Workplaces in action: Forster leads the way

Social change communications consultancy Forster is a shining example of a company making cycling to work an attractive option for its staff. 30% of Forster’s employees commute by bike. And as Cheryl Campsie explains, there are plenty of reasons why...

“We don’t have lots of facilities but have made it possible and desirable for our team to cycle because of our progressive policies which recognise what motivates people to change behaviour. We have promoted the benefits to our team and have engaged them in the initiative. And if we can do it so can others. There are plenty of reasons for companies to encourage cycle commutes, including money savings and very low absenteeism figures. And we’re also seeing the impact on our team, through their improved wellbeing.”

Office set-up

“We have a rack in our office for six bikes. And using our powers of persuasion, Southwark Council has installed cycle parking outside the building, so several more spaces are available. We’ve even made an arrangement with the local gym for our staff to use their showers!”

Incentives

“I would say there are plenty of incentives for our staff to cycle. We’ve partnered with Ride2work and Cyclescheme to enable staff to buy a bike and save on income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions by having its retail price removed from their salary before deductions. People who cycle even get 40p per mile for work related bike journeys and five minutes holiday for every ride to and from work by bike!

“We also have a wellbeing scheme where staff members collect active travel stamps. Once their card is full they receive a £25 voucher or donation to a charity of their choice. There are lots of opportunities to get these, for example reminders to take part in events which will gain them a stamp.”

Increasing cycle confidence

There are plenty of reasons for companies to encourage cycle commutes, including money savings and very low absenteeism figures.

- Forster

Our staff can increase their cycle confidence with free one-to-one lessons, whether that’s learning to ride a bicycle, finding the most suitable commute home, or even brushing up on road rules. They can also make sure their bikes are fit for purpose with free services at local Dr Bike sessions. Better Bankside, our business improvement network, runs these monthly.

Our most seasoned cyclists are also happy to lead those new to cycling on their commute to and from the office and we also have printed cycle maps available at reception. Our environmental officer can provide further advice if people need it.”

Bikes for non-commuters

“There are opportunities for staff to get on two wheels even if they don’t commute by bike. We have four Brompton bikes which are stored at reception, as well as a stash of helmets, high visibility jackets, waterproofs, lights, bags and bike locks for all staff to use. And there’s plenty of storage space on each floor of the building.”

Cycle campaigning

“We’ve run many campaigns for cycling and sustainable transport, including the communications for Bike Week for the last six years, and the Department for Transport’s THINK! Cyclist campaign last year, which focused on drivers and cyclists. Over the years we’ve developed brands for organisations including Cycle Shrewsbury, and Cycle Exeter’s three-year cycling campaign.”

Find out how you can change the way your staff travel to work

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