Employees who bike or walk to work are healthier, happier, and more productive. So how can you encourage them to do it?
We make bike racks. We install them all over the world. You would think our employees would bike to work. But as of 2003, less than 25% of them did. We wanted to increase that number, and not just because, given our business, it makes total sense. Employees who bike to work:
are healthier, happier, and more productive
have lower health-related expenses.
save money on gas and or other commuting-related expenses
promote your green business.
To get your bike program rolling, here’s what you can do.
Provide bicycle parking. Make the worst bike parking spaces closer to the door than the best car parking spaces. Make sure they are secure. Covered bike parking gets bonus points.
Add showers. Why don’t people bike to work? Generally, it’s because there isn’t a safe bike route, there isn’t a safe place to park their bike, and there’s nowhere to shower. We still haven’t done this, and it’s no coincidence that it’s the most expensive thing on the list. If you can’t or don’t feel like building showers in your office, consider a program with a local gym or Y.
Company car for meetings. Employees won’t bike to work if they can’t get to that afternoon meeting 20 miles away. A company car reserved specifically for such instances sure would help.
Track and post miles biked, calories burned, the amount of CO2 reduced and gallons of gas saved. Educate your workforce on the difference they are making by biking. For many, this will be the best reward of all.
Friendly competitions. Pit Sales against Accounting or the Boston office against Seattle for some team building fun.
Recognize and reward achievement. Celebrate results, particularly among groups. Maybe you can treat the bikers to lunch every Wednesday during the summer.
Pay to bike or walk. Pay people three dollars per day for biking into work. Coupled with gas savings, employees will realize this is real money that starts adding up quickly.
Buy everyone a bike. Do this, and everyone will know you’re serious about making change happen. And you’ll eliminate the “no bike” excuse.
Over the years, we’ve put many of these incentives in place. Now, more than 50% of our employees bike or walk on a regular basis, all year long. If we can make that happen even through our famously ferocious Minnesota winters, you can too!
HANS STEEGE is a co-owner and the CEO of Dero, a Minneapolis-based business that builds bicycle-friendly communities worldwide. Before landing at Dero, Hans worked as an engineer in the machine design and product development industries.