Author Topic: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?  (Read 2314 times)

Mr Larrington

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Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #25 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.

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Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #26 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.
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that's not science, it's semantics.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #27 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.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #28 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.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #29 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.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #30 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.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #31 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.
Never tell me the odds.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #32 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.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #33 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.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #34 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.
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #35 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.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #36 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.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #37 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.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #38 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"
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #39 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?
If you don’t make time for exercise now, sooner or later you’ll need to make time for ill health.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #40 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.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #41 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #42 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.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #43 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.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #44 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...

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #45 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.....

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #46 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
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #47 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.
It is what it is. It's not what it's not, so it must be what it is.

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #48 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.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: Office relocation with fewer public transport options - suggestions?
« Reply #49 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!
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)