One thing I never realised when starting out in the parking industry was that I’d become a magnet for people’s parking problems. Friends, family, strangers everybody love to mouth off about their latest parking mishap. To be honest I love it because it shows me that we’re in a real sweetspot with Parkpnp and in many cases as people begin to use our product you can see a tangible impact and benefit to their lives.
One thing I have noticed again and again was that a massive amount of people’s biggest parking pain point seemed to revolve around work. Each story showed me a different aspect of how dysfunctional workplace parking cultures can be and proved to be the creative sparks for Parkpnp’s newest product ParkOffice, more on that later…
Here my favorite five stories so far and what I learned from them.
- Medium FMCG
Relocations can be tricky, one company who approached us had moved from a suburban industrial estate to a new state of the art complex in the city centre. Everything was perfect starting off as the company were the only tenants in the building. Everyone who wanted parking got a space. Even when the commercial units hit capacity there was still plenty of space.
However, as a mixed use development, once the apartments opened up the company ran into problems. All of a sudden their parking allowance was cut in a third. The company were aware of this when they moved in but staff had gotten used to having space and now it was being taken away from them. The companies HR ended up creating a complicated logging system where staff manually would inform a designated staff member of when they needed parking, leaving the poor HR member to try and juggle the spaces each day to ensure as many people were catered for as possible.
Key Takeout: Parking isn’t a constant for a lot of companies and as a result complex & costly manual processes have evolved to manage staff car parks. Automation can solve this.
- Large Manufacturing Facility
I was talking to senior management in a large manufacturing facility in the Dublin suburbs a couple of months back. Parking was a real issue for this company and they found that employee turnover was massive with one of the key complaints being the lack of parking facilities.
The company had 500+ staff and only 100 spaces as part of their lease. To try and manage, they started to spend large amounts of money on renting additional spaces from local businesses, community groups, churches etc.
However, although the employee turnover problems were reducing, this manager was really worried about the massive wastage in his company. They were now renting hundreds of spaces and there were large amounts of them empty at any time due to staff working remotely, being on holidays, being at meetings etc.
This was massive wastage for the company who were looking at ways of reducing their parking spend without reducing parking available to staff.
Key Takeout: Staff car parks are very costly and ineffective. Ultimately every empty space is costing companies money. Automation can solve this.
- Small Consulting Firm
A friend of mine runs a small boutique consultancy firm with 25 staff in the city centre. This company had 10 parking spaces in their building. The spaces were assigned based on seniority. This caused quite a lot of friction and tension as although there was a clear-cut senior management team of 6. There was another 8 middle managers who were squabbling over the remaining 4 spots.
The nature of their business meant that the senior management were often out of the office at meetings with clients or travelling for work. This meant the company often had empty spaces, meanwhile a number of staff were very unhappy with their perceived preferential treatment of colleagues on the same level as them.
Key Takeout: Transparency and maximising occupancy are two must-haves for any company who doesn’t want their staff car park to turn into a management nightmare. Automation can solve this.
- Medium FMCG
I met someone at a talk who works for 50 person company in the middle of town who specialise in distribution of food & drink. They have 20 spaces and 50 people.
Around a year ago HR introduced a new system to manage the parking spaces. Every day an email is sent around with a Google Spreadsheet. Staff fill in whether they want a space another. HR then adjudicates everyday and send an email to everyone to notify them of who will be getting a space.
While a massive improvement on their previous system, they find managing the system using a spreadsheet quite clunky and it lacks control. They’re have been numerous cases of people booking spaces and not driving in, while there have been some reports that people’s names have been deleted by other staff off the list in order to increase their chances of getting a space.
Key Takeout: Self-allocation of spaces can work with the correct control system and accountability. Automation can solve this.
- Large State Body
This is definitely my favorite, purely because I can’t believe companies still park like this. A cousin of mine is working for a large state body with an office in a prestigious city centre location. They have 250+ working in the building and wait until you hear how they decide who gets parking….
There is a waiting list. Which sounds ok, until you’re told that the next person to get a space has been on the waiting list since 2005! That’s a long long time to be waiting. Imagine if you started work tomorrow and were told you should have a parking space by 2033 if everything goes right.
Meanwhile members of staff with disabilities, recovering from operations, pressing family issues are left to fend for themselves.
Key Takeout: Linear allocation of parking based on seniority or length of service is one way of doing things but surely a more holistic approach looking at health, distance to travel, previous usage etc. can extract more value for companies from their parking and ensure those who need it most benefit. Automation can solve this.
Begin A New Parking Story For Your Company?
Based on these little nuggets and hundreds more of similar stories which I’ve heard over the last few years, the Parkpnp team have spent the last year developing ParkOffice, our new office parking management and automation tool. ParkOffice solves all the problems mentioned above:
- Eliminates ineffective administration associated with managing staff car parks.
- Maximises the value of each space by re-allocating spaces which are empty due to holidays, meeting etc. to staff looking for space. Saving companies thousands in the process.
- Introduces full transparency to your staff parking ensuring companies understand who is getting parking and why.
- Empowers employees to manage their parking while retaining control and oversight.
- Allows companies to easily assign spaces based on multiple factors including seniority, length of service, health, distance to travel etc.
The best bit about ParkOffice is that it does all these complex, time-intensive things in real-time, automatically. We’ve been quietly rolling it to a few companies and the feedback has been fantastic.