Are green employee benefits the way forward?

The UK Government recently introduced its refreshed Cycle to Work scheme, designed to help more employees get access to e-bikes for easier, greener journeys to work. The new scheme should also help employees get to work quicker without the stress of traffic. The main message that came with the newly refreshed scheme is that it will help reduce carbon emissions and switch more employees over to a greener commute.

With this considered, is it time we focused more on greener, more environmentally friendly employee benefits and initiatives?

Here are a few ways you can help your employees reduce their carbon emissions.

Bike to Work Scheme
As we’ve just mentioned, a bike to work scheme is a fantastic, environmentally friendly employee benefit scheme. With the new changes, now would be a great time to introduce it to your employees if you haven’t already.

If you already run a bike to work scheme but your scheme window is currently closed to employees, now would be a great time to reopen it to give your employees access to the latest e-bikes that they might not have had in your previous scheme window.

If your bike scheme window is open, think about redesigning your communications to employees to emphasise the new changes and what it means for them.

Encouraging your employees to liftshare to and from the workplace is a great, easy and cost-free way to help your employees cut down on their carbon emissions. This can be worked into your employee benefits platform if you have one. This will allow your employees that sign up to see who lives local to them and can liftshare.

Car Benefit Scheme
A car benefit scheme might not sound like the most environmentally friendly scheme in the world, but actually it’s a scheme that’s getting greener year by year. A car benefit scheme will not only give your employees access to petrol and diesel powered vehicles but electric vehicles too.

Moving forward, the UK Government is looking to make it easier for people to afford electric vehicles. This will also apply to cars on car benefit schemes.

Currently, the UK Government offer private buyers £3,500 off the price of a brand-new car that is classed as a ULEV (any vehicle that emits 75g/km CO2 or less). This discount is also reflected in car benefit schemes and thus ULEV vehicles leased through car benefit schemes are much cheaper as a result.

Furthermore, companies can claim up to 75% back on the cost of buying and installing a chargepoint for electric vehicles (up to a maximum of £500 per chargepoint).

From 2020, there’ll be big tax breaks for anyone who takes on a ULEV vehicle, even more so if the car emits less than 50g/km CO2.

Going forward, car benefit schemes will be cheaper and greener for your employees.

Charity Salary Sacrifice
If you don’t already, why not consider offering your employees a way to donate to charity through salary sacrifice? Some companies allow their employees to donate some of their salary through salary sacrifice each month to a charity that is focused on helping the environment.

These could be charities focused on planting trees, conducting invaluable research or those dedicated to spreading awareness about the state of our environment and the world we live in.

A simple, yet effective way to help make positive change towards protecting our environment.

Your Platform – paperless is the way forward!
Simply having an employee benefits platform that houses all your employee benefits is greener than having a paper-based employee benefits system. Moving everything employee-benefits-based to digital will be cheaper and will help your business use less paper.

Other Initiatives
Aside from employee benefits, there are loads of ways you can go green. M&S, for example, funded free loft insulation for their employees. Some companies run volunteering programmes where their employees take part in schemes that focus on the environment like planting trees.

With the new cycle to work scheme and the UK Government introducing further help and tax breaks on fuel efficient vehicles, there’s no better time to introduce or relaunch green employee benefit schemes. You could even consider tailoring your communications for your schemes to suit this new message.