Rising fuel prices, leaves on the line, crowded carriages and traffic jams – just a few of the things which can make the commute into work every day a complete nightmare. That’s even forgetting the added complications of flooding and the way the road network grinds to a halt when it snows. Most of us see a lengthy journey into work as a necessary evil and it’s hard to see any way of making the commute easier or cheaper. But there are some things which can be considered to make life better.
Working at Home
Not all employers are happy with the idea of staff working at home instead of in the office, so whether or not this will be appropriate will depend very much on what market sector your employer operates in. If you are primarily dealing with customers on the phone or by email and can just as easily work from the spare room or dining table as you can from the office, then there is no harm in asking your employer whether you can work at home for part of the week. Being at home will save you in terms of both time and money.
If working at home isn’t an option, perhaps your employer would consider flexible working. Many employers are happy to allow employees to work their 37.5 hours a week over 4 days rather than 5, or to arrive early and leave early to beat the traffic. If you are thinking about approaching your employer about working flexibly, make sure you gather all the evidence to support your claim that you will be able to work as efficiently and get the work done in exactly the same way.
If you have a regular commute by train into work, it is far cheaper to buy a season ticket than it is to pay the standard fare each day. Finding the money for a six month or year-long ticket is the main obstacle to doing this and many employers offer unsecured loans to help their staff meet the cost. Even if your employer does not offer this scheme, it can be worth approaching another lender for an unsecured loan as even with interest payments taken into account, you are still quid’s in.
One great way of cutting the cost of getting to work as well as lessening your carbon footprint is to share a lift with someone else travelling the same route. Many companies help put employees in touch with each other, and there are also several independent websites which will help arrange lifts too. The arrangements are generally left up to the individuals concerned, but a common arrangement is to pay the driver a set amount per mile, or to take it in turns to drive. Some forward thinking companies will even give drivers who car share a preferential parking space or other perks.
Again it’s not for everyone, but if your commute into work is relatively short, going by bike could save you a fortune, be just as quick and could also help keep you fit too. Many employers are encouraging their employees to get on their bikes by offering cheap finance or unsecured loans to buy a bike, and by providing facilities such as lockers and showers on site. Buying a new bike doesn’t have to mean a huge investment, but when taking out an unsecured loan ensure that you factor in other expenses such as lights, a helmet and reflective clothing too. Given the levels of traffic on many city roads, cyclists often find that their commute is far quicker than colleagues who drive too.
Katie Latchford is a freelance writer who is constantly researching the latest financial advances in areas such as unsecured loans, credit cards, family finance and consumer rights. For more information, follow her on Google plus.