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Mastering Office Parking Management

Strategies for Making it a Success

Best practices and success stories for an efficient office parking management.

Office parking management

Office Parking Policy: Design and Examples 

In our previous chapter we talked about efficiency in the parking lot. Now, most of the cases discussed there can be translated into an office parking policy. 

Choosing the proper employee parking policy for your office can be stressful. Parking affects all employees that drive to work, from top to bottom. And let’s face it: things can get pretty emotional about parking spots. 

There are five main parking lot policies out there that you can adopt. None of them is perfect. But some might work better for you than the other 4. 

Each of them starts from the most common status quo: there are fewer parking spots than actual employees. 

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So, let’s start by analyzing the pros and cons of these policies.  

  1. “First come, first served” policy or “free for all” 

This is the most common parking policy in which employees park in any available space on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Pros: 

  • Simple and easy to implement and manage.  
  • Cost-effective choice since it does not require the implementation of other technology. It is an option that works best for smaller companies. 
  • Pretty fair policy. 

Cons: 

  • Lack of predictability. Let’s say John is meeting a client at 2pm, but he needs to get back to the office and finish sending some email follow-ups. In the morning he managed to park in the office parking lot. Now, will he find an empty spot when he comes back from the meeting? 
  • Exclusions. Employees who cannot come to work early, for example they drop off their children to kindergartens or schools, have fewer chances to find a spot. 
  • Parking congestion. If parking is limited, employees may have to spend time circling the parking lot looking for a spot, which can cause delays and frustration. 
  • Lack of priority. The policy does not prioritize certain employees, such as executives or employees with disabilities, who may need closer or reserved parking spaces. 

Companies that adopt this policy are looking to move away from hierarchical parking structure. They try to be fair. 

In conclusion, the “first come, first served” parking policy can be a simple and cost-effective solution for companies with ample parking space. But ample parking spaces are a rare thing, right?  

For companies with limited parking options, other policies may need to be considered to ensure that parking is distributed in a fair and efficient manner. 

2. Reserved or assigned parking spots policy 

Reserved parking policies allow certain employees to have designated parking spots marked with their name or number. This policy is often used for executives, managers, or employees with disabilities. 

Pros: 

  • Accessibility. Reserved parking spots ensure that employees who require closer parking spaces due to disabilities or other reasons have access to them. 
  • Priority. Executives, managers, and other key personnel can be given priority parking spaces, making it easier for them to get in and out of the office and attend important meetings or events. 
  • Efficiency. Employees with reserved parking spaces do not need to waste time looking for a parking spot, which can improve productivity and reduce tardiness. 
  • Safety. Reserved parking spots can be in well-lit areas, reducing the risk of accidents or other safety concerns. 

Cons: 

  • Space limitations. Reserved parking spaces can take up a significant amount of space, which may be an issue for companies with limited parking. 
  • Resentment: Employees who do not have reserved parking spots may feel resentful or undervalued, discriminated against, which can lead to negative morale and lower job satisfaction. 

Overall, a “reserved parking” policy can be an effective way to prioritize parking for key personnel and ensure accessibility for employees with disabilities. However, companies should be aware that such a policy is affecting the fairness and inclusiveness in a company.  

3. Mixed parking policy 

This policy is a mix between the “assigned spots” and the “first come, first served” parking policies. This is a popular approach where a few key employees get assigned spots, while the other free spots are subject to the “first come, first serve” method. 

Pros: 

  • Priority. Executives, managers, and other key personnel can be given priority parking spaces, making it easier for them to get in and out of the office and attend important meetings or events. 
  • Simple and easy to implement and manage. 

Cons: 

  • Resentment: Employees who do not have reserved parking spots may feel resentful or undervalued, discriminated against, which can lead to negative morale and lower job satisfaction. It might happen that even 30% of spots are assigned to execs… 
  • Employees who cannot come to work early, for example they drop off their children to kindergartens or schools, are excluded by default. 

This policy somehow mixes both the pros and cons of the “assigned spots” and “first come, first served” policies. 

4. Lottery based parking policy 

 Under this policy, employees enter a lottery to decide who gets a parking space for a certain period, such as a month or a quarter. This can be done electronically or through a physical drawing. The winners are then allowed to park in a designated space for the period. 

Pros: 

  • Fairness. A parking lottery policy ensures that parking spaces are distributed randomly, which can create a sense of fairness among employees. 
  • Reduced frustration. Since employees know that parking spaces are distributed randomly, they may be less frustrated when they are unable to find a parking spot. 
  • Encourages alternative transportation. Employees not selected for a parking space may be encouraged to use alternative transportation, such as public transit or carpooling. 
  • Predictability. The lottery decides who gets a spot for a certain time period. 

Cons: 

  • Inconvenience. Employees who are not selected for a parking space may have to park in a remote location or find alternative parking, which can be inconvenient and time-consuming. The longer the parking periods, the worse the inconvenience. 
  • Reduced morale. Employees who are consistently not selected for a parking space may feel undervalued or unappreciated, which can reduce morale and job satisfaction. The longer the parking periods, the worse the morale. 
  • Micro-management. Each lottery must be conducted by the office management. Access rights must be revoked and issued once again which can lead to a lot of work and confusion. 

Overall, a parking lottery policy can be an effective way to distribute limited parking spaces fairly. However, companies should be aware of the potential drawbacks and take steps to mitigate any negative effects on employee morale and productivity. 

5. Parking cash-out schemes 

Let’s face it: parking is expensive. Not just for the employees, but for the employers and developers as well. As an employee, you might think parking is free, but it’s never actually free. Why so? Well, employers might pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month for their parking spaces. In recent years, employers found a way to pay less for parking spots when entering parking cash-out programs.  

How do these programs work? 

Well, employers might end up covering the full cost of an employee’s commute or pay them outright not to drive to work. This ways they might pay less for the parking spaces, while encouraging the use of alternative forms of transportation, and even improving traffic in cities, by having fewer cars out there. 

And we have a successful story for you: Seattle’s Children Hospital

The idea behind their program was to reduce its employee drive-alone rate. Here’s what the hospital did: 

  • They offer employees a $4.50 per day commute bonus for alternative commuting (bike, walk, transit, telecommute, carpool, vanpool). 
  • Transit rides are subsidized 100%. 
  • Subsidized on-site bike tune-ups; company bike program for those committing to 2x per week bike commuting. 
  • Free parking days. The hospital allowed employees who commit to taking an alternative mode into work the ability to park for free 3-5 days a month, giving them flexibility needed to commit to their alternative mode. 
  • Employees who agree to bike two or more days per week are given a free bike from the hospital.  

Here are the results: 

  • As a result, 9% of hospital workers biked to work, doubling the city average. 
  • Reduced drive alone rate 73% in 1995 to 37.4%. 

6. Parking policy based on booking parking spots in spreadsheets 

It all started with a spreadsheet where an office manager would manage the parking needs of colleagues. Next it was WhatsApp, or Slack…then parking apps

Without automation things could get chaotic fast, while employees queuing at the reception desk to solve their parking problems. But then apps came to the rescue allowing employees to book a parking spot in advance and for a certain period. Now the office manager can finally breathe 😊. 

Now, let’s check a bit the pros and cons of using apps to book parking spots

Pros: 

  • Parking spot apps should be easy to implement and manage. 
  • Parking spot apps shouldn’t require additional hardware, so the costs should be minimal. 
  • The parking spot app will give employees the autonomy to book a spot when they need one, without extra visits to the reception desk. 
  • Predictability. Employees will know the status of available parking spaces and will manage their days in the office accordingly. 
  • Assigned spots can be managed as well in such apps. 
  • Some solutions also have issues that tackle parking problems. Tidaro, for example, allows you to tackle problems when a car is blocking someone else’s car
  • Some apps might allow users to register multiple license plates. 
  • Some apps might allow parking managers to divide the lot into zones, and to assign zone managers.  
  • Less friction at the reception desk. 
  • Less resentment on behalf of employees that feel that the policy is more inclusive and fairer. 
  • No more employees wandering around the office parking lot in search of an available spot. 
  • No more chaos because of manual work in spreadsheets. 
  • Such apps can also allow guests to park. 
  • Employees who cannot come to work early, for example they drop off their children to kindergartens or schools, are no longer excluded by default.   

Cons: 

  • Not 100% accuracy when sensors aren’t used. Why so? It might happen that someone that hasn’t booked a spot, shows up to the parking lot and takes someone else’s spot. This is something that some apps tackle as some sort of infringement (e.g.: Tidaro). These situations should also be addressed in the companies’ parking policies to bring more discipline in the parking lot. 

How to create a company parking policy  

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A company parking policy should include guidelines that will apply to employees, visitors, and contractors. Here are some elements that could be included in a company parking policy: 

  • Eligibility for parking. Companies will need to decide which employees are eligible for parking and how parking spots will be assigned.  
  • Parking hours for employees and visitors. 
  • How is guest access managed? 
  • Parking spaces. Companies will need to define the size of parking spaces, including whether designated spaces will be reserved for employees with disabilities, expectant mothers, or other special needs. A map would also be helpful. 
  • Parking passes or permits. Are they needed? Or do employees enter the parking lot based on license plates?  

Here is an example: 

Only employees with a pass may enter the company’s parking lot. Passes are issued by the administration department, based on license plate. If there is a change of personal data or vehicle information, the employee should notify the administration department at once. 

  • Software or hardware in the parking lot. Is the parking lot using sensors? How do they work? What do employees need to know? Is there a parking spot booking app being used? How should the employees be using the app? 
  • Parking infringements. Which are the most frequent parking violations? How are they being handled? Will there be fines, disciplinary action, or other measures? 

Here are some examples: 

Employees that block front or back entrances are subject to fines. 

Disciplinary measures will be taken if someone parks on a spot reserved for the disabled.  

A warning will be issued for those who block access to garbage bins or who park diagonally. 

A first offence will result in a warning from the company’s management. Continuous parking policy violations may result in removal of the employee’s permit. 

If an employee is going to a business trip, he shouldn’t leave the car in the parking lot, else, he will be subject to a written notice. 

Unauthorized or improperly parked vehicles will be towed away at the owner’s expense. 

If employees are occupying a parking space with access to an EV charger, they should free up the space once their vehicle is charged, else they may be subject to fines. 

  • Safety measures. Ensure the parking facility is well-lit, with sufficient security and safety measures in place, such as surveillance cameras or even security guards. What happens if a car gets damaged in the parking lot? Who is responsible? 

Some companies that do not have security cameras can issue a statement such as the following: We won’t assume any liability for vandalism, or damage about an employees’ car. 

Employees use the company’s parking lots at their own risk and should keep their cars locked while on the parking lot. 

  • Alternative transportation. How is the company encouraging the use of bikes, carpooling, or public transportation? 
  • Policy enforcement. How is the parking policy enforced? Who will handle the policy implementation? Who will receive the requests, remarks, or complaints? 
  • Communication. Make sure that the parking policy is communicated to all employees and that they have easy access to it. If updates come up, make sure to disseminate them. 

Evaluating the office’s parking policy 

After setting up the car park policy for employees, make sure to get feedback. If the policy implementation succeeds, you might notice employee satisfaction soon. 

You can also use feedback surveys. But make sure to read the surveys, because they can serve as inspiration for optimizations in the parking lot. 

At the end of the day, implementing proper car park rules is useful for both the organization and its employees. It may contribute to the reduction of morning parking-related stress and help employees start their working day better. Also, the people from the HR department/ admin /workplace experience will also save time, which will allow them to focus on more important tasks.