A few months ago, we wrote a blog post asking if Britain was set to experience a cycling boom as people changed how they got about as they adapted to the coronavirus pandemic.
It seems we were right to ask this question as several recent surveys and insights gained from sales show that there has indeed been a boom.
More of us are getting on our bikes and it is likely this trend will only continue as ever more cycle lanes appear and it becomes easier to get about on two wheels.
However, away from the big trends, we are interested in how this can be of benefit to employers. Why should the trend towards bike ownership excite them?
While no overall official figures exist for bike ownership or usage, there is every indication that the last few months have seen a huge growth in both.
Numerous articles in national papers such as this and this have reflected on the increase, and there have been articles in the US, Germany and any other nation you care to name. There is a global trend of people getting on their bikes.
Data from London shows that while public transport usage remains far below pre Covid-19 levels, the number of cycling journeys is higher than was previously the case.
There is a uniformity to the research – cycling is growing in popularity.
The main reason is almost certainly related to coronavirus and was hinted at in the data from London mentioned above.
Many people have concerns over using public transport – there is a fear the bus or train will be too crowded for social distancing to be effective. The requirement to wear a mask at all times can put others off.
A journey on public transport may seem stressful, whereas a bike ride is a chance to get out into the fresh air – admittedly we cannot guarantee that every cycle ride will be without stress.
A desire to get or stay fit and healthy will also play a part for many, cycling an easy way to get in some daily exercise. If this is as a commute to work it is exercise at a time you would only otherwise be sat in row car or on public transport.
Others will have been encouraged by the emergence of more cycle lanes and perhaps that people they know have taken to cycling. As it becomes more commonplace, others too join the cycling revolution.
Whatever the reasons, the growth is real and, for now at least, appears to be continuing.
The fact more are cycling might seem a niche statistic that is of little interest to any business outside those directly involved in producing books or related equipment.
In reality, it should be of interest to any employer regardless of what their line of business happens to be.
Employers can earn goodwill with employees by making it easier for them to get a quality bike at reduced cost.
You have probably heard of Cycle to Work schemes – did you know that any employee buying a £1,000 bike would save £320 if they are a normal rate tax payer and 42% if they pay higher rate?
This is because the bike is bought by the employer with the employee then engaged in a hire arrangement, this comes as a salary sacrifice and so is financially beneficial.
The employer also saves money, on average £83 per bike and up to £138.
The purchasing is easy, an employee would simply search for the bike they wanted via an online hub, with delivery then arranged.
Setting up such a scheme demonstrates that the employer values employees, it sets up schemes which make their life that bit easier and help to save them money. A scheme such as this can boost loyalty, especially as it has been established that workplace benefits can be more highly valued than salary increase.
There can be a perception that a scheme such as this is hard to set ups, an employer having to carry out admin, but bikes, sort of hire arrangements and more. In reality, if done through a workplace benefit expert, there is very little if any ongoing administration. Employees become self-sufficient through the use of an online hub and it is easy to add many other benefits too.
We have produced a short video that explains how the cycle to work scheme works.
For the employer, there is also the benefit of knowing employees are likely to get to work on time each and every day. As we all know, relying on public transport will inevitably lead to the occasional (or not so occasional) delay or cancellation, people will be late through no fault of their own. The same is true of driving to work, sometimes the traffic will be backed up and a journey that usually take 20 minutes will take an hour,.
Cycling is more predictable, especially with ever more cycle lanes opening – some would argue that the opening of more cycle lanes might have two effects – making cycling faster but car journeys slower…
Fitness benefits are obvious, any employer who offers Cycle to Work as a benefit might also want to consider discounted gym membership as these two work superbly in unison.
Establishing a Cycle to Work Scheme saves employer and employee money, boosts loyalty and leads to a fitter, potentially more productive workforce. What’s not to like?
At Enjoy Benefits, we have great experience in helping companies of all sizes introduce benefits that are suitable for their workplace, these including cycle to work schemes.
Benefits are easy to set ups and ongoing administration is then run through a hub, this allowing employees to manage their own benefits while the employer can see which benefits are proving popular and what level of take-up each has had.
If you would like an obligation free chat to discuss which benefits might work for your business and your employees, please contact us by calling 0800 088 7315 or using our Contact Form.