June 22, 2021
Getting Back on the Road
The pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions, have brought about permanent changes to our working ways. For some it’s been tough. For others, it’s provided a welcome break from a gruelling daily commute. But for most of us, it has brought a long-term opportunity to shake up the way we work.
The impact on our driving habits and our vehicles has been huge too. Many vehicles that were previously cruising the country five days a week have been safely stashed on streets or driveways: largely undriven, with their business mileage just a fraction of what it was pre-covid.
But with offices and workspaces set to return to a full reopening in July, what is the likely impact on company cars and their drivers?
Post-Covid Car Care
Firstly, cars that haven’t been used might be in need of some attention. Less mileage will mean less wear and tear but there are some essentials that need checking before hitting the road again.
As an employer, you have a duty of care for anyone driving on business - whether they are in company cars or using their own vehicles. If you work with a fleet management company, everything should be in hand – servicing and other routine maintenance is likely to have continued as usual (according to the manufacturer-recommended schedule) under your maintenance agreement or management policy. Nonetheless, it’s worth reminding all your employees of the need to carry out a few basic checks - tyre pressures, oil and brake fluid levels, particulate filters and batteries - before they pick up their old commuting lifestyle.
You can read more about recommended basic checks here.
Staying Mindful of Drivers
Employers should also remember that their duty of care extends beyond the fitness for purpose of their employees’ cars. Some drivers will be anxious about getting back behind the wheel – after all, driving in rush hour traffic with a fixed start time can be stressful at the best of times, and it’s been a while since we’ve had to deal with the daily dash to the office. Driving skills might be rusty and, additionally, anxieties about returning to face-to-face working might be heightened.
Work with HR colleagues if necessary and prioritise drivers most in need of additional support. Think about how best to help, and try to accommodate any special requirements - perhaps by introducing flexible start and finish times, or offering some refresher driver training.
“Effective fleet management isn’t just about having a great line up of vehicles,” says Simon Naylor, Director at Wessex Fleet, the fleet management and maintenance specialists.
“The vehicles, their safety, effectiveness and the image they portray are important factors, but not as important as the welfare of the people driving them. As we move (we hope) towards a post-pandemic world, it is more important than ever that employers and fleet managers consider every aspect of their duty of care. We estimate that average business milage is down by 25 per cent, perhaps more, so some drivers will undoutbedly need support as we return to normal. A professional, flexible fleet policy gives frontline teams the opportunity to focus on what they do best without transport issues, admin hassles and lost working hours.”
Read about our fleet management and rental services to learn how a fleet management specialist like Wessex Fleet could help your business safely mange vehicles and staff as they return to the office. Alternatively, you can call us on 01722 322888.