This is where we work!
What if you could use commuting time as working time? That would be the perfect solution for 23% of our colleagues who spend more than an hour a day getting to and from work. That’s why we are now running a 2-year project with an office bus.
Commuting time becomes working time
We developed the ‘Office on Wheels’ pilot project together with the Flanders Institute for Mobility (VIM) and the Flemish Professional Bus and Coach Operators Association (BAAV). ‘The goal is to do something about the time you lose when you're travelling,’ says Michiel Binnard, employee mobility expert. ‘You get onto the bus in the morning and start working. When you arrive at the office, you just carry on. This is how we transform commuting time into paid working time. The project is also a perfect fit with our sustainability policy. Fewer cars on the road means lower emissions and fewer traffic jams. The office bus is a new option for our employees to take the step towards collective transport.’
During the first 6 months, the Colruyt Group employees who took part saved 32.2 tonnes of CO2. During the test, the bus had an average occupancy rate of over 80%. According to a survey of participants, 96% would like to carry on using the bus after the test period. So the office bus seems to be a very interesting solution for commuter traffic.
From Ghent to Halle. And back.
In the test phase, Colruyt Group chose a route prone to traffic jams that many employees take daily. The bus runs at a fixed time from the Park&Ride in Gentbrugge to a number of stops at several offices in Halle. ‘There are only 28 seats, so you definitely have to book your seat on the bus. As a one-off, or on fixed days,’ explains Michiel. ‘The hours you work on the bus count as working hours, so you start work when the journey begins.’
All the facilities of an office
The office bus is a mobile shared office with everything on it. At the back, there’s a coffee machine and cloakroom. The seats are in pairs or fours with spacious tables. You connect your laptop to one of the many sockets provided. You can log into the work servers via WiFi or read documents in the Cloud. So you can carry out all your usual administrative work easily on the bus. Michiel continues, ‘We’re going to adapt the systems even better for permanent use on the bus. By doing so, we can assess the effects of longer-term use and holiday use more effectively.’
‘This pilot project is the cherry on the cake of a whole thought process,’ concludes Michiel. ‘After two years, it must be clear in all respects whether the office bus is feasible for Colruyt Group. And if so, how we can implement and expand it further. Internally, we’re also looking for ways we can use the office bus during the day. We’re thinking of tours or mobile job interviews for example. Other ideas are very welcome.’
And if it doesn't work? ‘We want to know that too. We want to invite as many employees as possible to test the bus and give us their feedback. And if the definitive office bus doesn’t make it, maybe there will be other initiatives.’
VIDEO: Office on wheels
The office bus, which started out as a six-month pilot project, has now been tested for 2 years. The first users share their impressions.
With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.