5 tips on how to promote active commuting and boost employee wellness

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Reduce absenteeism, boost employee experience and well-being, and reduce emissions all at the same time? This isn’t wishful thinking. Commuting benefits are part of a well-rounded employee benefits offering, and with the right program, they can contribute to improved wellness and support corporate sustainability initiatives. In this article, we’ll share tips to help employees fit in an active commute that works for them.

How healthy is cycling?

Sitting for 8 hours takes a real toll on our cardiovascular health. Studies show that those who don’t balance that with at least 5 hours of exercise per week can face up to 80% higher risk of dangerous heart problems. Full-time workers often find it hard to fit in exercise, so shifting to a bike commute can have a huge positive impact on overall health.

As studies have shown, commuting by bike pays off, as it is associated with increased mental and physical wellbeing. Bike commuters are the happiest commuters because, among other things, they have a lot of control over their start and arrival time, and the small workout heightens their mood. So cycling is not only good for the climate, but also for health. Promoting cycling in companies is therefore also an attractive employee wellness strategy.

Cycling also helps companies save costs

As mentioned, promoting active commuting such as cycling has important benefits for employee experience and satisfaction. At the same time, there is an even more direct return on investment for businesses when commuters choose this climate-friendly mode — reduced incidence of illness and unscheduled absenteeism. According to one study, the savings for active commuters are about one sick day per year, and that translates to hundreds of dollars per employee.

 

Five tips to promote bike commuting in your company:

1. Consider the commuter experience.

In a global survey by Ipsos, 52% of respondents said it was too dangerous to cycle on a daily basis. The results also show that higher perception of safety makes it much more likely that people will try a bike commute. Respondents in the Netherlands, where the rate of bike commuting is as high as 30%, described their bike routes as very safe.

Employers can provide important impulses and support public administration in improving the infrastructure for cyclists. This covers bike lanes, bike crossings, and structurally segregated bike lanes. Encouraging biking in groups can also make commuters feel safer on the way to work. Of course, providing facilities to support bike commuters is a huge win. If you’re providing parking and EV charging for cars, make sure you also have safe bike storage and even E-bike charging near the entrance to the workplace. You can boost biking even more by offering a shower and changing facility on site. 

2. Subsidize bike ownership.

Do workers have a bike they can use to get to work? In the Ipsos survey, 63% of respondents said they could cycle, but only 42% owned one.

Adding bike subsidies to your benefits offering is a win-win. Commuter bikes may even be tax deductible. 

Alternatively, bikes don’t necessarily have to be purchased. Companies like RidePanda offer customized lease and service options in an all-inclusive package for companies.

3. Make bike maintenance easy.

Don’t let a flat tire ruin an employee’s day. Flats, broken lights, and other minor adjustments can take their toll, and drive people back to their cars. Employers that offer on-site bike tune-ups once a year or so can help promote cycling. This is easy to arrange in partnership with a local bike shop. In general, having essential tools such as chain spray, an air pump, and a basic repair kit available near the bike parking area can help avoid the need for an emergency ride home. 

4. Create incentives to increase motivation

One of the main barriers to an active and healthy commute is lack of motivation. Sticking to the routine of commuting with your own car is very tempting, isn’t it? To overcome this, climate-friendly behavior in the workforce must be rewarded. Vouchers and prize draws (canteen vouchers, additional vacation, free rental of an e-car for the weekend, etc.) have proven to be very valuable motivators for sustainable mobility such as cycling, carpooling and transit.

At Pave Commute, we offer a hands-off recognition app for sustainable commuting, drawing on the experience of companies that have encouraged their workforce to commute in a climate-friendly manner. The incentives don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. They embody a sign of appreciation and employees notice how the company prioritizes climate change and employee health. Bicycling should be actively exemplified by managers under the motto: “Company bike instead of company car.

5. Get the word out

As you introduce more pro-bike policies, make sure your employees know about them! Commute options should be incorporated seamlessly into your workplace communications strategy, from onboarding on. You don’t have to do it all yourself! Connect employees with peers who share similar commutes and can help one another adopt new habits. A commuting benefits app like Pave Commute can do this automatically with smart recommendations and Commute Groups. 

Sustainable mobility is not a flash in the pan

…but it’s also no rocket science, as long as you use the right tool. Weave your mobility concept into your corporate culture for the long term. Replace old commuting habits by climate-friendly active alternatives through targeted, ongoing measures. In this way, you will succeed in advancing CHM while fostering a culture of sustainability among your workforce.

With the sustainable commuter recognition app Pave Commute, commuters can have their trips recorded and see immediately how much CO2 they have saved. As an additional motivation, commute groups can be formed and coins are collected for climate-friendly commutes, which can then be exchanged for rewards in the app. Leverage active commuting for a healthier, happier workforce with a hands-off tool that requires 1-2 hours of administration per month on average to succeed.

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Lisa Oberstaller
Marketing Manager
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