As an employer, have you considered whether the workplace you provide for your employees is cycle friendly? If you haven't, you're not alone, but it's a consideration that may have benefits for both you and your employees in the long term.
You can't have missed the fact that climate change is a big issue worldwide and will continue to be an area of focus in years to come. Combined with a drive, particularly in western countries, for healthier lifestyles and better levels of personal fitness, the idea of cycling to work has become a serious option for many people.
The benefits of cycling to work are reasonably clear for the employee who's using the bike. Not only are there health and weight loss benefits to be gained, but the cost of cycling for most people will be a fraction of the cost of running a motor vehicle for the daily commute.
As the employer though, what's in it for you? Well, just as the employee gains from a healthier lifestyle and an increased level of fitness, so would you as their employer. Healthier people are also more likely to be happier staff. It's well understood that when people feel fitter and healthier, they feel better in general about themselves, increasing productivity and morale. Healthier employees are also more likely to have less sick days due to their improved general health.
How to promote a cycle friendly workplace
So what can you do to encourage your employees to cycle to work and support the commitment that they are making? Making the workplace cycle friendly is an important consideration. Only hard core cyclists will persist with cycling to a workplace that is hostile to the use of bicycles, meaning that the majority of your workforce will not feel in a position to cycle to work and gain the benefits of doing so. By investing a relatively small amount of money and space, you can encourage many more of your employees.
Bicycles need to be securely parked while your employees are working, but since they take up much less space than a car, you can store many more bicycles in the same amount of space. If you have car parking spaces, consider dedicating a few of them to bicycle parking and storage. The installation of bike racks or lockable storage can be done quite cheaply and is a visible indication of your commitment. It may also allow more of your employees to park beside the workplace if car parking has always been at a premium.
When cyclists get to work they will usually want to get changed, so installing some lockers in a room where people can get cleaned and changed would help. Employees will be put off if they feel concerned about not being able to get changed in private or having to sit all day in sweaty clothes. If you have a space or a room where you could put some lockers, why not mark it as a changing room? Better still; install showers in the toilet facilities. Modern shower units can be bought cheaply and most contractors can fit them easily and quickly.
The bottom line
If cycling to work is going to take off and employers are to gain the benefits of a fitter, happier workforce, some commitment to support the initiative will be needed. Making your workplace cycle friendly is a visible and unequivocal statement of your commitment to your employees' well-being, allowing you to gain productivity and morale benefits for very little monetary investment.