Factor in employee commute time before making your office selection

January 22, 2019 / By  

In China, work commute has often been a less considered factor when choosing office locations. For our occupier clients, given the staff size and limited analytical tools, conducting a commute survey would take too long thus usually regarded unworthy. MapIT, our new online location intelligence platform can change the status quo. In light of the digital transformation, our China team is now capable of carrying out a commute impact analysis within days.

A commute impact analysis is a study that analyzes employee’s daily pattern and time spent going to work. As an office occupier, if you decide to renew, relocate or consolidate, a commute impact analysis can help you look beyond rents and identify the true cost of each option – talent. It also helps with change management, addressing the staff most impacted through measurements such as flexible working. Once you have factored in the commute impact on staff, it will assist you to make an insightful decision on whether to pay higher rents for a more centrally located space, or to go decentralized for cost saving.

The first step when conducting a commute impact analysis is to understand where your staff live. Nowadays, the human resources department often maintains a database of employee residential addresses. All we require is a list of anonymous addresses with street names or postal codes for privacy considerations. We can then use MapIT to summarize and visualize the concentration of area where employees reside. Using a Shanghai company’s data of employee residential addresses, we can see from the heat map below that the majority of employees live within the Inner Ring Road to the west of Huangpu River.

Source: JLL Research, China

The second step involves calculating the average time spent in traffic during rush hours from each employee’s home to office. Using Baidu Map Web API (application programming interface), we can extract navigation results for both driving and public transportation. Once the data is collected, not only can we identify the statistical distribution of each employee’s commute time, but also simulate the actual route everyone takes (see below).

Source: JLL Research, China

Based on road data, commute routes and real-time traffic, we can break down the potential impact of each potential site in Shanghai into an average commute time and the percentage of employee that can commute within 30 minutes. Along with other factors such as rent, building specification and business atmosphere, our tenant clients will be able to make decisions best suited for their preferences.

Employee commute impact analysis is one of the many new capabilities we utilize through location intelligence. Using MapIT, the amount of geospatial data we can quantify, analyze and visualize is limitless. This is just one of the many ways JLL is incorporating the concept of “Proptech” into every aspect of our businesses. So watch this space.

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