67% feel employers could do more to encourage active commuting


More than two-thirds (67%) of respondents believe that employers can make allowances to help encourage employees to have a more active commute, according to research by social enterprise organisation Free2cycle.

The survey of 2,000 UK individuals highlighted initiatives such as introducing flexible start times, providing access to changing facilities and offering incentives for equipment, such as cycle to work schemes. It further revealed that only 8% of respondents have any of the aforementioned allowances in place provided by their employer.

The research also found that of those surveyed:

  • 22% do not walk or cycle on their commute for work-related reasons, for example, because they do not have the appropriate facilities to get changed afterwards or they feel too embarrassed about colleagues seeing them hot, sweaty or in activewear.
  • 12% do not walk or cycle to work because money is an issue, and they cannot afford to buy a bike.
  • 10% who drive or take public transport to work believe they are less productive as a result of their journey, compared to 5% who have an active commute.
  • 26% who travel to work by car, motorbike or public transport feel stressed by their commute, compared to 9% who walk or cycle.
  • 18% who commute via driving or public transport think their journey to work makes them miserable, compared to 9% who have an active commute.
  • 23% who do not walk or cycle to work believe their commute drains their finances, compared to only 6% of those who walk or cycle.

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Eric Craig (pictured), chief executive officer at Free2cycle, said: “Our research shows that those who choose a more active journey feel less stressed by their trip to work and, [are] more productive than other commuters. This is because [employees are] more productive when [they are] fitter. [Employees are] also more well in [themselves]; which in turn reduces the likelihood of sick days. Making [commuting] part of a regular exercise routine can make [staff] happier, smarter and more energetic, [while] also being good for mental health.

“Our findings cement the daily horror stories about the unfit, unproductive and unwell UK workforce. An active commute is a great way to improve health, wellbeing and [the] environment. However, as our research shows, the nation is finding the sedentary daily commute physically and mentally straining and is crying out to for organisations to provide the facilities and initiatives to switch to a more active commute. This needs to change. UK [employers] are responsible for leading a change in prioritising health and wellbeing of their teams, and for this to be successful, they should include considering how they get to and from work.”