With furlough over and restrictions easing, it’s time to start promoting your Cyclescheme benefit in readiness for your new normal.
Many staff have been absent from their workplaces during the pandemic, but the easing of COVID restrictions will see more home workers and those returning from furlough venturing back to the office. The daily commute is already back for some and is likely to return for many in the coming months. For the sake of health, wealth, punctuality, productivity, and the environment, it’s important that we collectively take the opportunity to encourage as many returnee commuters to travel to work by bike (or on foot) as possible.
Now’s the time to prepare for the return to your workplace.
It might not be peak cycle season right now, and you might not even be expecting staff to return to your workplace just yet, but it’s worth considering how long it will take you to a) convert your current non-cyclists, and b) whether you need to service or upgrade your workplace cycling facilities.
Promote your scheme
Everyone benefits when more of your staff cycle to work. Yet it can be hard to persuade anyone to change their habits, and the choice of how they commute is no different. Now is an ideal time to develop new habits. A return to the workplace after months away represents an opportunity to do things differently, to start over.
People are reportedly ready to get on their bikes: 51% of employees say they’d like to cycle to work now. Maybe they wheeled an old bike out of the shed during lockdown and rediscovered the joy of cycling? Maybe they became more aware, during the pandemic, of how much healthier cycling is than other forms of transport? Either way, the interest in cycling is there, so leverage that.
Some of your staff, quite likely existing cyclists, will already be looking to get hold of a Cyclescheme bike. For them, the fact that you offer Cyclescheme may be enough in itself. To reach other staff – the would be, could be, should be cyclists – you’ll need to promote the scheme.
There’s more to persuading someone than just telling them the facts. People know that cycling is good for them, just like they know they should eat more vegetables. However, behaviour change happens when people feel they should do something different, not when they merely know that they should.
Show, don’t tell
Don’t just tell them the benefits of commuting by bike: show them. You can find videos on Cyclescheme’s YouTube page. Sharing them company-wide is as simple as clicking ‘share’ and choosing the most appropriate platform for your business.
Get hands on
You can do the same with videos you make yourself and upload to YouTube. Do-it-yourself videos don’t have to be Scorsese standard. All you need is 30 seconds of footage from your phone’s video camera, with a voiceover that says: “Did you know we’ve got a dozen covered cycle stands? You’ll find them to the left of such-and-such building. Don’t forget your lock.” You can do the same for other cycle-friendly amenities, such as showers or lockers. Spruce them up before shooting. If there’s a rusted old bike with its wheels missing locked to one of your Sheffield stands, remove it first.
Instead of telling staff how many calories cycle commuting can burn or how much CO2 it will save, send them a link to Cyclescheme’s calculator and let them do the maths. Don’t tell them how quick cycling journeys can be: send them a link to Citymapper or the National Cycle Network so they can plot their own journey between home and work.
Overcome potential hurdles
There’s a couple of things that complicate the promotion of cycle commuting as we head deeper into autumn and winter. Cycling is by far an easier sell in spring, when the weather is getting better and the days are getting longer. The colder, wetter, and potentially icier days are far less appealing.
Lead by example
You can help counter employee assumptions that cycle commuting is too difficult or unpleasant in the autumn and winter by leading by example. Continue to ride to work yourself when you can. When the boss is cycling, it sends out a more compelling message.
The company Facebook page, Twitter feed, WhatsApp group, or internal email could include links to articles about winter cycling and mixed-mode commuting. Staff can then see how it’s possible to keep warm, dry and safe as conditions worsen – or how to alter their commute so they’re only cycling for part of it. It’s also worth reminding staff that they’re not obliged to use their Cyclescheme bike every day. Being a fair-weather cyclist is okay. It’s better for your employees and for you if they commute by bike some of the time rather than none of the time.
Invest in your facilities
If you expect more employees to begin cycle commuting, make sure that there is ample bike parking and storage to support them. There’s nothing worse than arriving at the office and having nowhere to safely secure your bike or change into dry clothes.
Parking, storage and wash facilities don’t have to be expensive, but investing in good quality, secure solutions will encourage those employees feeling a little hesitant to at least give it a try.
It may take time
Don’t give up if your first Cyclescheme promotion doesn’t generate a swathe of new cyclists. Like any ‘sales cycle’, it’s likely you’ll need to convey the message multiple times across different touch points before you see much traction.
Ready to add Cyclescheme as an employee benefit?