Almost every day, we see, hear and experience these—red lights, long queues, running people, vehicles emitting smoke, the incessant honking of horns and a sudden break. And it’s not just found on the roads but all over the news and in our news feeds as well. It’s the issue of heavy traffic once again. Arriving at our destination, we often feel stressed, tired and drained. But life must still go on. The same familiar sights and sounds greet us on our way home, a phenomenon that has been a part of our everyday lives.
To date, various government agencies and authorities have already proposed and promised solutions (in terms of new policies, infrastructures and collaborations). But as we patiently wait and positively place our hope into them, I wonder if our companies should also develop solutions, or to at least alleviate its effects, not just for the community, but more so for their people who experience these difficulties every day. Should companies consider their people’s transportation/commute journey part of their overall job/work experience (that companies seek to improve), since this affects their mood, energy, and capacity throughout the day?
We can view this issue through the lens of humanistic management, a unique management perspective that focuses on people’s dignity and overall well-being, as what we are taught in the MBA program of De La Salle University. Companies and their leaders should, indeed, consider taking part in solving the horrific transportation/traffic problem that we are all experiencing or should at least help in minimizing its negative impact on their employees. But how?
I think one of the ways of helping employees is through the redesign of work systems. Technology allows the company to do this through telecommuting (ability to work from home). This can increase employees’ morale and productivity not only because this gives them the chance to be spared from the stress that a difficult commute brings but also because it gives them discretion and flexibility in fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. But to be comfortable and open with this kind of set-up, a culture of TRUST must be present. Since we selected the best people for our organization through the help of the recruitment and staffing processes, we must be confident and able to trust them to design a job arrangement that suits their conditions. This will hopefully translate into better work performance, increased job satisfaction, employee growth and increased retention, things that almost all companies would want to have and achieve. Moreover, telecommuting can result to a decrease in the volume of vehicles and passengers using our already congested roads and public transportation facilities.
The horrific traffic and the painful commute can be seen from a different standpoint, which allows for a shift in perspectives. Looking at things from a different light has the potential of unlocking many new opportunities, and could bring positive results and advantages to companies, the people and society in general. Perhaps, one day, we’ll be able to say that traffic isn’t all that bad after all.
Jan Paolo Manalo Lipat is a Master of Business Administration student at De La Salle University (DLSU) and currently works as a financial markets research analyst at an international financial technology and analytics company. He welcomes comments at [email protected] The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.