Travel chaos costs 2 million working-hours a week

2004

Travel disruption costs organisations in the UK more than 2 million working-hours per week, according to research into congestion charging from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Eight out of ten managers have missed vital meetings and nearly a fifth also claim to have lost business opportunities because of transport disruption.

The CMI found that while almost half of respondents working across the UK travel ten miles or less to work each day, it takes the majority of managers more than half an hour to do this journey. As many as a third report being affected by travel disruption more than once a week.

Transport problems are far from being confined to London and the South East. Just under one-third of respondents in Scotland have missed connections such as flights because of transport delays and a fifth respondents in the North-East said they had missed training and development courses. In the North-West, almost one in four managers said that they faced delays more than once a week (the same as London) and a quarter echoed this view in East Anglia.

The impact of these delays is being keenly felt in the workplace with a fifth of managers reporting a decline in their productivity and more than a third admitting to increased levels of irritability at work.

Unsurprisingly, such widespread disruption has an adverse impact on work-life balance. Almost half of those surveyed said that travelling difficulties affect family commitments such as reading bedtime stories to children and one in four managers say that social engagements have been spoilt.

For those working in London, the Congestion Charge does not appear to have alleviated the problems of commuting. Despite six out of ten reporting no change in the ease of their commute, almost half had the perception that traffic flow had decreased within Central London.

Yet perhaps reflecting the need to search for a solution, a quarter of those questioned outside London believe that Congestion Charging should be introduced. The figures were highest amongst those living in the Midlands and Scotland, where more than four out of ten expressed a desire to follow London’s example.

Petra Cook of the Chartered Management Institute suggested that employers might consider allowing staff to work from home or adjust their hours where practical.

"The introduction of flexible working patterns will certainly go a long way towards creating more mobile managers, and should both boost morale and increase productivity in the workplace,” she said.