The Driven Blog
In this section we bring you the latest articles and updates from Driven Worldwide.
We regularly hear the phrase ‘back to normal’, when referring to a post-Covid life, but what does ‘normal’ or ‘new normal’ look like with regards to working from home and the office?
The COVID pandemic has forced a substantial number of companies, across many sectors to help set up remote working facilities for their staff.
Many of these businesses may have previously resisted the temptation to offer this opportunity to staff, whilst many businesses operate in sectors where remote working has an impact on how their company can operate. It is safe to say that the transition to working from home, has had to be very quick.
Whilst the short-term working solution has been dealt with, what next? Will everyone simply return to the office as usual, on a Monday to Friday, when safe to do so? Will the morning and after work commutes be as stressful and busy as before?
It seems that the working from home debate has forced most businesses to review their internal processes and plans for how they will manage this matter, long term.
Companies such as Goldman Sachs have already made it clear that working home, does not work for their company ‘culture’, whilst JP Morgan and HSBC have a slightly different view on this and will offer staff the opportunities to work from home full time and also the option of a ‘Hybrid’ working pattern - flexible working between home and the office.
From a member of staff’s perspective, the working from home experience has been equally split.
Those with ample working space at home will have found the transition much easier than those working from bedrooms, living rooms and kitchen tables. Add in the stresses of childcare and home schooling and there is definitely a section of the working population who will feel they will benefit and enjoy going back to the office again. There have also been numerous reports of staff having to work longer hours because they are at home and near to their laptops and PC’s. The return to the office offers the feeling of a more structured working week.
There will also be a large section who have enjoyed the opportunity to strike up a better work/life balance and to remove the stresses and strains of their daily commute. Both have a major impact on your mental and physical well-being. More time may have been spent with families and friends, which they may not have had previously.
Its difficult to make an argument for one particular solution, which will suit every company and their staff.
It will be crucial for companies to engage with their staff and form a plan that suits their own business. As long as the company performance, service delivery and internal staff targets are being met, does it really matter if some staff are in the office or at home?
However, many internal ideas and issues have been raised and dealt with in the office, when making a cup of tea or bumping into a colleague during the day. That is clearly much harder to do when working from home.
The ‘new normal’ may be embracing flexibility and working together in finding new, productive ways of working, which can improve both work and personal lives.
If all businesses, regardless of their working from home plans, continue to support their staff as they have, it will be a massive step in bouncing back from some of the toughest months, many businesses have ever encountered.
As we approach the 21st of June – and the final stage of the UK Government’s roadmap out of lockdown – we turn our attention to the question of just how long the Covid measures of ‘hands, face and space’ will remain in place.
We must approach this question from two aspects – cultural and company. As a leading provider of chauffeur services in the UK, the safety of our staff, clients and affiliate network is paramount and answering this question – though difficult – is extremely important to us.
Like most individuals and businesses, we have kept up to date with the latest scientific advice on minimising the spread of Coronavirus. Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, recently commented that Covid measures of social distancing and wearing a mask in public spaces may continue “...for a few years, at least until other parts of the world are as well vaccinated as we are...”.
Maintaining basic measures seems a very sensible approach as, even with vaccination programs rolling out across the world, Coronavirus is something that we will have to live with for some time. Wearing a mask when commuting or shopping, and socially distancing is currently part of our day-to-day lives and continuing to employ these measures is not a hardship however, will the nation continue to comply?
Since the 29th of March, when lockdown began to ease in the UK, we will have all seen masks being worn on chins and, in some cases, foreheads so is it realistic to expect these measures to be adhered to for several years?
In 2020, University College London (UCL) surveyed 21,000 adults in the UK to gauge the population’s compliance level and found that, once lockdown began to ease, so did the nations observance of Covid measures. We have also run several polls recently via our social media channels and found that the participants feel that the current measures will not last much longer. Using this data, we can conservatively predict that the same effect will happen this time, albeit slightly quicker as we now have a vaccination rollout.
Regardless of whether the UK population continues to socially distance or wear a mask in a closed environment, as a business, we will continue to adhere to our Covid measures in minimising the spread through:
- Full sanitisation of vehicles before each service, including all door handles and interiors. This is in addition to our standard valet service between services which includes hoovering
- Hand sanitizers and antibacterial/alcohol wipes being available in all vehicles
- Drivers washing their hands thoroughly before and after each service
- Minimising body contact such as shaking hands
- Drivers being masked throughout the journey. We also request that all passengers also wear masks – if they do not, our drivers can refuse to transfer the passenger
- Regular testing of the driver’s temperature prior to all services
For now, we can all enjoy the lifting of restrictions in a safe and responsible manner and look forward to a time when things are truly normal again.
Technology is helping refine certain key aspects of business travel, but ultimately, people are the driving force behind its development and progress.
With the growth of smart technology, the business travel experience is becoming increasingly personalised, and this in turn raises travellers’ expectations of what to expect.
At Driven Worldwide, we have long recognised the importance of technology in how we run our executive and chauffeur driven car services.
The Challenge of Business Travel
Covering what are often long distances, sometimes across different global timelines, is inherently demanding of the business traveller.
Traditionally, the personal and office-based administrative burden has been high. Business travel can involve multiple bookings and transport modes, each with their own reservation requirements.
At the same time, the individual travelling may well be on a business-critical mission that requires them to be performing at their best when they reach their destination.
Consequently, any administrative hiccups while travelling will be a distraction, and may end up actively detracting from this performance.
One critical issue is the last mile and local knowledge, when the traveller has reached their destination but needs to get a transfer from the airport to the hotel, or the venue where they are expected.
The Principle of Personalisation
Personalisation through smart technology is raising user expectations.
For instance, when someone searches online for a restaurant, the results will reflect things like the date, time of day, their location but also their online history as a consumer.
Like consumers, business travellers routinely generate large amounts of data, which will allow smart technology to provide them with greater flexibility when booking itineraries.
It will streamline processes such as checking in to flights and hotels, and help streamline the entire travel and accommodation process.
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more widely-used, it will enable more automation that is very much focused on the individual on a human, personal level.
We are well aware how technology underpins the traveller experience, which is why we have developed a bespoke reservations platform, PalmTree, to track complex journeys and ensure seamless itineraries.
Also, we have our ChauffeurCall technology to ensure consistent, reliable contact between the passenger and chauffeur.
ChauffeurCall represents a significant advance from relying on standard mobile numbers. By allocating a unique, unchanging local number to a travelling client, we can ensure their communication is clear and that their journey schedule is always on track.
People Come First
There is one important thread running through the technology designed to improve the business traveller’s experience: people.
Providing a person-focused service with people at its heart is what makes the technology effective.
Ultimately, tech is not a substitute for excellent customer service. Rather, it is an enhancement to it.
That is why we rely on the sheer professionalism of our dedicated force of drivers. They have the extensive knowledge and experience to ensure our business clients will make their journeys in comfort, with the reassurance that they are in a safe pair of hands.
For more information, please complete our online contact form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.