aerial view of parking lot

I can’t park at work, now what?!

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Commuting to work is a significant part of the working day. Sometimes parking can take far longer than the actual commute. But what do you do if you can’t park when you get to work? Here you can read the article How far is too far to commute to work? too!

There are plenty of options to consider when it comes to finding alternatives to parking at work; even if you still want to drive in. Some of them are going to save you time, some of them are going to save you money. But if you absolutely have no choice but to drive in there are some other things to consider as well.

Why do you drive to work?
Distance
Time
Convenience
My job
Before and after work responsibilities

Alternatives to parking at work
Park somewhere else
Carsharing/Carpooling
Walking/Self-propelled motion
Running
Cycling
Scooter/Roller Skates/Skateboard
eBike/eScooter/eBoard
Scooter or Motorbike
Bus
Train
Taxi
Ferry/Boat/Water Taxi
Helicopter
Plane
Hot Air Balloon
Spaceship
Teleportation

Hoverboard
Work from home
Workplace parking management software

Benefits of other modes of transport
Exercise
Saving money
Environmental
Time to do other things
Summary

aerial view of parking lot
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Why do you drive to work?

You probably drive to work for one of a couple of reasons:

  • You need to.
  • You want to.

So, the real question is, are your reasons for driving to work ones that fall into the ‘need to’ category or the ‘want to’ category? And have you actually put your reasons in the ‘right category’. For example, ‘needing’ to drive to work because you have a nice car is not really in the right category. You can probably still get to work even if you had a car that had 3 wheels, it’s not recommended of course. But in this circumstance, where you drive to work because you have a nice car, you drive to work because you ‘want to’. You want to drive in your nice car. You don’t necessarily need to drive to work.

Let’s have a look at some of the typical reasons people drive to work.

Distance

It might be that you drive to work because you have to travel a long distance. That’s fair enough, using a car is clearly one of the most efficient and effective modes of transport you can use. So, it makes sense to drive in if you live a long distance away from where you work. But there are other ways to travel longs distances; not just by driving a car.

Time

It might be that you drive to work because it takes you less time. But if you can’t park at work, does your whole commute actually take you less time? Maybe you only drive 10 minutes to work but spend 20 minutes trying to find a parking space. So, in that half an hour could you actually use a different mode of transport, save time, and also save yourself some stress in the process? Maybe you could save some money too?

Convenience

A lot of the time people drive to work just because it’s easy and convenient; if you are fortunate enough to have the luxury of having a car to drive to work, of course. If convenience is the reason you drive to work, that’s fair enough. Why would you want to make life more difficult for yourself? But if you want it to be even more convenient, then maybe some of the ideas below will help you achieve that.

My job

You drive to work because you have to drive for your job. Maybe you are a sales rep., or a delivery drive, or a surveyor. You don’t necessarily spend all day in the office, but you need to spend some time there before you head out on the road. So, you have to take the car. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to find a way to park at work.

Before and after work responsibilities

Before work maybe you drop the kids off at school, or visit a family member, or have to regularly drop off paperwork or equipment to another office or colleague.

After work perhaps you have to take the kids to sports practise, or go to a club session that you like to attend.

There is obviously life outside of work. So, that is going to have an impact on what you do before and after it. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options and alternatives to help solve the problem of not being able to park at work.

silhouette of man and child near white hyundai tucson suv during golden hour
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Alternatives to driving and parking at work

Now that we’ve identified some of the typical reasons why people drive to work. Let’s look at some of the options that might be available to help solve the problem of not being able to park at work.

Park somewhere else

It’s so obvious when it’s stated. But some people genuinely get stuck in such a routine that they can’t give it up and change; even if staying in this routine is having a negative effective on their life and situation. So, the very first thing to do is to check if you can park somewhere else. Unless ‘that space’ at work has your name in front of it it’s not ‘your space’.

What other carparks or places are close by that you could park in? Have a look online and check out some of the private carparking options. People often rent out their driveways for people to park on, so that’s an option worth checking out.

Carsharing / Carpooling

Carsharing, when things like social distancing aren’t an issue, is a great way of avoiding the problem of having to park. So, look into it. Depending on the laws in your country may actually still be able carshare when social distancing guidance is in place.

If you are someone that loves driving that much then make yourself available to the carsharing/carpooling scheme if your work place has one. If it doesn’t have one then suggest it. If someone else that already drives to work is prepared to share a car with you then that’s one space saved already.

Walking/Self-propelled motion

Good old walking and self-propelled motion. It does take a lot longer to get to work than driving. But if you can’t park at work when you get there, what’s the point in driving? Do you live close enough to work that this is a realistic option? Check out the article How far is too far too commute to work? here.

It has other great benefits as well. It will save you money on travel costs. And it will help you get some exercise into your day. AND you will get outside and get some fresh air.

The only thing to consider is making sure you check the weather. You don’t want to get caught in a downpour with only your shirt on.

Running

It’s quicker than walking, so you’ll save some time that way. And definitely offers some other great benefits to your health. You just need to make sure you can map out a safe route to work where you don’t have to dodge too much traffic. You’ll probably need to make sure you invest in a couple of things too:

  • Some good running shoes and clothes.
  • A good bag to carry anything you need for work like your lunch.
  • Appropriate waterproofs just incase you need them.

The other thing to consider is making sure you have some facilities at work, or close by, to have a shower and freshen up. Chances are being hot and sweaty at work isn’t going to go down well.

Cycling

Firstly, don’t be a helmet, where a helmet.

There’s a little bit of trend here. Cycling is quicker than running. But it can be little bit more dangerous. Navigating through traffic on a bike can be quite the challenge, so if you are going to do this make sure you:

  • Have a well maintained and working bike.
  • Have good safety equipment.
  • Have working lights for when it’s dark.
  • Where a helmet for safety.
  • Have some tools just in case something on your bike breaks.
  • Have a water bottle, because there’s every chance you’ll need to have a drink
  • Have a lock to keep it secure when you get to work.

Some employers will have cycle to work schemes that help you cover the cost of getting a bike and some equipment to allow you to cycle to work.

man in blue long sleeve riding skateboard
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Scooter/Roller Skates/Skateboard

Again, it’s smart to wear a helmet. Tony Hawk the GOAT wears a helmet. Wear a helmet.

Now, these ways of getting to work can be quicker. But only if you can do these activities, they aren’t necessarily the easiest things to do. There’s no real way of saying which one of these ways to travel you will find easiest. But if I had to rank them it would be:

  • Scooter(easiest)
  • Roller skate
  • Skateboard(hardest)

But it all depends on the individual. You might pick it up and master it in no time. It’s never too late to try and learn something new. And if this helps solve your commuting and parking issues then it’s something worth considering.

eBike/eScooter/eBoard

I’m not going to let up on this one. Wear a helmet. It’s not about looking cool. It’s about being safe.

An alternative to the self-propelled forms of transport is to get electronic versions. On those days where you just don’t have the energy they can help pick up some of the slack for you. So, something like and electronic bike, scooter, or skateboard might be something worth considering.

Scooter or Motorbike

There’s a little bit more to this than just going out and buying a scooter or a motorbike. Depending on where you live in the world you are probably going to need to pass some sort of a test to get a license.

So, you are going to need to take some lessons, take some written exams, pass a practical test, and then you are going to need to buy a scooter or a bike. Then you are going to need to pay for running costs just like you would do with a car. You are going to need to pay to maintain it. You’ve got to pay for fuel. Pay for insurance. And pay for any other trips to the garage you might have to take.

BUT, scooters and motorbikes are smaller than cars. So, you can possibly park it more easily than your car. It might solve your problem.

Oh yeah, and you are going to need to buy a helmet. You have less of a choice in this matter. Wherever you are in the world it’s probably the law that you have to wear one when riding a scooter or a motorbike.

Bus

For starters, it requires very little effort from you. You pay for a ticket. You sit on the bus and someone else drives you to work.

Obviously, you’ve got things to deal with like:

  • Are the buses running on time?
  • How often are they running?
  • Having to stop for other people to get on and off.

It might take a bit longer than some of the other modes of transport but it is an option.

TRAVEL PASS: Potentially, you could get a travel pass. It might save you some money, and it might even allow you to travel a wider distance. You’ll have to check with your local provider.

And wear a helmet! Oh no, wait, you don’t need to do that.

Train

Do you even live near a train station? Some people don’t, so this isn’t even a possible option for them.

But trains can be great ways to travel. They’ve usually got a little bit more privacy than a bus. Potentially they are quicker. A lot of services will run a ‘fast train with less stops’ and a ‘slow train with more stops’. So, making sure you get on the right one is important.

Trains can be pretty expensive though. It just depends where in the world you are.

TRAVEL PASS: Again, it might be possible to get a travel pass that allows you to make a saving on the cost of your ticket. And then you can use it for a longer period of time. These are especially great if you always do the same journey.

train with people riding in subway station
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Taxi

Depending on how far you have to travel a taxi might actually be a good option. Not everyone can park for free at work. So, when you account for the cost of parking, the cost of fuel, any tolls that you might have to pay on your journey, and the other costs such as car maintenance and insurance, getting a taxi to and from work could possibly be a good option financially.

It’s obviously also a good option to solve the problem of parking, because they just drop you off and pick you up.

If it’s a regular commute that you do, then it’s worth asking if you can get some kind of discount on your journey.

Ferry/Boat/Water Taxi

It’s not as crazy an idea as it sounds; for some people at least.

Obviously, not everyone lives near bodies of water. But some people will. So when you are looking at your options this is a good one. And it could be a pretty nice alternative too. Being on the water can be a great experience. So if you live near a river, a canal, a lake, or even by the sea then have a look around there might be services that help solve this parking problem you are having by travelling to work on something like a ferry or water taxi.

Helicopter

Ok, this won’t apply to all of us. But it will apply to some of us. Travelling to work by helicopter might be a viable option for you. So, let’s just consider it.

Plane

Again, some people travel to work by plane. It really depends on where in the world you live. Some people work and live on little islands. So at the moment, they might be travelling by boat or ferry. Maybe a plane is a more suitable option.

Hot Air Balloon

I just wanted to put this one in there. I don’t think it’s necessarily a great option to consider. But you know, live a little. It would be cool to be able to travel to work in a hot air balloon.

Spaceship

There’s been some pretty far fetched suggestions, but space travel is the future. So, keep an eye out to see how things develop.

Teleportation

Ok. Maybe one day.

Hoverboard

One day, one day.

Work from home

How about we just skip the driving to work, the trying to find a parking space, and just work from home?

It obviously depends on your job and organisation. Some people can’t work from home. But some people can. But it’s clearly a possibility. So, if you think it’s achievable raise it with your employer and see if a solution can be reached.

Workplace parking management software

An alternative option worth considering is a workplace parking management software.

Think about it, the whole discussion of parking at work pretty much revolves around fairness. Any system without a software pretty much works on a first come first serve basis. But that favours certain demographics of employees; basically the ones with less responsibility outside of work and the ones that live closer to work. Because they can get to work more easily and get a space.

Now, yes, it might be someone’s ‘life choice’ to have children, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out on having the fair opportunity to have something as basic as parking available to them. All because they have to do the school run. And obviously, just because someone lives 50 miles away instead of 5 doesn’t mean they should miss out either.

So you could have a workplace parking management software that allows people to book a car parking space in advance. But in order to instil some sort of fairness, maybe employees can only book a space so many times in a week.

Remember, a really, really, really important concept here when it comes to running an organisation or team successfully is to recognise equity, not just equality.

Equality gives everyone the same resources to achieve.

Equity gives everyone what they specifically need to achieve; dependent on their situation.

Getting the balance right between the two can be tricky. You may not be in a position immediately to apply these different approaches successfully. But definitely keep the concepts on the radar.

A workplace parking management software might be a worthwhile investment.

person jogging
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Benefits of other modes of transport

We’ve looked at a lot of different alternatives to driving to work. So, here are some of the benefits and takeaways.

Exercise

Driving to work all the time is going to be ok for your health, as long as you get your exercise somewhere else. So a more physically demanding mode of transport might not only save you money, but it could be much better for your health too.

It just might take you longer to get to work in some circumstances.

Saving money

Depending on the alternative mode of transport you go with, you might actually end up saving yourself a lot of money. No fuel costs. No parking costs. No parking permit. No wear and tear maintenance costs on your vehicle.

TRAVEL PASS: Remember to look at different types of travel passes or discounts that you can get from providers.

Environmental

Not everybody cares about it. But a different mode of transport could not just be better for your health, but for the health of your planet and your community too.

Time to do other things

Driving is a demanding task. Mentally, physically, and emotionally you are occupied until you reach your destination. So, if you choose a different mode of transport then if you want to you’ll be able to dedicate your time to other things:

  • Exercise
  • Reading a book
  • Watching a tv series or film
  • Working on a project
  • Studying

Summary

If you are having trouble parking at work, there are plenty of alternative options here to consider. The best thing you can do now is look at your situation and try something out to see if it works better for you in the way that you want.

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