Matthew Duncan: Bypass The Stress

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One of the biggest infrastructure projects in Scotland, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is nearing completion. Despite delays due to the collapse of Carillion, this £754m project is expected to open in Spring 2018 and it can’t come soon enough for businesses in the area. 

The new route is expected to reduce stress at many of the flash points across the city’s road network. It will cut down on the requirement for HGVs to use city centre routes to transport goods in and out of Aberdeen while also opening up opportunities for the development of land around the city for both commercial and domestic purposes. 

Certainly the team here at Eden Scott are excited by the possibilities this new road, which runs from Stonehaven to Tipperty, will offer to the jobs market in and around the city. 

Travel For Work

Travel infrastructure is a major factor that many don’t take into account when engaging in the recruitment process.

While we understand not everyone can have a job on their doorstep, encouraging candidates to take a role in a hard-to-access location makes recruiting even more difficult and can end up costing the company more money.

By its nature, if your business is in a more remote location or your offices aren’t serviced by good local transport links then you are definitely reducing your candidate pool. Salaries are often going to have to be higher or additional benefits will need to outweigh existing packages to tempt the very best staff. 

Poor travel links are also likely to impact on the attendance and time-keeping, very often out with the control of the individual. This time out of work is a productivity cost many businesses could do without.

Choosing Your Location

There are some businesses that just simply can’t be based in the city centre next to the train station or just off a main road with adequate parking. But, if there is flexibility in choosing where your office is based make sure price isn’t the only factor you consider.   

Not every candidate (or customer) will drive and even if they do, the traffic situation that has existed in Aberdeen for many years has meant certain locations have become no-go for potential employees.

We regularly get feedback from candidates indicating their reluctance to take a job in the north of the city if they live in the south and vice versa. While getting and keeping a job is vitally important, especially in Aberdeen at the minute, we are finding a candidates lifestyle is of growing influence. 

Lifestyle Factors

As business changes, lifestyle factors have grown in importance for employees when making a decision on whether to accept a job or not. Again, no-one is expecting businesses to change location to suit one employee but if you want to attract the very best staff and your organisation has never been an advocate of flexible working then you will find it difficult to attract talent. 

If a specific location is a requirement of your business then offering flexibility around start and finish times; working from home days; hot-desk working in shared office space are alternatives you will need to think about as an organisation.

Bypass Solutions

So while the prospect of fighting through heavy traffic every day, adding to stress levels before work has even started may now be about to dissipate for many living and working across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, lifestyle factors are something that businesses need to consider if they want to hire the very best talent.

When you are deciding on your next office location or sitting down with your HR team to review your existing policies and procedures have a think about how you can support your team through flexible working and watch productivity grow.

Matthew Duncan is a Senior Consultant, Accountancy and Finance at Eden Scott.

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