Lockdown demonstrated the latent demand for cycling, including cycle commuting. Here’s how to persuade your staff to keep pedalling.
Even before the pandemic, there were good reasons to be a cycle-friendly employer. Because cycling supports health and social distancing, it’s more important than ever to promote it now. You already do that to an extent by offering Cyclescheme to your staff; there are fewer bigger disincentives to cycle than not having a bike! Of the other things you could do to encourage staff to ride to work, there are some ‘big ticket’ measures that stand out.
Sheffield stands – those hoops you see in town centres – costs as little as £30 each. A row of these is much better than nothing. But there’s more to cycle parking than anchor points for locks. Cycle parking should offer protection from the weather. It should be well lit, so that staff feel comfortable using it in the dark. And, above all, it should be conveniently situated so staff don’t have to go out of their way to use it. Like the estate agents say: location, location, location!
It’s perfectly possible to cycle to work in office clothes and avoid getting sweaty by riding at a steady pace on a suitable bike or e-bike. But sportier cyclists and many potential cyclists in general will be put off if they can’t shower and change on arrival. Install at least two showers if possible – one for men, one for women. Most people expect gendered changing facilities.
A locker is useful even for the cyclist who commutes in everyday clothes. It’s a better place to stash their essential cycling gear than underneath their desk. For the cyclist who gets changed at work, a locker is essential – for cycle clothing, shoes, helmet, towel, toiletries, and more.
Isn’t that the job of cycling organisations such as British Cycling and Cycling UK? On a national level, yes. On a local level, you can make a difference by asking your council for better cycling infrastructure near your workplace. New cyclists and would-be cyclists don’t want to mix with heavy traffic, and even experienced cyclists dislike doing so. So ask for that segregated cycle track. Lobby for a toucan crossing (a pelican crossing for cyclists) over that busy road. You are speaking for lots of cyclists, potentially, so the council should at least consider your proposal.
Cycling staff are more punctual, more productive, and take fewer days off sick. They save you money. Why not give some of that back? Take sick pay: on average, cyclists take two days fewer off sick each year. Assuming £100 a day sick pay, that’s a saving of around £4 per week. You can afford to refund this. Some firms do: Islabikes pays staff up to £4 per day to commute by bike; Raleigh pays staff 10p per mile cycled.
Whilst cash is a great incentive, why not look at using gift cards or eCodes to ‘refund’ this saving to your staff? Our parent company, Blackhawk Network, specialises in employee engagement, rewards and incentives. Rewarding via gift cards, eGifts and eCodes is fast, scalable and cost effective. And as the saying goes, ‘it’s the thought that counts’; rewarding with something tangible always leaves a big impression.