Each year organisations across Scotland take part in the Scottish Workplace Challenge – competing to log the most sustainable and active journeys to, from and for work. After winning the Scottish Transport Award for ‘Best Practice in Travel to School and Work Schemes’ last year, the challenge returns.
By opting to walk, cycle, use public transport or car-share for the commute and work journeys, staff can help their workplace climb the leaderboard and win prizes along the way. Participants can set personal and workplace targets, from calories burned to emissions saved, allowing them to see the impact that changing the way they travel can have. There is also an option to ‘watch’ rival workplaces and compare your progress for that extra bit of motivation!
Making a change
One workplace that took part for the first time in 2018 was Cairn Medical Practice, a doctor’s surgery based in Inverness. Cairn Medical Practice is located on top of a hill near the town centre, and driving used to be the most common way for staff to get to work. However, motivated by the desire to make their work more environmentally friendly, the practice signed up to the challenge. They quickly climbed the leaderboard as staff became more active on their commute, with walking levels increasing from 27% to 45%, and cycling from 9% to 43%. An impressive 94% of the 36 employees at the practice recorded their sustainable journeys throughout the challenge, creating a strong team spirit in the workforce.
“ It was a great team bonding event that brought out the most unexpected competitive spirit - I was getting WhatsApp updates from people at 10pm telling me to check out our position in the rankings! It really engaged everyone and gave the practice a real buzz particularly when we made it into the top three! ”
One staff member commented that before the challenge “we were hardly practising what we preached. There now seems to be a regular ‘active health’ slot in the patient newsletter, and the staff have really taken it on board in terms of promoting active health and travel to patients.”
Since taking part in the challenge, staff at Cairn Medical Practice travel to work by active and sustainable modes more regularly. They have also acquired a pool bike which can be used by staff for journeys during the work day such as home visits. The staff are looking forward to competing in the challenge again when it returns from 1-31 March 2019.