Coronavirus | Store Operations

The office commute: Three considerations for retailers bringing people back to the office

July 2, 2020
The office commute: Three considerations for retailers bringing people back to the office

While stores have started re-opening across most retail sectors, the return to offices has been postponed by many companies. In addition to determining new office working models, physical layout changes, and health and safety measures, companies will need to consider how employees safely commute to work.

For companies where returning to offices will be voluntary, employees should be asked to consider if they have their own means of transportation (e.g., walking, driving). For all companies considering a return to offices, staggering start / end times for employees or offering alternative hours can limit commute and lobby traffic peaks.

We suggest retailers consider policies that reduce risks to employees when coming to and from the office:

  1. Individual commute: Promote and enable options that allow for individual commutes, such as
    • Subsidized biking (e.g., bike share and storage)
    • Subsidized on-site parking
    • Expanded eligibility for company car leases

  2. Employer-sponsored transit: Implement safety measures for office shuttle buses
    • Frequent sanitization
    • Distancing requirements (e.g., one person per row)
    • Requiring wearing of masks
    • Implementing 24-hour advance booking and screening questionnaire
    • Increasing frequency to offset reduced capacity

  3. Public transit: For employees that have no alternative or choose to take public transit:
    • Encourage mask wearing and social distancing
    • Provide hand sanitizer
    • Support more flexible hours to avoid peak hours
    • Consider adjusting responsibilities to allow remote working

For details on practices leading global companies are pursuing as they start re-opening offices, and many other topics, please download the 2nd Edition Road to Retail Recovery Playbook, the essential recovery planning guide developed by Retail Council of Canada in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group.

We’ve also created a section dedicated specifically to HQ & Office reopening so you can more easily share this information with your teams.  

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