Today (8th August) is cycle to work day in the UK, therefore HRreview asked professionals what they think of the biggest national cycle commute event of the year.
Across the board, cycle to work day seems to have the backing of people in HR as well as the wider community. Obvious advantages to the day is saving money on commutes, less of a carbon footprint and employees getting their daily exercise.
Jamie Mackenzie, director at Sodexo Engage said:
With evidence suggesting that cycling to work helps reduce the risk of developing cancer and heart disease, it’s clear that these schemes result in a healthier workforce, as well as a richer one, since the cost of commuting is reduced to zero.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Employers that implement cycle-to-work schemes can save up to 13.8 per cent on National Insurance contributions for the people who opt in. In addition, as cycling is such a low-carbon way to travel, cycle-to-work schemes can help to bolster the company’s green credentials
A cycle to work scheme was introduced in the Finance Act 1999 to promote healthier journeys to work. It is a UK Government tax exemption which allows employers to loan bikes and cycling equipment as a tax-free benefit. The employee can hire a bike and then buy it at a reduced value.
This year the day is collaborating with Cyclescheme’s Love to Ride community.
Jeanette Wheeler, HR director at MHR, a payroll and HR provider backs the campaign and states there are five ways in which to make your business bike friendly. They are:
- Start celebrating Cycle to Work Day, by offering free breakfasts to those who cycle in.
- Provide changing facilities and lockers, give employees an area to change in from their work clothes
- Promote safety with cycle proficiency training, help employees become more confident on the roads
- Keep bikes safe and secure, give employees access to bike racks
- Roll out a cycle to work scheme, these are cost-free and easy to set up.
Ms Wheeler said:
Cycling to and from work is the easiest way to build regular exercise into your day. If you struggle to find the motivation to go the gym after work, or to leave the house again once you’re home (this is probably most of us!), then commuting by bike means it’s job done by dinner time.
Cycle to work regularly and you could save thousands of pounds on fuel and car park charges. In city centres, parking in itself can cost over £2,000 per year if your employer is unable to provide free spaces for your car – money that you’d probably much rather spend elsewhere.
David Price, CEO of Health Assured, a health and wellbeing network in the UK backs the advantages of the day but also gives caution to some aspects this mode of transport can raise.
Mr Price said:
It is important to consider that some employees who are not used to cycling may find this form of commute much more challenging than others. Whilst some employees may feel invigorated by this exercise, it may cause others to become more fatigued and impact upon their ability to conduct their role.
Presentation is also a factor; if you maintain a dress code, you are going to want to ensure that all the bikers can smarten up before starting work.
Whether you should encourage your employees to cycle to work will depend upon your company’s location and its demands. This form of commute may simply not be possible for all companies, especially if its employees all live far away from work, and you should consider if doing so is a viable option for you.