Posted by Andrew Walker on Wednesday August 04, 2021
Tomorrow, 5th August, is National Cycle to Work Day. As a keen cyclist, I’m all for encouraging more people to try commuting by bike, so we’re sharing five ways employers can help.
Why encourage cycle commuting?
Employers may well ask: what’s in it for me? The main reason is to improve your staff’s health and wellbeing. With cycle commuting, employees can reap the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise, as well as enjoying the great outdoors. The result? You get a happier, healthier, more productive employee who doesn’t need a parking space.
What’s more, with a cycle to work scheme, employers can provide new bikes to staff via affordable monthly payments. Not only will you recover the full cost of the bike, you'll also generate a NIC saving up to 13.8% of its value.
Finally, encouraging staff to take the bike instead of the car will help reduce your company’s carbon emissions. Every employee who switches to cycle commuting cuts down on air pollution and produces ten times less CO2 emissions than a car, helping you achieve your ESG goals.
What can employers do?
1. Get the word out
Word of mouth is a powerful factor in helping increase interest in cycling and getting more people to give it a try.
You can help these conversations by hosting cycling to work or cycle safety events with outside speakers, and by promoting information that showcases the benefits of bike riding – things like sending emails, displaying posters, and issuing flyers. The more people hear about cycling’s health benefits and how it can, in fact, change their lives, the more likely they’ll be to give it a try.
2. Cycle to work scheme
Encouraging people to cycle commute as a one-off experiment is great; but offering a cycle to work scheme as part of your employee benefits is better. This can help more people make a permanent change because they can afford a better bike that’s more suited to commuting.
These salary sacrifice schemes are government protected and make it easy for your employees to get a bike 25-39% cheaper, while spreading the cost. What’s more, it’s completely free for employers and can be set up online in a few quick and easy steps. Find out more about how Personal Group can help with cycle to work schemes here.
3. Make it accessible
The aim of Cycle to Work Day is to encourage as many people as possible to try cycling to work for one day - the idea being if they try it once, they might carry on.
Your awareness campaign should highlight the fact that anyone can get involved with cycling, at any level. People can enjoy cycling as a leisure activity, or a simple way to get from A to B. Make it clear that there is no obligation to become a Lycra-clad speed demon!
You could recruit employee champions to share why they enjoy cycling or organise fun challenges for a bit of friendly competition. Senior leaders can have a huge impact on setting an example when it comes to healthier behaviours, so make sure everyone is on board.
Not all businesses will be able to install facilities such as showers and changing rooms but do make an effort to install more achievable options. Secure bike storage via mobile bike racks provides peace of mind. Flexible start times could reduce anxiety around cycling commute length. Lockers will provide a space for the excess equipment.
5. Quantify the benefits
As with other forms of exercise, employees may know that cycling to work is a good thing to do but have yet to take it up for a whole raft of reasons. It might be worth looking at different motivators and encouraging them to put a figure on how it will improve their life.
- Save x amount over a year – this could be a combination of savings on a new bike via a cycle to work scheme, and working out how much they’re currently forking out on bus fare, petrol, parking, car maintenance etc.
- Burn x calories – many people struggle to find time for exercise, which puts them more at risk of weight gain and subsequent health issues. Cycle commuting even one or two days a week is an easy way to make exercise part of the daily routine and can help employees achieve their health goals.
- Save x minutes not sitting in traffic – especially for urban commuters, cycling is often the quickest way to get around. And it’s a great chance to explore traffic and pollution-free routes like local cycle paths.
 European Cyclists’ Foundation, https://ecf.com/news-and-events/news/how-much-co2-does-cycling-really-save