You don’t have to have an accreditation to be a cycle friendly employer, but it certainly helps!
In April 2019, Cyclescheme earned the right to proudly display a gold Cycle Friendly Employer (CFE) accreditation outside the Bath office.
In this article, we will explore:
- why as a business it was important that we undertook this accreditation,
- how we achieved gold standard, and
- how we can help you achieve a rating at your workplace.
The case for promoting cycling:
Transport is now the largest contributor of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the UK following a noticeable decline in emissions from the energy sector; in 2018, 27% of all GHGs were caused by motorised transport which amounted to 126.33 million Metric Tons of CO2 Equivalent (MTCO2E).
Just over a quarter of that epic volume of CO2 was generated by vehicles transporting people to and from work and for business purposes. That means that everyday commuters generated a whopping 34,100,000 MTCO2E in 2018 alone!
Comprehensive assessments by scientists link the rise in global temperature over the last 200 years to an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels. Greenhouse gas levels are now well above the natural cycle of the last 800,000 years. This change threatens the survival of certain ecosystems, exacerbates extreme weather events and threatens productivity resulting in economic losses.
As is this isn’t impactful enough, Prof. Mark Jacobson of Standford University conducted research which quantitatively proved a link between increased levels of C02 and an increased risk of death. This is because the chemical and meteorological changes as a result of greater CO2 levels produce a large volume of ozone, particles and carcinogens in the air.
Businesses have a vital role to play in reducing CO2 generation and making local communities (and ultimately, our planet) a cleaner and healthier place to live. And this is where cycling comes in!
A simple solution…
For many years, bike brand Trek promoted an excellent statement which summarised why cycling is so important...
“The bicycle is a simple solution to some of the worlds most complicated problems.
The bicycle is the most efficient form of human transportation.
It can combat climate change, ease urban congestion, and build human fitness.
It brings us together, yet allows us to escape.
And it takes us places we would never see any other way.”
This mantra further builds the case for cycling by reminding us that as an activity it has many powerful and positive outputs; from practicality and personal fitness to mental health and our ability to see and enjoy the world around us.
In addition, Cyclescheme has undertaken extensive surveying and desk research over the years and we believe that workers who cycle are happier, healthier and wealthier! For example, our data shows that 67% of employees reported being more productive after cycling to work and over 74% enjoyed increased levels of fitness and physical and mental wellbeing.
If you want to know the impact cycling could make on your business, you can forecast it using our employer impact calculator. Individual riders can also crunch the numbers on their personal commute too.
Why the Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation matters:
All businesses care about outcomes and results, but it is impossible to know how effective something is if you’ve not got data or a baseline to measure from. This is what the CFE provides. The CFE benchmarks the performance of your workplace in categories such as facilities provision and engagement activity. It also advocates (and can support you with undertaking) travel surveys, so that year-on-year comparisons can be made and feedback on cycling issues at work or in the local area can be raised.
When it comes to improving your workplace cycling provisions, you need to know what you’re aiming for. After all, it’s hard to plan a journey if you’ve not got a definitive destination. CFE can provide you with a roadmap. Your location might have poor facilities at the moment or indeed they could be top-notch, but there will always be something you can do to improve the picture or boost the results you’re seeing.
CFE focuses on 5 key categories:
- Information, communication and incentives for employees
- Coordination and organisation
- Services for employees
- Parking management
The CFE team meticulously document your cycling offering. They get under the skin of what you do now, recommend ideas you could easily implement and provide a steer on how to spend your precious facilities budget in a way that will get the most impact.
Each category scores points, and your workplace can select which category measures reflect your needs and account for any constraints; be it size, location or the type of office you are based in.
To achieve accreditation, your workplace must meet some compulsory measures like cycle parking and providing information to employees, plus reach the minimum score for each category. The higher the overall score, the higher accreditation level is attained out of Bronze, Silver or Gold.
How Cyclescheme scored gold:
Cyclescheme has always worked hard to practice what it preaches. Naturally, not all our staff cycle but many do. What’s more – we’re immensely proud that many colleagues who did not cycle prior to joining us are now avid enthusiasts.
Information, communication and incentives for employees
We jump straight onto any activity that promotes cycling and often translate national events into something local and relevant for our staff. This includes Bike Week, Cycle to Work Day, Cycle September and Winter Wheelers.
We plan our own events too. The biggest of these is the ‘Hundred Mile Commute’; our intercompany bike ride. In 2019 the ride was revolutionised to enable riders of any capability to join in; this inclusive approach saw more riders getting involved.
We also have an evergreen comms effort; we make sure we always have resources and advice available to every one of our employees. We disseminate the content via our internal cycling SharePoint site and via our Love to Ride community. Information includes advice on route planning, our cycle to work scheme and loan bikes. Riders who engage with our Love to Ride community regularly earn kudos and rewards. For example, 4 riders are rewarded every quarter based on their engagement and activity results.
Coordination and organisation
To achieve a CFE accreditation, your workplace must have a cycle coordinator. Larger organisations may also consider having Bicycle User Groups (BUGs). To have a dedicated person or people organising activity, prompting HR to do more and responding positive to any requests for support is invaluable.
It’s also important to get organised and ensure cycle commuting participation is recorded so that any increases in participation or behaviour change can be monitored. At Cyclescheme, we do this via the Love to Ride platform; this enables us to not only monitor peoples willingness to ride but whether that desire was translated into activity (and if so, how often!).
We also deliver our market-leading cycle to work scheme to colleagues. As a cycle to work provider, we go out of our way to make the scheme accessible. It’s easy for colleagues to join and we use one of our own features – the ability to pass on employers National Insurance Contribution savings - to make the scheme as attractive as possible.
Services for employees
One of the key services we extend Cyclescheme employees is the facility to borrow a bike for almost any purpose. We’re provisioned for work trips via a bevvy of beautiful Bromptons and can also secure test bikes for colleagues looking to start commuting, leisure riding or even do their first sportive.
We also extend all the same benefits we offer our cycle to work clients to our own employees. These include Bike Register (a facility to have your bike auto-registered onto the national cycle database), Cycle Guard (a 10% discount on cycle insurance), discounted British Cycling membership (that affords riders deals, support and liability cover) and access to Love to ride (our chosen behaviour change platform).
In addition, we periodically organise Dr. Bikes sessions for our staff and undertake roadshows to promote the joys of cycling and the cycle to work scheme.
Facilities is a really strong point for Cyclescheme; we’ve invested in our working environment and given specific thought to how we can support and prioritise active colleagues. For example, we’ve ensured our bike parking lockers are closer to the office than our car parking.
Our outdoor bike lockers are substantial and well-lit outdoor bike lockers, and when those are full - we’ve got additional and easy to access ground floor bike parking indoors. Once colleagues have secured their bikes, they can enjoy the use of our shower facilities which are provided at a 15 people to 1 shower ratio. Once out of the shower, there are spacious changing facilities with plenty of kit drying racks and lockers for the team to enjoy. We even have a washer and a dryer so that staff can stay on top of their laundry if need be (all those rides mean colleagues often get through a few more changes of clothes than their more sedate counterparts)!
Cyclescheme has limited car parking spaces (restricted to essential users only) and we have reduced space further by adding bike lockers and a picnic bench for employees to use.
Cyclescheme has also relinquished its fleet vehicles and is now agile in only renting vehicles when it’s unavoidable.
Helping you achieve a CFE accreditation:
Cyclescheme can help you on your road to becoming a cycle friendly employer is 3 distinct ways.
1. We can run your cycle to work scheme for free! Ensuring you get a fantastic employee engagement and take-up rate and delivering real-world and highly impactful results!
2. When you run a scheme through us, you can extend our added-value extras to your workforce.
3. We can save you money on the CFE accreditation itself, thanks to our long-standing and proactive relationship with Cycling UK we can offer all Cyclescheme customers a unique 20% discount on the CFE program.
|Register for Cyclescheme||Learn about CFE|
|This article was written by Laurence Boon, Product Manager for Cyclescheme.|