Much ink has already been spilled about the corona crisis and its possible future consequences. Has our society changed forever? Is an unparalleled economic disaster heading our way? The answer to these questions remains uncertain. What is becoming clear is that companies that dare to question their current practices and move quickly are likely to come out stronger. One practice that does not escape this exercise today is the corporate mobility policy of many companies. Are we heading for a new 'mobility era'
Statistics do not lie!
As part of the Mo'vid-19 survey, Espaces-Mobilités questioned 3,200 Belgians about their attitudes to mobility before and after the crisis. 43% of the participants indicate that they intend to change their mobility habits after the crisis, especially in favour of soft mobility solutions such as bicycles, steps or walks. Among the soft mobility solutions, the bicycle is doing extremely well. That Belgians have lost their hearts to the two-wheeler is no surprise, but the fact that 34% of the Mo'vid-19 participants say they will use a bicycle or a scooter more often as a means of transport after the crisis can only be applauded.
This trend is only confirmed by the figures published by Cowboy and Billy Bike, among others, to the general public. Cowboy, a Brussels-based start-up that markets electric design bicycles, saw its sales increase by 230%. Billy Bike 's shared bikes have doubled the number of rides in recent months. Bike hire is also on the increase in the business world. For instance, mobility consultant Cycle Valley discovered a new business model for company bicycles 'thanks' to the corona crisis: short-term (per month) rentals.
The fact that the bicycle is on the rise has not escaped the notice of politicians. Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters has put together a toolbox on sustainable mobility as a result of the mobility findings in times of crisis. The aim is to encourage the Flemish to keep on cycling even after the corona-exit by investing a budget of 3 million euro in, among other things, bicycle streets, extra bicycle parking spaces and the widening of bicycle, pedestrian and zebra crossings so that people can stay at a distance of 1.5 metres from each other.
Work at home is appreciated!
The biggest impact on mobility was undeniably the obligation to work from home. Whereas before, working from home was not yet so well established in many companies and was rather avoided out of distrust for the (in)productivity of the employees, it eventually became the new mandatory rule.
On the employee side, the Mov'id-19 survey found that 42% of employees are enthusiastic about doing more telework in the future. Homeworking thus generated positive reactions and 79% of the participants even encourage the promotion and support of homeworking.
An important concession was also made on the employer's side: the tax authorities, by means of a covid ruling, allow a net allowance of EUR 126.94 to be paid per month to the employee who installs a home office in corona times. In addition to this amount, a net allowance of EUR 20 can be paid for the use of the employee's own Internet.
That homeworking is a keeper, Twitter has also understood. A fortnight ago, Twitter launched a revolutionary policy that allows employees to 'forever' work from home, if they wish!
Corporate mobility 2.0 - but how?
The monopoly of the company car as a corporate mobility solution is slowly having to make way for other forms of 'flexible mobility'. For employees, the company car is no longer the showpiece of their salary package. They prefer to spend this budget in complete freedom on other, more personalised mobility options.
Many employers also see the introduction of this 'mobility budget', i.e. the law allowing for tax-friendly exchange of the company car for sustainable mobility alternatives or cash, as an important asset to include as part of their employer branding.