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Q&A with Paul Sidwell, Wilson Parking Chief Technology Officer, on post-pandemic parking & demand for more flexibility

Flexible and hybrid working is here to stay – How has this impacted corporate parking?

Flexible commuting and hybrid working is here to stay and changed commuting behaviours are forcing landlords and employers to reevaluate their parking requirements and how they optimise them.

Over the next 12 months, most people expect to travel into their workplace around 3.5 days a week according to research from Transurban. Our parking data continues to map alongside office occupancy rates across Australia and the trend for hybrid working. It confirms there has been a definitive shift to a three-day office work week with parking peaking between Tuesday and Thursday. We have also seen a transition from subscription to flexible parking.

Since the pandemic we have experienced a 30 per cent reduction in the permanent parking market as our customers have transitioned to daily commuter products or shorter-term contracts. However, we’ve seen significant growth in the use of digital parking solutions. Online booking has accelerated, with more than two thirds (67%) of commuter transactions made via online channels, demonstrating commuters want more convenient ways to pre-pay and pre-book their parking to reduce stress, provide more flexibility and reliability.

How important is parking in encouraging workers to return to the office?

Convenient and cost-effective parking options can be an incredibly valuable and important employee benefit and lever in encouraging workers back into the office and cities generally.

Research shows that one in four commuters are changing the way they travel to work with most of them switching from public transport to private vehicles. Companies are constantly adopting new ways to accommodate those workers driving to work in private vehicles. From a parking perspective, that means offering parking to a wider range of employees than before.

To encourage employees to return to the office, employers must respond to what they now value the most: convenience, flexibility, value and ease. To accommodate this, parking operators like us need to continue to evolve the parking experience by providing even more convenient and flexible parking options.

Convenience – There is a need for tenants to better manage staff, fleet, and guest parking – providing a more convenient way for staff (and guests) to access parking when they need it.

Flexibility – As staff are no longer in the office 5 days per week, tenants need to have ways to better manage their parking assets and optimise utilisation of their parking. This means the ability to share parking bays, and offer parking to more of their employees.

Value – Having the right value is essential. People expect digital channels to be convenient and want flexibility in parking. There is also a growing trend of companies using parking as a tool to give extra benefits to their employees where unemployment is low and retaining employees is difficult. Allowing employees to park in under-utilised parking bays when not in use delivers incentive to staff.

Ease – It is important to identify and remove all obstacles. The easier it is to commute/park, the more likely people are to return to the workplace. Digital solutions offer an improved ease of user compared to paper tickets, cards or other physical access media which add friction to the parking experience.


Why is effective management of parking more important than ever today?

We understand that parking management isn’t easy to navigate, but with the right strategy and planning, businesses can effectively manage their corporate parking system. Adopting technology solutions is a good way to get started.

Using the right technology and digital channels to manage staff parking and replace manual paper-based processes and emails, will deliver efficiencies and potentially costs savings for employers and their employees. Most importantly, it still needs to be backed up by robust operational processes – with additional services like Intercoms, managed services, field staff and remote call centres to complement simple technology where needed.

Landlords & employers need flexible solutions for a flexible workforce – How is Wilson Parking responding to this?

In a world where flexible commuting and flexible working are here to stay, employees are increasingly seeking parking options that match their new working patterns and want a seamless and convenient technology experience that meets their increasing preference for the safety of their private transport.

The challenge for employers is to implement new ways to manage and maximise the usage of their parking capacity, while also providing a solution that is easy for staff to use.

We have listened to our customers looking for enterprise solutions with flexibility to self-manage their employees and we’ve created Shuffle, a new technology platform and app, to enable companies to better manage their staff parking.

Shuffle provides an end-to-end parking management technology solution, allowing companies to maximise their available parking allocation. Shuffle comprises three key elements: Administration Portal, Staff Parking App and Shuffle Access.

  • The Administration Portal allows tenants to manage their staff parking allocations, shuffling staff to share parking bays and provides utilisation reports that enable teams to maximise parking usage and support future planning.
  • The Shuffle app enables staff to book and access the car park allocated to them, providing a way to easily access parking when they need it.
  • Shuffle Access is an enterprise-grade Bluetooth access solution that allows window-up access by ‘Open Gate’ via the app, with the comfort of QR-code fallback

In the development of Shuffle, we have been careful to make sure it can work in almost any car park and is not limited to Wilson Parking car parks. The technology enables tenants to maximise parking within their existing parking infrastructure, whether that’s bays in a public or private car park.

We see the development of Shuffle as an important step in helping organisations to manage the way that their staff want to work and commute.

Built with Privacy in mind

Privacy and security are increasingly important. Shuffle, like all Wilson Parking products and services, is built with privacy in mind. Enterprise-grade security, strict user verification protocols and data protection are included to deliver the level of protection expected by corporates when dealing with their employees.




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