Thursday 8 August is National Cycle-to-Work Day - a dedicated day to promote the benefits of cycling and encourage all cycling abilities to come together.
According to the National Travel Survey statistics report produced in 2017, just 4% of commuting trips in England are cycled each year. That said, major cities which have invested heavily in cycle paths and access have seen significant increases in cycle-commuter numbers. These cities include Brighton, Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.
There are some fantastic benefits that employers can gain from encouraging their teams to take up cycling and to cycle to work - here's our 10 favourites!
10 reasons to encourage staff to cycle to work
Happy, healthier staff! Cycling is a great form of exercise. It’s a good cardio workout that’s low impact and because riders can burn between 400 and 1000 an hour (depending on intensity and rider weight) it can also help with weight loss. Exercise releases the ‘happy’ hormones called endorphins which will help to boost mood and improve mental well-being.
Reduced absences! If staff are taking part in regular exercise they are keeping their minds and bodies fit and healthy which means they are less likely to take time off for being unwell.
Tax benefits! There are tax benefits for both the employer and the employee. Firstly, your employee can purchase a brand-new bike with a saving between 25-39% according to Cyclescheme, one of the Cycle to Work scheme providers. The cost of the bike can be made in monthly instalments direct from their salary as a ‘salary sacrifice’ – as the payment is taken from their gross pay, the savings for them come from paying less tax on their net pay. For the employer the saving is made on reduced National Insurance contributions for the employee.
More tax benefits! If your staff use their bike to travel for businesses purposes (visiting clients for example, but sadly not the commute to and from work) then they are entitled to 20p per mile, tax free. Compared to the entitlement for car mileage of 45p per mile, this is a big saving!
Safety first! The popular cycle to work schemes aren’t only for purchasing the bike. They can be used on essential safety equipment including cycle helmets (which conform to European standard EN 1078); Bells, bulb horns and lights including dynamo packs; Child safety seats; and Reflective clothing along with white front reflectors and spoke reflectors. This means you can be reassured they have the necessary safety equipment to keep them protected.
Positive impact on your local environment! If your staff are commuting on their bikes as opposed to their cars, then you’ll be helping to reduce the congestion and traffic in the local area around your business. Having less cars on the road will actually help to make cycling on the road a bit safer too!
Quicker commutes! Staff can arrive to work in less time that using a car or public transport, avoid the usual traffic hotspots. More than likely they will feel less stressed and more refreshed (especially if they get a longer lie-in!)
Facilities can benefit everyone! We appreciate that having showers and changing facilities may not be an option at all workplaces. Any facilities you can provide will be of benefit to all staff, not just those who are cycling. Your staff may feel able to do some exercise on their lunch break, again boosting mood and morale for the afternoon. You may find that encouraging cycling, and other types of exercise creates the demand for such facilities and that you can justify the investment from the business knowing they will be put to good use. It can then become a staff benefit to promote when recruiting!
Workplace challenges! There are regular workplace cycling challenges that will help to encourage your staff to get on their bike, and bring staff together to work towards a common goal – and have fun whilst doing it! Perhaps it could be part of your next team building exercise? Or you could consider a cycle challenge to help raise money for a local charity you wish to support?
Supporting your local business community! There are over 2,000 retailers involved with the cycle-to-work schemes, meaning your staff can likely use a local retailer to purchase their bike and accessories from. You could even build relationships with the neighouring businesses and challenge them to a cycling competition!
Introducing employee benefits such as the cycle-to-work scheme needn't add to your admin processes.
If you're concerned that HR related admin is already consuming too much of your time and you want to be more efficient, talk to us about your business. Our services help business owners reduce the stress and time they spend on the required admin related to employing staff - they are necessary and required by law!