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.

What are the real benefits of 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.

And of course, active commuting also helps reduce other costs, such as infrastructure. Parking expenses can be saved when more employees choose to bike to work instead of driving alone. 

Consider these five tips to promote bike commuting:

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. Offer incentives and nudges

One of the main barriers to adopting an active commute is a lack of motivation to try something new. Without a catalyst, most of us just default to driving alone. Employers can overcome this by incorporating science-based nudges and rewarding smart commute choices. For example, personalized recommendations alone can have a huge impact on commute mode choice. 

Daily incentives or regular prize drawings are effective motivators for sustainable mobility such as cycling, carpooling and transit. Whatever your budget, a program like Pave Commute that combines financial incentives with nudges and gamification can maximize the impact and reduce administrative costs to make a commuter program accessible to any size business.

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. 

Make commuting part of your workforce management strategy

Daily commute habits can be some of the hardest to change, but small shifts can make a big difference. When you support employees in adopting a smarter commute, you can help them save money, improve health and well-being, and boost productivity — all while empowering every employee to contribute to corporate sustainability initiatives. 

Pave Commute is an app-based program for commuters that leverages behavioral science and artificial intelligence to provide each commuter with personalized planning and social support, and rewards them for making smart choices. Launch Pave Commute for your employees with a few clicks. There are plans to fit every type of organization.

Get started today!

Let’s discuss your commuter experience!

The team behind Pave Commute provides commute solutions used by top employers and government agencies around the world. If you want to learn more about applying science-based approaches to the commute, or if you are looking for technology to support innovative research, get in touch with us here.

Lisa Oberstaller

Lisa Oberstaller

Marketing Manager
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