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Want to improve employee wellness? Make it easier to bike to work

Facilitating bicycle commuting is good for employee wellness. Here's how to make it happen.

John Holmes
April 20, 2023

There are plenty of good reasons to bike to work. It’s cheap, good for the environment and your health, and allows you to start your day by releasing some endorphins. However, if your company doesn’t facilitate bike commuting, it’s not always the most practical way for employees to get to work. Thankfully, there are a number of small changes employers can make so it’s easier for employees to bike to work. 

In this article, we’ll share tips for employers who want to support bike commuting for employees. But first, let’s dive a little deeper on the benefits of bike commuting.

Bike commuting makes happier, healthier employees

There’s evidence that companies that make it easy for their employees to bike to work will have a happier, healthier workforce. For starters, employees who bike to work are less likely to develop heart disease and cancer, and in generally live longer lives. Rose Mazurek, who works at a leading health system in Center City Philadelphia, is a big fan of biking to work. To her, the physical benefits of biking are an added perk to her commute. As she put it: “the fact that you’re getting some bonus exercise ... why not take advantage of that?”

Employees who commute by bike are also more likely to arrive to work in a better mood than employees who do not bike to work. That’s because people who bike are happier while traveling than people who drive. “It’s definitely more fun than getting into a car,” Mazurek said, noting that biking helps her release serotonin. 

rose mazurek bike commuting
Rose Mazurek riding an Indego bike.

Biking is more practical than driving

For Mazurek, biking is also cheaper and more convenient than driving. “Parking [my car] is a nightmare, and it’s very expensive.” In Mazurek’s case, biking is also the fastest option. She lives close enough to walk to work, but says biking gets her there 4x faster. “I like to go home for lunch… so [the time savings] are significant.” 

Biking to work is good for the environment

Aside from the personal benefits, biking is great for the climate. People who replace just one car trip a day with a bike trip can reduce their transportation-related carbon footprint by two thirds.

Additionally, people who bike instead of drive reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in their communities. These pollutants are bad for children’s lungs and cause higher rates of asthma and heart disease.

As you can now see, there are many benefits to biking to work. So how can companies enable their employees to bike commute more often?

How to make it easier for employees to bike to work

Now that you understand the benefits of a bike-to-work program, let's discuss ways that employers can promote biking to work amongst their employees.

Facilities and cultural changes make a big difference

Sheltered, secure bike storage gives bike commuters peace of mind.

There are two types of facilities that can be game changers for would-be bikers:

  • Sheltered, secure bike parking protects employees’ bikes from theft and the elements. 
  • Showers make biking an option during the hot summer months.

There are also cultural changes that can help:

  • Casual office environments help employees feel comfortable arriving at the office in their bike shorts before changing for the workday.
  • Bike to Work Week events are a great way to help coax cycle-curious employees into bike lanes.

Financial incentives are a powerful way to encourage bike commuting

Employers typically subsidize the costs of driving to work. Why shouldn’t the same be true for biking?

Companies should make biking a more financially attractive option for their employees’ commutes. Employers typically subsidize the costs of driving to work with pre-tax travel benefits or free onsite parking. Why can’t the same be done for biking?

Here are a few strategies to make biking more financially appealing to your employees:

  • Give your employees an annual stipend for bike tune-ups to help defray the costs of bike ownership.
  • Offer small cash incentives for employee-logged bike trips. The nonprofit PeopleForBikes offers employees $4 per ride, even if the ride isn’t to or from work.
  • Gamify biking to work. Many fitness tracking apps allow companies to create shared accounts where all employees can track their physical activity and compete with each other to log more miles.
  • Remove the financial burden of bike ownership altogether by offering bike share memberships as an employee benefit. This is where Jawnt can help.

Jawnt can help by offering bike share membership as an employee benefit

There are lots of reasons why bike share can be an attractive option for commuters. Mazurek owns her own bike, but  prefers to use Indego (Philadelphia’s bike share network) to commute because it gives her more flexibility. “I might go to work and then I might want to go across town and meet up with friends for a drink,” she explained. “I like to be able to ditch the bike and not worry about it.”

Thanks to our partnerships with bike share providers, Jawnt can help companies make biking more affordable for employees. We facilitate the sale of bike share memberships to employers who can choose to cover part of or fully subsidize the cost as a part of their employee benefits package. Offering this unique benefit can help with employee wellness, recruitment, and retention. If you'd like to learn more, contact us.

Start your bike-to-work program today

To take advantage of the benefits of bike commuting, remember the three strategies companies can use to make biking easier for their employees: 

1. Offer proper facilities
2. Adjust office culture to be more bike-friendly
3. Provide financial incentives such as a subsidized bike share membership 

These are simple, low-cost ways to make it easier for employees to bike to work. Your employees will thank you as they reap the financial and personal benefits of bicycle commuting.

John Holmes

The Jawnt blog

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