The #ChooseCycling campaign was launched last week with an open letter from some of the UK’s leading businesses – including Sky, The AA, Santander, Orange, National Grid and GlaxoSmithKline – to all party leaders calling for cycling to be made an integral part of transport planning for business. This post outlines some of the reasons why it’s in the interests of businesses and organisations to encourage their employees to cycle to work.
Why is it good for your employees to cycle to work?
Cycling is proven to have a positive effect on emotional health, helping commuters to feel more energetic and less stressed. Cycling is also a great form of exercise because it burns calories and builds muscle without putting too much strain on joints. Riding to work can also help commuters to save substantially when compared to the cost of traveling by car or public transport. In short, riding to work will make your staff happier, healthier and wealthier.
What’s in it for employers?
The benefits of a two-wheeled workforce are significant. Here are a few of them:
- Cycling cuts sick leave. The average worker takes 4.5 sick days each year whereas people who cycle take just 2.4 days. Last year Sustrans found that 68% of cyclists surveyed on the National Cycle Network hadn’t had a single day off in the last year. Using Department for Transport figures, they estimate that the average sick day costs employers almost £260: in a large organisation, two fewer sick days per cycling staff member represents a substantial saving. Nationally, more cycle commuters could save British business £13.7 billion a year.
- People who ride to work are more productive. As well as being ill less often, cyclists are more switched on and motivated. Riding into work is energising and the regular exercise of commuting by bike reduces stress levels and improves mental health. Riding to work makes employees sharper, brighter and more dynamic and energetic in the workplace, so more bicycle commuters will make your organisation more productive.
- Corporate Social Responsibility. Encouraging your staff to ride will significantly reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future. People who commute by bike take a more active interest in their local surroundings so two-wheeled staff will also help to embed your organisation in its locality and connect with the local community. Plus you won’t have to pay for parking.
- Save National Insurance Contributions. Under the Government’s Green Transport Plan, bicycles and safety equipment can be provided to employees as tax-free benefits. Cyclescheme provide everything employers need to offer their employees bikes and safety gear at dramatically reduced rates; because organisations recover the cost through reductions in employees’ gross wages, both parties save on NICs. If 20 people in a large firm buy a bike through the scheme, the firm would save over £1,900 in NICs and offset over 200kg of CO2 each week. So encouraging your staff to ride to work will make everyone better off.
What can you do to encourage staff to cycle?
First and foremost, you can sign up to the National Cycle Challenge. It’s a fun, free competition between workplaces to see who can get the most people to try riding a bike. It runs from 8-28 June and your staff will be eligible for individual and team prizes. Find out more here.
There are also a number of easy and low-cost steps you can take to proactively encourage cycling in your organisation:
- Sign up to Cyclescheme
- Make sure you have good, secure, covered bike parking
- Install cycle showers
- Talk to your employees about travel planning; make sure they are fully aware of the benefits of cycling to work (this post might help) and find out what would help them to make the switch to commuting by bike
- Reward people who ride to work
- Arrange Bikeability training for your staff
- Hire a mechanic to offer free services
So if you want the best for your staff and you want the best out of them, #ChooseCycling!