Helping employees beyond lockdown

With the UK government encouraging more people to walk and cycle to relieve pressure on the public transport system, and more business adapting to working from home it essential that employees feel confident and supported with their new normal.

In this article we've captured some recommendations to help you sustain a happy, healthy workforce.

Help employees feel safe

Staff may be struggling with the concept of returning to the office due to their commute or increased social interactions. Help them feel safe by following government guidance on office cleaning and occupation density. Think about low cost interventions such as enrolling in a Cycle to Work scheme and increasing secure cycle storage (see overleaf).

Flexibility to work from home

Increasing opportunities to work from home and flexible hours could save your company money, improve performance, increase employee retention and reduce stress.

Consider making this a more permanent option to support your workforce, and:

  • Encourage staff to be active and take regular breaks during the day.
  • Assist them with setting up a suitable workspace in their home, ensuring it’s comfortable and conforms with DSE assessments.
  • Keep in regular contact. Make sure they feel part of the team and are included in the decision-making process, but avoid overloading them with unnecessary video calls.
  • Enable staff to get exercise. Consider allowing some time for them to make a daily “commute” by way of a walk or cycle to prepare them for the day.
  • Encourage employees to keep to a work routine, with a clear finishing time which separates work and home life.
Blockquote quotation marks
Working from home has been shown to increase performance by 13%, halve attrition and significantly increase work satisfaction Blockquote quotation marks
Bloom et al, 2014

Consider business mileage

Business mileage costs time and money, but COVID-19 has shown us how we can adapt as a workforce to online meetings. Decisions still get made, items are actioned and relationships with clients and funders continue to strengthen.

Moving forward, many meetings can remain online and travel frequencies reduced by allowing staff to use their most local office/site where possible.

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I used to be in a different part of the county every day, claiming hundreds of pounds a month in expenses. I can now provide shorter, more regular, contact which is far more effective. Blockquote quotation marks
Jenni, IT trainer

Moving forward, many meetings can remain online and travel frequencies reduced by allowing staff to use their most local office/site where possible.

Encourage cycling to work

Provide secure cycle storage at your workplace in a convenient location, and ensure there are enough spaces to meet demand.

  • Offer a Cycle to Work scheme or similar tax exemption initiative.
  • Consider adding bike mileage to your expenses policy and encourage staff to cycle shorter business journeys.
  • Share information about local cycling routes and host travel planning information events.
  • Make it clear that you support active and sustainable transport through your language and your actions.

Sharing the message

Responsible and thoughtful communication is key, and this has been proven to work in the most challenging of times.

Resources

We create bespoke resource packages that support businesses to empower staff to change their travel behaviour and improve their own health and wellbeing.

Have a look at some of our taster resources:

How to lead an Active Travel Breakfast

A free breakfast or snack for anyone who actively commutes is a great way to build commitment and raise awareness.

Download the step-by-step guide
Group of office workers with bikes

How to enable active travel to work

Dr Bike events, challenges, competitions or local travel maps are some of the quick wins that can enthuse staff to try cycling or walking to work.

Quick Wins Active Commute

Have a look at some of the other guides and online resource we have compiled to help your employees make the transition towards a more sustainable and safer commute.

Employee resources page

Contact the Workplace Team for support and information on a range of schemes and opportunities in your area.