by Sarah Braker
We’re celebrating National Bike to Work Day on May 18, but in our opinion most days could be bike to work day—you just need to get the right people on board. Leadership from the top is important in any workplace, and having your boss or HR manager promote biking to work could be the jumpstart your colleagues need. You know those folks are busy, and always thinking about the bottom line, so you need to be able to quickly and effectively present the argument that biking to work is good for your company. How do you do that? Here are three solid arguments to help you make the case.
1. Biking to work makes for more productive employees
The strongest argument for getting your boss behind bike commuting is that he or she will get more from their staff. A 2012 study concluded that, “aerobic activity is indeed a powerful modulator of structural brain plasticity.” What that means in layman’s terms is that people who exercise regularly actually have more brain growth than those who don’t. Biking to work incorporates exercise into a commute, making it the perfect way to get where you need to go while simultaneously stimulating your brain. You could be one quick ride away from your next big and brilliant idea.
2. Biking to work can lower health insurance costs
Two studies published in the journal “Aging Cell” provide evidence that regular bike riding throughout adulthood protects against a variety of age-related health issues including loss of muscle mass, strength, and immune system deficiencies. Read the first and second papers here. Healthier employees mean fewer sick days and lower health insurance costs. In a 2014 interview about her book Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save The Economy, Elly Blue pointed out a program run by Quality Bicycle Products, a bike and bike part distributor in Minnesota. “QBP is one of a handful of companies across that country that are starting to actually pay employees money to bike to work,” she said. “After a year of doing this, they found they’d paid out $45,000 to bike-commuting workers and saved about $200,000 on healthcare claims that year.” Now that’s an argument for biking you can put in the bank.
3. Biking to work makes for a happier staff
You might be spending at least eight hours a day with your coworkers, so it’s hard not to affect each other’s moods. If someone is having a bad day, that grouchiness can be contagious. But good moods can catch on as well, and that’s where bike riding comes in. A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that, “those who cycled to work were less stressed than their counterparts who arrived by car.” It’s hard to imagine any manager who wouldn’t want their employees coming in refreshed and happy, instead of stressed out.
Biking to work isn’t for everyone, but there are plenty of people who might adopt the behavior with just a little encouragement. Having a boss or HR manager to help could be just the motivation they need, and these arguments can help you get the support from the higher-ups to turn bike commuting from an afterthought to a company-promoted practice.