In today's world, where environmental consciousness and employee well-being are paramount, companies are seeking innovative ways to inspire their workforce to adopt sustainable commuting habits. Among the most impactful strategies is the bicycle, offering not only a greener commute but also a myriad of health benefits. Being a cycling-friendly employer has many pluses for both you and your employees. In one of our previous blogs on active travel, we discuss in more detail why we need more cycling and walking to work and the benefits. Biking to work is good for the planet, your employees, and you.
To become a cycling-friendly workplace, you will need the obvious basic hallmarks – safe and secure bike storage and end-of-trip facilities like showers and lockers. You can see our detailed guide on designing the best bike-to-work facilities for a more in-depth look. However, even once you do all that, you may find that many people are still not taking the leap. Here are some strategies you can try to encourage more of them to leave their cars behind and get on a bike.
Establish a Bike Buddy Program
Encourage a supportive cycling community within your workplace by setting up a bike buddy program. Many people may have been thinking about ditching four wheels for two but may be worried that the roads are dangerous and they themselves are out of practice when it comes to cycling. This confidence issue can be solved by having experienced cycling employees pair up with colleagues who are new to cycling to provide guidance and advice and accompany them on their first few rides to boost their confidence and familiarity with cycling routes.
Organise Workplace Cycling Challenges and Events
Create friendly competitions and events that promote cycling as a fun and healthy activity. This could include organising bike-to-work days, cycling weeks, team cycling challenges, or participating in local cycling events as a group. This will help less confident employees become more sure of their cycling abilities as they won't be doing it alone. Doing it as a team will build camaraderie amongst employees, and if people have fun, they will see it as an entertaining, communal and positive activity as opposed to a chore or even a daunting sport.
Once you've started running these special cycling weeks, days and events, make sure to recognise and reward employee achievements and efforts, fostering a positive and enthusiastic cycling culture.
Organise Corporate Challenges
Participate in local or national cycling challenges or events as a company team. This can foster team spirit and a sense of achievement and raise awareness of your organisation's commitment to sustainability. And if you can't find any existing local events, it is always worth thinking about organising one yourself. You could partner up with other local employers and do it together, or you can keep it internal and have different teams within your company compete against each other. A little friendly competition can get people excited and enthusiastic about cycling and serve as a little team-building exercise.
Cycle Commuting Workshops
Host workshops covering bike safety, route planning, basic bike maintenance, and local cycling rules or regulations. As mentioned above, fear and worry often stop people from riding a bike to work. People worry they haven't been on a bike in years; they are afraid they wouldn't know what to do if their tyre got punctured, or they are simply not sure what the Highway Code says about cyclists and what the rules are. So, sessions and workshops covering these topics can help give people considering cycling to work a confidence boost, peace of mind and some truly useful knowledge.
Offer cycling-related perks
Consider providing incentives to employees who regularly cycle to work. This could include subsidised bike purchases or repairs, reimbursement for cycling-related expenses, or extra time off for active commuting. Alternatively, think about setting up a Commuting Incentive Program with points. Let employees get points for things like cycling or walking to work. Accumulated points can lead to various rewards or prizes.
Lastly, think about bike-sharing and setting up a bike pool. Consider partnering with a bike-sharing provider or setting up your own company. This will give easy access to bicycles for employees who may not own one. This can be particularly helpful for those who want to try cycling to work before committing to buying their own bike. It can also encourage employees to cycle during the work day – to lunch, to the post office or for any other task they need to do that is in the area. This can give them a taste of cycling and encourage them to make the leap to commute by bike too.
Promoting cycling as a viable commuting option within your organisation is a win-win strategy. By implementing these six strategies, you can empower your employees to positively impact their health, the environment, and their overall work experience. Embracing the pedal-powered commute reduces carbon emissions and fosters a sense of camaraderie among colleagues, enhances physical and mental well-being, and contributes to a more sustainable workplace culture.