How and why should companies encourage cycling to work?

Researcher Ross Hansen outlines some useful tips on how to start a cycle-to-work scheme and also reveals why they are important.

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Author: Ross Hansen, Content Producer and Researcher, Hansen Ross Media

Both employers and employees are becoming increasingly receptive to the idea of cycling to and from work. Even before the pandemic wreaked havoc on our commuting habits, employee interest was clear, with the number of workers commuting by bicycle increasing by 42% in 2018

Whether there is an existing demand from your employees, or you’re looking to generate more interest in a cycle-to-work scheme, how can workplaces encourage a more cycle-savvy workforce? And why is it important to promote a scheme of this nature? 

How to be a cycle-friendly employer 

Provide access to the necessary facilities

A big part of being a cycle-friendly employer is having the necessary facilities on site for people who choose to cycle to work. These include safe spaces to store bicycles during the day, on top of the appropriate showering and changing facilities.

Introduce a bike pool system

A bike pool system works by having a collection of bikes owned by the company that are available for employee use. As well as commuting to and from work, they could be used for any off-site meetings or lunch breaks, giving staff members more choice and flexibility. This also cuts the cost of purchasing their own bike.

Make it fun

Another way to encourage employees to take up a cycle-to-work scheme is by making it fun and competitive. Introduce challenges between team members, offering rewards and incentives to employees who are making a significant contribution.

Why should you promote cycling to work? 

Cycle-to-work schemes are commonly adopted by forward-thinking companies who are looking to promote both sustainability and employee wellbeing. But especially if you’re taking the bike pool approach, this can come at a financial cost to the company – so why should you promote cycling to work?

Reduces indirect emissions

There are many benefits to taking environmental responsibility as a business, and modern companies are often looking for ways to cut both their direct and indirect emissions. Employees’ commutes are one example of an indirect emission, and switching cars for bikes is a great way to help reduce your company’s carbon footprint. 

Attract a wider range of talent

Promoting any cycle-to-work initiatives within job descriptions for open positions is a great way to attract eco-conscious professionals. Particularly amongst younger generations, there is a growing concern about the sustainability of employers, and many job-seekers will be looking at your company’s eco credentials when considering an application. 

Employee health and wellbeing 

From a moral standpoint, encouraging employees to cycle to work will not only help to support their physical health, but their mental health too. Cycling can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing in a number of ways, from helping to relieve stress, to reducing anxiety levels.

From a business standpoint, a healthier team means fewer sick days will be taken, which in turn equates to a more efficient workforce. In fact, on average, employees who cycle to work take one less sick day per year than those who travel by other means – resulting in a saving for the UK economy of almost £83 million. 

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