Many offices are not immune to parking woes, and poorly-managed parking can make good employees quit or influence qualified candidates to go with a different opportunity. The manner in which people park, who parks where, the flow of traffic to and from the parking garage or lot — they all contribute to employee morale and even fuels the occasional office squabble. Not to mention, parking often influences a visitor or potential new employee’s first impression — and offices clearly want these visitors to leave with a positive one!
No matter how little time parking takes out of an employee’s day, parking handled in the wrong way can actually be damaging to morale. One of those “wrong ways” is reserved parking, which has been given the boot in recent years because it can have damaging effects on office morale. What can an effective manager do to make sure that the parking garage has a positive impact on employees?
The demise of reserved parking
An older generation of employees may remember the days of parking spots located close to the front door that were reserved for executives and the employee of the month. Those days of parking as a reward are fading fast.
The hierarchal structure of reserved parking took a hit as offices began to shift away from rigid executive-employee management structure in exchange for a more collaborative approach in the workplace. Today, aside from any reserved parking required by law, spots are typically reserved only for pregnant women and electric cars that need to recharge.
Reserved parking is widely considered a “yesteryear” workplace perk. This policy has more obnoxious side effects than benefits, particularly how it enables the office hierarchy that so many offices are trying to dismantle. Aside from how disrespectful some employees consider reserved parking to be, enforcing these policies is time-consuming and expensive. Reserved spots need to be actively managed every day, including towing when necessary. That’s now considered a waste of productive hours that could have been spent doing something way more important than caring about where someone parked their car.
Now that it’s clear that reserved parking isn’t a motivator, nor is it a necessary parking management tool, the question of how to properly manage these open spots remains. Which parking management solutions are best for the 21st-century workplace?
Parking management solutions in a workplace with no reserved parking
Finding the right parking management formula takes a workplace’s culture and habits into account. The standard 9-to-5 office may have a different approach than one that’s open from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m., for example.
Despite the variances from office to office, there are some basic “musts” that management should consider when reexamining parking management policies. First and foremost, eliminate reserved parking if it’s still in play. There are few, if any, benefits to maintaining — much less implementing — reserved parking perks and policies. Eliminating reserved spots not only frees up the space for anyone to park, but helps dissipate those resentment-building practices that can strain a healthy work environment.
Next is to find a way to help place employees in open spots even without a “reserved parking” structure in place. While it sounds as easy and parking and going inside, garage navigation can get complicated: drivers tend to bunch around entry points and on lower floors, crowding out new arrivals and ignoring the ample space on upper levels. Installing a level guidance system provides the driver with real-time information so he or she can easily find a spot. This keeps traffic moving, decreases bunching around the entrance and lower levels, and reduces the stress associated with circling for parking. Level guidance systems can be further refined with a space guidance system, which directs the driver straight to the open spot on each parking garage level.
As attitudes toward employee morale, employee benefits and workplace hierarchy change, managing the office’s parking garage or lot changes with it. As an small but very influential part of the working experience, parking can make or break an employee’s day. The improved parking management experience can help ease the stress of the commute, relieve tension within the office and help set the tone for a productive, enjoyable day at work.