As the government begin to roll out new cycle-to-work schemes, support for funding seems to be at a peak. Whether you choose to walk, run or cycle, the benefits of commuting have been widely publicised. This only tells half the story. How can our companies support us to help us become happier, better off and more enthusiastic employees?
There are huge upsides to the employer as well as the employee according to ‘We are cycling UK’:
“Becoming a cycle-friendly employer makes sense. Encouraging cycling helps tackle the business costs of congestion, reduces an organisation's impact on the local and wider environment and even attracts some tax incentives. What's more, it's likely that levels of absenteeism will drop.”
Flexible working is an obvious solution to support commuting and can allow for out-of-hours travel and for people to commute off-peak, which reduces the stress of commuting and the time it takes. Occasional home working is another option, which eliminates the commute altogether. For some employees, it’s the relentless, everyday nature of commuting that wears them out. Even one day a week – such as Wednesday, the ‘hump day’ – without a commute can cut down the emotional and even financial burden. Overall, flexible working is an empowering, smart solution to the commuting burden. It also offers other benefits, such as attracting and retaining talent.
Cycling to work can save staff time as cyclists are naturally less vulnerable to traffic conditions. It also increases wellbeing due to the protective and endorphin-boosting benefits of exercise. This, may empower staff to leave later in the morning and arrive home earlier in the evening, improving work/life balance. Cycle-to-work schemes allow staff to get access to a bike, along with relevant accessories, in a tax-efficient way. The package is purchased by the employer and loaned to the employee tax-free, with the cost reclaimed in monthly deductions, normally as part of a salary sacrifice scheme.
Electric bikes are also included in the scheme, opening up cycling as a commuting option to those who have been excluded before due to the distance they live from the workplace.
There are several benefits to the employer: they save national insurance contributions on the employee’s reduced salary; they can treat the purchase as capital expenditure and claim the associated allowance and they should eventually be able to reduce the number of parking spaces offered to employees.
Workplace challenges provide an engaging and successful way of promoting cycling at a workplace. They often involve organisations competing against each other to see who can get most people cycle-commuting. The results are impressive.
Showers, lockers and drying facilities
Showers help make some people much happier about cycling to work, especially during the summer. Many workplaces already offer showering facilities for their workforce in general, and they also benefit people who jog, go to the gym or exercise during their lunch breaks.
Lockers are useful for storing cycling clothes during the day and in the winter, having somewhere to dry them out after a rainy trip, is extremely welcome. This facility may be nothing more complex than a dedicated cupboard, with hanging rails and an efficient dehumidifier.
Secure and convenient cycle parking at workplaces makes all the difference – and accommodating several cycles is much less costly than providing space for just one car.
Ideally, cycle parking should be near the premises, easy to reach, covered, secure and well designed. If there is nowhere outside to build a shelter, there may be somewhere indoors that could be converted into lockable bike storage. Wall hooks are good space-savers (inside or outside).
Please feel free to forward this email to your employer representative to allow them to build the case to support your commute or share on LinkedIn.
Stay safe on your commute. #LightTheNight
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