|If you’re based in a busy town or city centre, you’ll be so used to the noise, pollution and traffic that you’ve probably stopped noticing. And that alone should be a warning sign that something needs to be done. Businesses can take a lead on improving the environment in their area in countless ways, from refining their supply chain to actively recycling materials. But there’s one other way where any company can make a positive difference – encouraging their workforce to leave the car at home and pedal to the office instead.
So what can you do to get your employees on their bikes?
Sign up to Cycle to Work scheme
This initiative is run by various providers and helps staff save money on a new work bike, with the cost spread over 12 monthly tax-free instalments. So you’ll pay for it and employees will pay you back throughout the year from their salary.
Find out why people don’t want to cycle to work
Before pushing them into cycling to work, find out why your staff might feel reluctant to do so. A survey by Sustrans revealed that 44% don’t cycle to work because they wouldn’t feel safe doing so. This is something you can easily work to resolve, perhaps by giving staff pointers on a safe route to work, or providing them with accessories such as reflectors or hi vis vest. Meanwhile, more than 1 in 5 respondents to the survey said they don’t cycle to work because of a lack of facilities at their workplace. So maybe that’s a cue for you to provide a safe place to store their bikes and upgrade a washroom to include a shower.
Promote the personal benefits
While the environmental benefits of cycling to work are obvious, they don’t have to be the whole thrust of your argument. According to a survey by Cyclescheme, train travel is the most unreliable form of transport for commuters and leads to the most lost hours for businesses (62 hours and 24 minutes a year), followed by driving to work (60 hours and 40 minutes) and getting the bus (52 hours). By contrast, the figure for cycling is just 32 hours of time lost throughout a year. Meanwhile, 1 in 3 employers believe staff who cycle are more productive in the workplace, 44% think they are more efficient and 89% feel they are more energised. It might therefore be worth letting employees know how cycling might enhance their day at work.
Provide bikes at work for errands
Have a bike or two available at work so employees could use them to go on errands like nipping to the butty van or to the post office. Add a couple of corporate finishing touches like a branded bicycle seat cover and flashing lights. Not only does it help to cut your carbon footprint day-to-day, it promotes a culture of cycling and helps staff become confident riders. That might be the impetus they need to cycle from home to the office.
Sources / Further Reading
Workers who cycle are more productive HR Magazine
How to start cycling to work Sustrans