. I'm gonna have an explore tomorrow morning (assuming security don't arrest me!) and see what's there. Once I know that then at least I know what I can chase...

Give every employee an ebike!

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 24, 2020, 08:30:42 pm
Give every employee an ebike!
;D
I suspect that might be something that the current cycling employees might pursue. You can get eBikes on the cycle to work scheme. I'd like us to have an office ebike that can be borrowed for testing how you could use it, but again, that's probably beyond what is possible in the current climate.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 24, 2020, 08:32:01 pm
Give every employee an ebike!
I suspect that might be something that the current cycling employees might pursue. You can get eBikes on the cycle to work scheme. I'd like us to have an office ebike that can be borrowed for testing how you could use it, but again, that's probably beyond what is possible.

Dutch government has a scheme where you can lease an e-bike for €7 per month...

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Kim on January 24, 2020, 08:50:09 pm
In that case, I have never worked at, interviewed at (or maybe even seen) a workplace with suitable work bike storage. The current office park certainly doesn't meet your criteria.

Very very very few companies have proper bike facilities IMHO. Surprisingly the Netherlands is very bad at this.

Ah yes, the *other* reason for owning a Brompton...
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: perpetual dan on January 24, 2020, 09:02:17 pm
You may find allies in the lunchtime runners. They also appreciate a shower and somewhere to store kit and let stuff dry.
Less so bike storage, but shared office buildings for 100s of people often have something already. They can please several people for relatively little space in a corner that can't realistically fit a car or desk.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: ian on January 24, 2020, 09:30:25 pm
I had lunch with Finestre, the Demon of Such Things, today and I asked her about this. She suggested burning down the proposed office. You don't get a corner office and the best house in Dress Down Friday without thinking outside the box.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Mr Larrington on January 25, 2020, 12:10:07 pm
I had lunch with Finestre, the Demon of Such Things, today and I asked her about this. She suggested burning down the proposed office. You don't get a corner office and the best house in Dress Down Friday without thinking outside the box.

This Unit hereby endorses this product, service or sentiment.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Pickled Onion on January 25, 2020, 12:42:57 pm
Plus the space for car parking isn’t free. How much is your company paying for that?

A few years ago the company I worked at had to buy overflow (car) parking at over £1000/year per spot. And yet all they provided for cyclists was a length of chain bolted to the front of the building to lock to.

I work in London now. The last three companies I have worked at have had secure indoor cycle parking, showers, free towels as a minimum. It seems to be a planning requirement to have provision for cyclists in new buildings/renovations. If not a requirement they certainly give extra "points" for it. It pays off: the provision at my current place is approx 10% and is full most times of the year. They have another 10% as Brompton parking that they've not opened yet. My department has gone from three people cycling to twenty (50%) since we moved to the new building. This is London where car provision is zero. I really can't understand companies outside London paying huge amounts for car parks and not seeing the benefits (both cash and employee happiness) in providing decent cycle facilities.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on January 25, 2020, 01:06:12 pm
I really can't understand companies outside London paying huge amounts for car parks and not seeing the benefits (both cash and employee happiness) in providing decent cycle facilities.

It's not just outside London. Our office of ~1000 people has an agreement with the building next door (that has an underground car park) and the first 30 or so cars from our company get one of the spots the company pays for. 8 hours is £16 usually in that car park, 12 hours is £24.

£20 a day * 240 days/year = £4800 / space per year

For the 30 spaces that's £144k/year.

I'm sure the company gets a good discount on it (since the car park gets most use in the evenings), but that's still a frightening amount of money to be spending on free parking for a small number of employees.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 25, 2020, 03:18:51 pm
I drove around the building today. 10 uncovered wheelbenders near one of the entrances, 4 near another.
There are covered bike stores with the angled bike stands near the industrial units, but I would guess we wouldn't be able to use them. I don't know where the showers and lockers are - it's possible that there are bike storage facilities near them, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'm going to keep pushing - I don't fancy locking my nice bike up there...

I suspect that car spaces are viewed as a cost of doing business. Of the people in that building, I would guess that everyone except the receptionist and a couple of recent joiners has visited a customer site in the last 6 months. The assumption is that you will drive - when you join you need to give them your registration to use a parking space, and you have to demonstrate that you have insurance for business travel.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: PhilB on January 25, 2020, 03:59:46 pm

Stick an ISO container in a parking space...

That's not a  bad idea. I had been thinking more along these lines:
https://www.direct2u.co.uk/cycle-shelters/fortis-cycle-shelter-with-cycle-rack.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAyKrxBRDHARIsAKCzn8yhLBb3xsHCLazFSd-p4NWL65s0TZEqVz75xSiadpKbH9h4pDWDfmgaAsyzEALw_wcB

Fundamentally, if it's too much hassle or expense, the move organiser is just going to write me off as trouble and do nothing. I suspect using their precious parking spaces for a container or a shelter is not an option, but I might have an explore on my bike on the weekend and see if there's a suitable alternative location.

I think you're right that tackling it now and that negotiation is likely to get you further than making full on demands. In an ideal world companies would providing facilities for cyclists a priority, but that's not the reality we're living in.

When I'm working I can quietly and discretely bring my bike into the building and keep it in our store room (it helps that I work the Night shift). Attending meetings and training courses can be a different matter, they can be on any of our many sites and I've yet to meet anyone else who cycles to them. Course joining instructions always include parking and public transport information, then a standard line about the Bike to Work scheme, but nothing about where bikes can be parked. Sometimes I've been able to bring my bike into the building, other times not.

For one particular training venue, where I had to lock my bike to a post outside, I used the feedback form to comment on lack of provision for bikes. The training departments response was to update the info sheet to categorically state there was no bike parking available on the site. This is rather ironic given that:
a) The site has such limited parking that the Trust rents extra spaces in a nearby sports facility.
b) I've since found a courtyard behind the building where I can lock my bike up undercover, have it in view from the classroom, and get straight to it via the fire exit at the end of the day.

I did think of going back to the Training Dept with point b, then thought better of it as they would probably come up with a reason for me not leaving my bike there.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on January 26, 2020, 12:46:30 pm
Give every employee an ebike!
I suspect that might be something that the current cycling employees might pursue. You can get eBikes on the cycle to work scheme. I'd like us to have an office ebike that can be borrowed for testing how you could use it, but again, that's probably beyond what is possible.

Dutch government has a scheme where you can lease an e-bike for €7 per month...

J
Some UK local authorities have a similar scheme.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: rogerzilla on January 26, 2020, 05:00:48 pm
Our facilities are fairly dismal - leaky bike shed with mostly wheel-bender racks, overcrowded changing room of mediocre cleanliness shared with the gym bunnies and no real drying facilities - there is a cold room with a couple of racks and even that is under threat as the gym wants it for (ironically) bike spinning classes.

Bike facilities take space and cost money, and cyclists are seen as a bit weird.  Unless you have a cycling chief exec, it's hard to get what you want.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Phil W on January 26, 2020, 05:27:53 pm
I suspect that car spaces are viewed as a cost of doing business. Of the people in that building, I would guess that everyone except the receptionist and a couple of recent joiners has visited a customer site in the last 6 months. The assumption is that you will drive - when you join you need to give them your registration to use a parking space, and you have to demonstrate that you have insurance for business travel.

It’d be interesting to see a study looking at how much of the work force is visiting customer sites at any one time. Lease pool cars and take away the car parking places. Probably be a significant saving with some effort into intelligent scheduling of customer visits. Of course your company isn’t interested in that, despite the likely savings.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Phil W on January 26, 2020, 05:30:48 pm

Bike facilities take space and cost money, and cyclists are seen as a bit weird.  Unless you have a cycling chief exec, it's hard to get what you want.

Yes bike facilities cost peanuts and would cost less than a couple of parking spaces. Strange rationale from what are otherwise intelligent people.

My old work place had people driving two miles to the office. There was an analysis of postcode and typical mode of transport as part of a green survey. Bloody ridiculous no wonder the traffic on the roads is abysmal and pollution getting worse and worse with trips like that.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Phil W on January 26, 2020, 05:44:44 pm
Plus if the parking spaces are concrete there’s a lot of CO2 emissions going on there about 150kg of CO2 per tonne.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on January 26, 2020, 07:45:59 pm
Bike facilities take space and cost money, and cyclists are seen as a bit weird.  Unless you have a cycling chief exec, it's hard to get what you want.

And it can go the other way too.

We used to have an onsite gym that cost £1 a month (originally it was 5p per week) as part of a general work "club" membership that also gave access to discounted theatre tickets and such like. The gym was just a bunch of equipment (2 running machines, 2 bikes, rowing machine, stepper, weights bench, etc) in a windowless airless room on the basement level. All of the equipment was rented so the company was subsidising the gym quite considerably.

Then there was a change in the UK country manager and the gym was gone and the room repurposed as an office (for ~8 people), despite there not being a shortage of desks in other parts of the building (which has desks for ~1000).

The UK country manager probably thought that people should just pay ~£40 a month to join a local gym and get access to similar facilities as, to him, £40 a month was seemingly nothing.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 26, 2020, 08:15:27 pm
It’d be interesting to see a study looking at how much of the work force is visiting customer sites at any one time. Lease pool cars and take away the car parking places. Probably be a significant saving with some effort into intelligent scheduling of customer visits. Of course your company isn’t interested in that, despite the likely savings.
Often, people work from home when not on site. Leasing pool cars assumes that people come to the office to go to the customer site - many might spend days on-site and almost no time in the office. I don't know where everyone lives, but I do know that we have people who live in S Wales, Cambridgeshire, London, Yorkshire and points in between.

A study, or at least a questionnaire about how people travel to work, how long it took before, and how long it would take after would be a worthwhile exercise. Given that they basically just announced we were moving and anyone or whom it is a major issue should contact them, I doubt that improving the sustainability of transport has even crossed their minds.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: grams on January 26, 2020, 09:10:32 pm
There’s a study somewhere that found 100% of office moves are to make the boss’s journey shorter and nothing else comes above that.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 26, 2020, 09:14:29 pm
There’s a study somewhere that found 100% of office moves are to make the boss’s journey shorter and nothing else comes above that.

"People don't leave bad companies, they leave bad managers"
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Phil W on January 26, 2020, 09:36:10 pm
It’d be interesting to see a study looking at how much of the work force is visiting customer sites at any one time. Lease pool cars and take away the car parking places. Probably be a significant saving with some effort into intelligent scheduling of customer visits. Of course your company isn’t interested in that, despite the likely savings.
Often, people work from home when not on site. Leasing pool cars assumes that people come to the office to go to the customer site - many might spend days on-site and almost no time in the office. I don't know where everyone lives, but I do know that we have people who live in S Wales, Cambridgeshire, London, Yorkshire and points in between.

A study, or at least a questionnaire about how people travel to work, how long it took before, and how long it would take after would be a worthwhile exercise. Given that they basically just announced we were moving and anyone or whom it is a major issue should contact them, I doubt that improving the sustainability of transport has even crossed their minds.

So how many parking spaces needed as a percentage of workers?  Maybe 10% with the remaining 90% being bike parking?
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 26, 2020, 11:11:18 pm
It’d be interesting to see a study looking at how much of the work force is visiting customer sites at any one time. Lease pool cars and take away the car parking places. Probably be a significant saving with some effort into intelligent scheduling of customer visits. Of course your company isn’t interested in that, despite the likely savings.
Often, people work from home when not on site. Leasing pool cars assumes that people come to the office to go to the customer site - many might spend days on-site and almost no time in the office. I don't know where everyone lives, but I do know that we have people who live in S Wales, Cambridgeshire, London, Yorkshire and points in between.

A study, or at least a questionnaire about how people travel to work, how long it took before, and how long it would take after would be a worthwhile exercise. Given that they basically just announced we were moving and anyone or whom it is a major issue should contact them, I doubt that improving the sustainability of transport has even crossed their minds.

So how many parking spaces needed as a percentage of workers?  Maybe 10% with the remaining 90% being bike parking?
Eh?
The number of people who live within 5 miles is probably <20%. Given they are moving the office away from public transport links, and that the workforce are distributed over the country because of the pattern of work, I don't understand how you think 90% of the company can cycle. People I know commute regularly from Milton Keynes, Marlow, Newport, Basingstoke, Bracknell, Reading, Carterton, and further afield, as well as from Oxford and Didcot. We're moving over 40 minutes away from the nearest train station, so this move will encourage car use.
I suspect they will tailor the number of car parking spaces to the expected occupancy, and let busy days be dealt with by the overflow car park. This is now massively off-topic - I was looking for suggestions about what I can realistically achieve for people who want to cycle as someone with no power but a vested interest.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 26, 2020, 11:12:22 pm
Eh?
The number of people who live within 5 miles is probably <20%. Given they are moving the office away from public transport links, and that the workforce are distributed over the country because of the pattern of work, I don't understand how you think 90% of the company can cycle. People I know commute regularly from Milton Keynes, Marlow, Newport, Basingstoke, Bracknell, Reading, Carterton, and further afield, as well as from Oxford and Didcot. We're moving over 40 minutes away from the nearest train station, so this move will encourage car use.
I suspect they will tailor the number of car parking spaces to the expected occupancy, and let busy days be dealt with by the overflow car park. This is now massively off-topic - I was looking for suggestions about what I can realistically achieve for people who want to cycle as someone with no power but a vested interest.

What does the company do?

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 27, 2020, 11:04:41 am
What does the company do?
Sells, configures, and modifies software solutions (and some hardware) to retailers in the UK and overseas.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Giropaul on January 27, 2020, 09:54:05 pm
Maybe straying from the initial question - I feel that we need to change the paradigm of how and where many people work. Obviously, not everyone can work remotely, but very many can. Why can’t the work go to the people rather than vice versa? Does everyone have to be seated in a company office every day?
I know someone who works on IT based tasks for railways in the South East - with him sitting in rural Staffordshire.
Working smarter is greener, and can remove the stress of daily travel. Obviously, some team face to face is good, as are strategies to ensure good mental health of home, or local hub, workers.
On a macro scale, companies need to be sited where the people are, and housing built where the jobs are. I despair seeing the stream of traffic, 20 or more miles  into desk- based jobs in city centres every day, and the reverse every evening.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 28, 2020, 09:01:23 am
I agree that so many people could work from home. Many people in my office do, especially on Friday, and if it works for them and for the company then that's great. Some of those who commute the longest distances mix a few days in the office and others at home.
Personally, I hate it. It blurs the line between work and home, but it also means that I just don't see other humans (except my wife and daughter) for days on end. Slack and calls are all very well, but...
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Peat on January 28, 2020, 11:19:47 am

Then there was a change in the UK country manager and the gym was gone and the room repurposed as an office (for ~8 people), despite there not being a shortage of desks in other parts of the building (which has desks for ~1000).

My girlfiend was lured back to a previous employer, partly by the money and partly because it would mean she could cycle to work again and not be at the mercy of the A34 everyday.  They had a 'dead' end of the office which was a bit of a dumping ground, where she could leave her bike and a disabled toilet/shower to use upon arrival.

It turns out, in the years she was gone, they got rid of the shower and turned the area into a meeting room - which seem to only get used by people taking personal phonecalls. Much miffed was she.  Even more so when she tried to use the covered bike racks outside and was told in no uncertain terms that they belong to the neighbouring company and if she parked her bike there, it would be removed. The bike rack remains empty.....
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 28, 2020, 11:23:54 am
Maybe straying from the initial question - I feel that we need to change the paradigm of how and where many people work. Obviously, not everyone can work remotely, but very many can. Why can’t the work go to the people rather than vice versa? Does everyone have to be seated in a company office every day?
I know someone who works on IT based tasks for railways in the South East - with him sitting in rural Staffordshire.
Working smarter is greener, and can remove the stress of daily travel. Obviously, some team face to face is good, as are strategies to ensure good mental health of home, or local hub, workers.
On a macro scale, companies need to be sited where the people are, and housing built where the jobs are. I despair seeing the stream of traffic, 20 or more miles  into desk- based jobs in city centres every day, and the reverse every evening.

I'm reminded of a comment at a tech conference I was at a couple of years ago:

"We've taken a job that can be done from anywhere in the world, and concentrated it in a 10 square mile area. In an earth quake zone"

Describing silicon valley.

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Ben T on January 28, 2020, 11:32:35 am
I agree that so many people could work from home. Many people in my office do, especially on Friday, and if it works for them and for the company then that's great. Some of those who commute the longest distances mix a few days in the office and others at home.
Personally, I hate it. It blurs the line between work and home, but it also means that I just don't see other humans (except my wife and daughter) for days on end. Slack and calls are all very well, but...

Personally, what I do is, a) having a dedicated area of the house to work in - an office within the home, if you like (I often shut the door so I'm not distracted) - not just a laptop on your knee on the sofa, and b) a (at least one) hobby that I can get out in the evening and do, to exercise and socialise. When you work in an office the thing you are looking forward to at the end of the day is going home. When you work at home, in my opinion you need something you can look forward to at the end of the day, even if it's just a bike ride to a cafe (or pub) or a swim, to break up the time between working and watching telly.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on January 28, 2020, 11:59:16 am
I agree that so many people could work from home. Many people in my office do, especially on Friday, and if it works for them and for the company then that's great. Some of those who commute the longest distances mix a few days in the office and others at home.
Personally, I hate it. It blurs the line between work and home, but it also means that I just don't see other humans (except my wife and daughter) for days on end. Slack and calls are all very well, but...

Personally, what I do is, a) having a dedicated area of the house to work in - an office within the home, if you like (I often shut the door so I'm not distracted) - not just a laptop on your knee on the sofa, and b) a (at least one) hobby that I can get out in the evening and do, to exercise and socialise. When you work in an office the thing you are looking forward to at the end of the day is going home. When you work at home, in my opinion you need something you can look forward to at the end of the day, even if it's just a bike ride to a cafe (or pub) or a swim, to break up the time between working and watching telly.

I have a separate room for work at home but my work laptop is also the computer I use for general Internet browsing, email/etc, so the separation is not quite as distinct as I'd like it. I'm planning on moving all personal things off my work laptop and leaving it purely for work so I can switch over to a personal laptop/computer once I'm done working for the day, but that's still in progress at the moment.

It's no surprise that the vast majority of distributed teams are significantly less effective and/or productive than in office teams. It's much easier for people to hide when most people are WFH. I'd prefer to work in the office every day but being able to WFH two days a week (and having official hours of 7am-2.50pm on those days) is very useful for childcare arrangements. It doesn't make a huge different to my team as none of them are based in that office anyway, so I may as well be remote.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: rafletcher on January 28, 2020, 12:33:07 pm
Even more so when she tried to use the covered bike racks outside and was told in no uncertain terms that they belong to the neighbouring company and if she parked her bike there, it would be removed. The bike rack remains empty.....

Sounds like a good opportunity for honing ones negotiating skills!
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Ben T on January 28, 2020, 12:42:51 pm
It's no surprise that the vast majority of distributed teams are significantly less effective and/or productive than in office teams. It's much easier for people to hide when most people are WFH.

What you say is only the case if people want to hide. If they actually want to get a job done and are 'engaged' with the business then they can be more productive WFH.

I appreciate that it's harder for some businesses to get people engaged, though, because the bigger they are, the more processes they have to have and the more reasons there are for people not to be engaged. Shouldn't be impossible though.

It really boils down to does the business trust its staff.
The last company I worked at sort of allowed working from home, but begrudged it: if you asked 'can I work from home tomorrow', the response would be 'well, I'd rather you didn't'... but if you just took the liberty anyway, they wouldn't complain, as long as you showed having done some work.
They didn't really trust the staff, and they definitely saw it as a "treat", as in, they used offering it as a carrot to dangle, or withdrawing it as a stick to beat with, as appropriate. I think from this perspective the business needs a very fair policy as well, i.e., either everybody's allowed to work from home whenever they want, or no-one is. If some are allowed and some aren't, then there's bound to be resentment.
They were the sort of company that has to employ managers to make sure people are doing their job, because they don't provide them with sufficient reason to want to do it of their own accord. Like I say - this is harder the bigger the business imho, but by no means impossible.

In contrast my current company is fully bought into working from home, it trusts its staff, and essentially relies on us being engaged, but is small enough to know that they are. It measures productivity by what we deliver and communicate, rather than how many hours they can physically see us in front of a computer... (I specifically went for it for that reason).

Personally, I resent presenteeism and am (was) willing to go to a lot of effort to avoid having to spend upwards of an hour or two hours travelling back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, forth and back.... same old route, same old traffic, day after day.


(In terms of laptops the one work got me turned out to be exactly the same model as my existing home one, just slightly higher spec... so conveniently fits into the existing docking station :) )
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on January 28, 2020, 01:36:23 pm
I hate the driving back and forth bit. But my daughter goes to secondary school in September, so I'm gonna have the opportunity to ride. :) Hence why I started this thread (self interest > benevolence ;) ).

We have an office at home, but my wife uses it to run her charity, so it's not helpful for me to work in even if she's not there.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on January 28, 2020, 01:50:19 pm
Highlighting the disparity between money spent on motorists (cost of car parking space for a year) to the relatively minor requirements for cyclists (secure parking, showers, lockers) is one route.

There's also the classic alternative:-
* Monday morning drive to work with bike in the boot of the car
* Monday evening, cycle home leaving car at work
* Tuesday-Thursday: cycle in in the morning, lock bike in car during day, move car to different parking spot to make it less obvious, cycle home in the evening
* Friday, cycle in, lock bike in car, drive home at end of day

(Works if you've got a big enough car that you don't have to disassemble the bike each time, and a car that you don't mind leaving at work all week, and that you can leave it at work all week).

A friend did something similar by leaving work by car every evening but parking up in residential areas near the office so he didn't leave the car in the office car park all week.

Suggest that it would be much cheaper for the company to provide secure parking for a bunch of bikes so that you didn't have to use a parking spot to do the above all week.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on January 28, 2020, 01:57:18 pm
Highlighting the disparity between money spent on motorists (cost of car parking space for a year) to the relatively minor requirements for cyclists (secure parking, showers, lockers) is one route.

There's also the classic alternative:-
* Monday morning drive to work with bike in the boot of the car
* Monday evening, cycle home leaving car at work
* Tuesday-Thursday: cycle in in the morning, lock bike in car during day, move car to different parking spot to make it less obvious, cycle home in the evening
* Friday, cycle in, lock bike in car, drive home at end of day

(Works if you've got a big enough car that you don't have to disassemble the bike each time, and a car that you don't mind leaving at work all week, and that you can leave it at work all week).

A friend did something similar by leaving work by car every evening but parking up in residential areas near the office so he didn't leave the car in the office car park all week.

Suggest that it would be much cheaper for the company to provide secure parking for a bunch of bikes so that you didn't have to use a parking spot to do the above all week.

Reminds me of my plan for velomobile storage at home by buying a van and parking it outside my flat...

We really are fucked up when car parking is provided, but cycle parking isn't...

J
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: DuncanM on February 24, 2020, 02:52:48 pm
Success of sorts.  :thumbsup:
We're now moving to a different building (in the same business park), with a reasonable bike shelter (proper Sheffield stands, steel roof, back, sides), nice showers in the building, and they will be including a drying area into the office floorplan design. Is there anything else I should push for before the facts on the ground mitigate against it?

I may attempt to create a BUG in the office when I actually start riding. The current business park offers free breakfasts to cyclists once a month, so that will be my first aim. :)
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: orienteer on February 24, 2020, 05:47:56 pm
Sounds like a win to me. :thumbsup:

Push for a free breakfast for cyclists every day, that should get the numbers up  ;D
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: Greenbank on February 24, 2020, 07:26:00 pm
Push for a free breakfast for cyclists every day, that should get the numbers up  ;D

Depends on the breakfast.

A few of us at our placed joked that giving out free full-english style breakfasts every day (and no healthy alternative) would be a much cheaper way of sorting out any looming pension crisis[1].

1. We don't have a looming pension crisis as all but the really old-timers were moved off to DC style pensions years ago. There can't be many defined-benefit/final-salary type pensions left.
Title: Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
Post by: quixoticgeek on February 27, 2020, 02:24:03 am
Success of sorts.  :thumbsup:
We're now moving to a different building (in the same business park), with a reasonable bike shelter (proper Sheffield stands, steel roof, back, sides), nice showers in the building, and they will be including a drying area into the office floorplan design. Is there anything else I should push for before the facts on the ground mitigate against it?

I may attempt to create a BUG in the office when I actually start riding. The current business park offers free breakfasts to cyclists once a month, so that will be my first aim. :)

Security cameras covering the bike shed.

It's not perfect, but it's closer to ideal than you previously described. I wouldn't lock my bike up there, but I'm sure most people would.

Well done on your success!

J