Does a company parking lot really pay off? How much does it cost a company and what are the benefits? In this article, we explain the costs and benefits of a company-owned parking lot and show how parking management can even lead to more sustainable employee mobility behavior.
Impact on employee satisfaction
The most important question first: Is a company obliged to provide parking spaces? No! There are no legal regulations on this – employees have no right to a parking space on the company premises. With one exception: If a workplace is practically inaccessible by public transport, it is the employer’s duty of care to provide appropriate parking facilities.
In addition – and this should definitely be taken into consideration – the parking space definitely has an impact on employee satisfaction and employer branding. The opinion of employees should therefore always be taken into account before a company reduces parking spaces or takes other measures.
How important is the parking space really? Are there employees for whom the use of public transportation or participation in car sharing measures is difficult to implement (long-distance commuters, for example)? Or is the parking lot perhaps even pure convenience that few employees would really need? Depending on numerous factors, company parking can be a sensitive issue that should be handled with care. Clarify these aspects before you decide on any measures.
Here are a few examples:
Almost self-explanatory – urban companies with strong public transport connections are more likely to do without company parking than rural companies where accessibility by public transport is (almost) non-existent.
Effects on recruiting
Somewhat related to the first aspect is recruiting. Company parking offers employees a certain level of convenience, which may well have an impact on the decision between two largely equivalent employers. Especially for long-distance commuters, free parking is certainly an important argument.
Measures of the past
“This is the way we’ve always done it, this is the way we want it to stay.” None of us likes to admit to falling into this pattern of thinking – and yet we all do it sometimes when it comes to giving up our own comfort for a greater benefit. If the company has always offered free parking to all employees in the past, reducing the number of parking spaces or introducing parking fees will not only be met with sympathy. Moderation skills are useful here.
The works council has a say in any changes to the parking situation and should therefore definitely be involved in decisions.
Costs of company parking
Why should a company change anything at all about the parking situation if it is considered good by the employees? Well, on the one hand there are ecological reasons – we’ll come back to that a little later – but on the other hand there are also financial reasons.
The construction costs of parking spaces vary, of course, depending on the type. In an open area, you can expect to pay around € 5,000 per parking space. In a parking garage it’s around € 10,000 per parking space. Other sources even quote costs of € 13,600. Added on top are the running costs, which amount to € 300 to € 1,600. The extent of this only really becomes clear when these costs are calculated in consideration of 200 employees that a medium-sized company has to provide with parking spaces. In addition, of course, there are also a corresponding number of customer parking spaces and the entire infrastructure of the parking facility.
Reason enough to think about changing the parking situation.
Methods for dealing with the parking situation
So how to proceed with the company parking lots? There are different methods for this.
Business as usual! In your company, employee satisfaction is the top priority, and perhaps not much can really be changed due to geographic constraints. That’s okay for now – there are other ways to positively influence your employees’ mobility behavior. Believe it or not, the COVID crisis has laid a great foundation for that. Read more here.
Parking fees can be introduced either via a fixed monthly payment or via billing according to actual use. Parking fees can lead to a change in thinking – some employees discover the benefits of public transport as a result. The revenue can also reduce the high running costs of parking for the company. Paid parking can also be an incentive for employees – especially in the case of the monthly contribution, they could benefit from a fixed assigned parking space and thus save themselves the daily search. A positive side effect is that employees arrive at work less stressed.
In addition to long-distance commuters, who can be offered a free parking space as an employee benefit, a company can also think about various bonus systems. It would be possible, for example, to introduce a carsharing system in which participants collect bonus points for cheaper or, in the best case, even free parking. In this way, sustainable systems for changing mobility behavior are promoted.
Reduction of parking spaces
A detailed analysis of the employee situation and the feasibility of changing mobility behavior can lead to the possibility of significantly reducing parking spaces on company premises. The artificially worsened parking situation will make those employees in particular think about switching to public transport, for whom this is particularly easy.
The above methods assume a rather negative incentive as the reason for change. Instead, of course, there can also be a positive incentive at the beginning of the chain of measures – for example, via a reward system that naturally reduces the need for parking spaces, or a mobility bonus for employees who rely primarily on public transport. A reduction in parking spaces or a failure to expand despite a growing workforce then represents a downstream step in the chain of measures.
Positive changes in mobility behavior
We have already learned that parking is a significant cost factor. But it is also a status symbol – think of the coveted covered parking spaces directly at the company entrance – and not least a comfort zone. On the one hand, this can certainly be seen as positive; after all, employee satisfaction is significantly increased by a stress-free parking situation. At the same time, however, it also leads to a certain level of comfort within the team and, by extension, to negative effects on mobility behavior. If driving one’s own car is the path of least resistance, this is also chosen by most employees. Why resort to public transportation or carpooling when it is so easy to get to work in your own car?
Parking fees or other methods to reduce the use of parking spaces can bring about a positive change in the mobility behavior of employees. By combining this with other measures – for example, a reward system for climate-friendly mobility behavior or the construction of bicycle parking spaces or an e-mobility infrastructure – your company can save ongoing costs and make a valuable contribution to the environment.