On Feb 25 2022 / by Wyoming Paul

Want to increase staff productivity? Start thinking about parking

Harmful workplace distractions come in all shapes and sizes

Your staff are one of your company’s biggest investments, so it’s important to increase staff productivity wherever possible. In the workplace, one of the biggest causes of lost productivity is constant distractions and interruptions. These distractions come in many forms, from background noise to constant emails to questions from colleagues. But for a number of centrally-located businesses, such as European Motor Distributors (EMD) and Dentsu Aegis, there’s another major cause of distraction: bad staff parking.

At these companies, some staff use scarce, time-restricted street parking, resulting in both anxious mornings and the need to check and move their cars a number of times each day. Not only does this mean fewer productive work hours each week - it also adds to the common stresses and errors associated with a distracting workplace.

Workplace distractions have a huge cost in lost productivity

Many companies only achieve 60% of their workforce’s potential productivity, in large part because of constant distractions to staff. Not only does this cost businesses millions in revenue, but it also negatively affects employees. Less productivity results in pressure to work faster and extend the workday, which leads to frustration, stress, and reduced engagement. In fact, a survey by Udemy finds that 34% of staff like their jobs less when in a distracting workplace.

"When workplace distractions are reduced, whether through training or policies, we found that 75% of employees are more productive, 57% have increased motivation, and 49% are overall happier at work."
- Darren Shimkus, General Manager for Udemy for Business

Not only are distractions bad for productivity levels and employee health - they’re also bad for the accuracy of work output. The increased pressure and stress caused by interruptions has been found to double error rates, and even reduces IQ scores. Since employees are interrupted on average every 11 minutes, and it takes nearly half an hour to refocus after being distracted, a workplace filled with distractions can affect a huge portion of each workday.

The distraction of scarce and time-restricted parking

While some forms of workplace distraction are common among office environments, companies located in the inner-city and city fringe often have an additional problem to contend with - parking. When staff need to park in scarce, time-restricted public car parks, a number of productivity problems can arise.

When staff need to use time-restricted street parking, they’re forced to move their cars multiple times each day. That means staff are worrying about parking tickets, breaking the flow of work, and wasting time on finding another parking spot.

At European Motor Distributors, staff were unhappy with the inconvenience of needing to use 120-minute parking, and management was concerned about the lost productivity that came with staff needing to move their cars up to four times every day.

If EMD staff didn’t want to use time-restricted parking, the only other option was to drive to work early and park a significant walking distance from the office. This extended the daily commute and the workday, taking time away from employees’ personal lives and creating resentment and reducing engagement.

“Staff faced the daily stress of either needing to arrive early to secure a good parking spot and then walking to the office, or parking in the time-restricted zones and moving their cars every couple of hours.”
- John Frear, Group Business Quality Development Manager

Check out the full EMD success story here.

Dentsu Aegis had similar problems. Staff without an allocated parking spot were left with scarce, time-restricted street parking, which was continuously brought up as a source of frustration among staff at their Diversity & Inclusion Council meetings.

Kimberly Kastelan, General Manager MKTG and Heading of Diversity & Inclusion, said that while the Dentsu Aegis team had “several inventive … creative and at times amusing” ways to keep an eye on the parking warden, the time it was taking to check on and move cars was impacting productivity.

For the full Dentsu Aegis story, click here.

Finding a solution to parking distractions

While these parking problems created distraction and productivity loss, neither EMD or Dentsu Aegis’s internal car park was being used as efficiently as it could be. When staff with allocated parking were away from the office, their bays sat empty, while their colleagues struggled to find parking.

Using Parkable, EMD and Dentsu Aegis staff can share their allocated park whenever they don’t need it, significantly increasing the utilisation of the on-site car park. At EMD, some of these on-site parking spots have also been turned into ‘carpooling only’ bays, incentivising staff to ride share and making even better use of limited parking space.

Staff at both companies now have the comfort of checking parking availability and booking a bay in advance, which removes a lot of stress and allows them to plan their days. Plus, employees feel that the businesses have listened to their concerns about commuting and parking, and gone to significant lengths to improve the options available.

Where to from here?

Increasing staff productivity and reducing distraction are important considerations for most businesses, and for some, improving the ease and availability of staff parking can have a significant impact. To find out more about how Parkable can make your workforce more productive, focused, and engaged, get in touch by filling out our form.