Having worked with 100s of different companies across the world, I’ve yet to meet a company with more than 10 employees who doesn’t have a problem managing staff parking. Don’t worry, you are not alone. The problems tend to manifest in two key ways:
i) Problem 1: Too Many Staff
This will be a problem familiar to many HR & Facilities professionals. You have more staff than spaces and it causes chaos. Companies tend to operate this environment in one of two ways:
- First Come, First Served: a real case of the early bird catches the worm. On the face of it, this might seem like a great way to incentivise people to get to work early. However, let’s say we have a recent graduate in there early 20s who lives 25 minute walk from the office who drives for pure convenience. It’s much easier for them to get to work in time for a spot than the senior manager who needs lives in the suburbs and needs to drop his kids to work before embarking on their one hour commute. Is it good business to have key members of staff looking elsewhere simply because their parking needs aren’t being met?
- Designated Spaces: by far the most popular choice in locations where parking is at premium. This model sees set spaces assigned to staff members based on factors such as seniority, length of service or unfortunately in many cases their levels of friendship with the key decision maker. This might seem like a fair solution when implemented correctly? However, the real issue here is the wastage. I’ve had countless clients contact me asking to help them source additional parking spaces near their office, upon visiting their site you would notice large amounts of empty spaces. This is the big issue with this model. Designated space-holders travel for work, often a lot. They take holidays. They are sick. They are out of the office at meetings. All the while their parking space lies empty while other staff members may be paying $100s extra each month for space in the vicinity. This can lead to animosity amongst staff who can’t understand why they can’t use spaces which seem to empty all the time. While as outlined in this blog post actually costs your company a lot more than you’d think.
No matter which model a company operates you can be sure that parking will become a hot potato of office parking which constant complaints due to lack of available space and commute times.
More progressive companies often try to introduce demand based parking management processes. However, this tend to be managed manually through mediums like WhatsApp, Slack & Excel. I’ve seen many examples of companies who started out with processes like this only to realise 18 months later that administering the process had morphed into something approaching a full-time job.
The great news is that AI is being applied to solve this problem once and for all. Products like ParkOffice allow for automated allocation of parking spaces based on the criteria your company requires. This means that you guarantee your key staff space and automatically distribute these spaces if the space isn’t being used. Technology has a key role to play in taking the toxicity out of employee parking.
ii) Problem 2: Too Many Spaces
Just yesterday I had a call with a leading company. They have 450 employees and just 50 spots but it works out perfectly because they have 50 spots. They are worried if they were to automate parking space allocation and allowed unused spaces to be distributed to staff in need that it might create tension among entry and mid-level employees. This seems like a fair analysis.
However, a quick survey of their car park at any given time would show the company that on average 20%-30% of their directors are out of the office at any given time. They could easily shaved $30,000 a year of their office rental by reducing the number of space they rent by 10. Simply all they need to do is make sure that the spaces are being allocated efficiently.
Even if you need 50 parking six times a year for your director meetings, you can be guaranteed a few people will be missing and you can always expense people to park in local parking garages and still save a fortune in the long run.
This is where products like ParkOffice come into their own. Not only does ParkOffice allow companies to park staff in unused space. It allows companies to automate the management of their occupancy to reduce their overheads.
I’ve seen companies who are overspending $100,000s on real estate simply because they aren’t optimising the management of their staff parking using technology.
If nobody has ever knocked on your door with a parking problem, you probably have too many parking spaces and are overspending.
As urban space becomes more valuable, a massive education job is needed to show company that hoarding parking spaces is really damaging to communities. The spaces could become recreational facilities, housing, community centres or a host of other things which would benefit the local community.