The Workforce is becoming Mobile but has our Transportation Options Kept up

by | Traveling

Any phone conversation with my 69 year old mother eventually turns into some talk about how work is going. I let her know that most of my day was spent in my home office, in which she immediately exclaimed “great! that means you can save on gas”.  Spedsta as a company is very prototypical (I think) of a new breed of company that is truly global and remote with travel being done to support customers and local teams. There is a rising trend of global workers that now commute only when necessary and in some cases travel for extended periods of time at global locations.  As an AirBnb founder said about the future, people will not travel for vacation they will just move from place to place.

So what is driving this mobile workforce that can now work from home? Economics partially drive this as gas prices have gone up. In multiple conversations in the last weeks (including with my mother) gas prices were cited as a big reason to not meet or to have a meeting virtually. The savings from parking your car in your garage and only using it when necessary are large. It is estimated that the cost of a vehicle is upwards of $9,000 per year to maintain and own. That is $50 per day!

Companies such as Cisco and Financial institutions also get savings by encouraging working from home by their ability to reduce their office real estate footprint and having dynamically assigned offices (ie..no one has their own office, but they are shared as people come into work) . From a transportation point of view, this means that parking needs to be carefully managed. Ie.. In a 1000 person office building that can actually support 2000 people because of working from home this can get messy and sometimes parking can run out.

The other large driver for working for home is that the internet and computing has driven communication costs to near zero.  This has affected the retail environment also, as more and more people shop online, there is a reduced need to actually go shopping at brick and mortar locations. Companies can now get funded from any geographic location through crowdfunding internet platforms which again means reducing the need to travel.

Also, as the workforce goes global, companies are struggling to resolve the need for transportation of those employees at those new locations. Purchasing a car or renting a car is a large cost to both the company and the worker.  In a recent conversation with India engineers traveling and working at Qualcomm headquarters, they are always looking for alternative ways to travel around as owning a car is not economically feasible given their short couple of months of stay.  In Fort Mcmuarray, Canada(which has the equivalent oil as Saudi Arabia locked in oil sands) most companies such as Shell, Chevron and others fly their employees into the city for certain periods of time and then fly them out.  These workers are struggling to determine how to get around in the city under these temporary conditions.

What all the above means is that the car is being less and less important as a way to get around because of the rising trend in working from home. Also as the workforce goes global, companies and people are struggling with this need for ad-hoc transportation when and how they need it.  There are many ways to solve this problem, but Ridesharing is definitely an option that can help.

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