Are you thinking about cycling to work to help save yourself money or help reduce your impact on the planet? Perhaps you’re an employer who’d love to encourage your team to adopt a greener form of transport to boost your organisation’s sustainability practices?
If so, the UK government’s Cycle to Work Scheme could be the ideal solution. It enables employees to get the bike or safety equipment they need in a more affordable and manageable way whilst providing financial benefits to the employer too.
So, what is the Cycle to Work Scheme and who can take part? What benefits can it offer to employees and employers alike? Let’s take a look.
What is a Cycle to Work scheme?
The Cycle to Work Scheme is a UK government initiative aimed to help reduce pollution, get people fitter and healthier and benefit the environment.
Part of the Green Transport Plan, the scheme allows employees to hire or buy cycling and safety equipment completely tax-free, they don’t have to pay tax or National Insurance on these products.
The employer pays upfront for the cycling equipment then you pay it back over the course of several months, directly from your salary. Not only do they get back the full sum, but they also get an extra 15.05%.
To take part, employers need to sign up for the scheme first. Then you can calculate your budget, apply for your eCertificate and get shopping for your new bike and cycling safety equipment.
Who can take advantage of the scheme?
Any employer can take part in the Cycle to Work Scheme, whether they’re in the private or public sectors. They simply need to register with the online system to get started.
If you’re an employee and want to get a new bike to cycle to work you’ll need to:
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has also widened the scheme to allow employees who are working remotely to take part.
This is exciting because it gives employees the freedom to use co-working and alternative office spaces allowing them to collaborate with other team members and ease some of the pressures of working from home, whilst getting a mini workout in!
Why take part in the Cycle to Work Scheme?
Both employers and employees can benefit enormously by taking part in the scheme and commuting to work by bike. Here are some of the most compelling of these.
#1: It benefits the environment
With climate change and sustainability hot topics for businesses and individuals across the country, many are looking for ways to reduce their impact on the planet.
Opting for a greener form of transport is one of the most powerful ways we can do this.
According to The Energy Saving Trust, “Transport is the single biggest contributor to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK, making up 24% of all emissions in 2020, mostly from road transport.”
By cycling to work instead of taking the car, train or even public transport, we can slash these emissions, avoid using fossil fuels and provide a sustainable option that could help slow the rate of climate change.
For the employer, it also demonstrates their sustainability efforts and can be an effective way to show corporate social responsibility and promote the business or organisation.
#2: It helps save money
With petrol prices hitting a record £1.99 per litre in June 2022 and a soaring cost of living, filling up a tank is becoming unaffordable for many, causing them to rethink their daily commute.
Cycle Scheme states, “Cycling burns calories rather than cash. Switch to a bike for your journey to work and you could save over £3,000 every year.”
Thanks to the huge financial savings offered by the Cycle to Work Scheme and the fact it spreads the cost of getting hold of cycling equipment, it’s more affordable than ever to make this money-saving change.
Employers will benefit too as cycling requires less parking space so it’s easier to find a brilliant office in a location that suits the business, instead of worrying about parking. They can also save 13.8% on National Insurance Contributions, so it’s a financial win-win for all.
#3: It’s faster to get to work
Choosing to commute by bike can also reduce journey times, ease stress and frustration and help ensure that the employee doesn’t have to worry about being late.
Instead of being stuck in congestion for hours or facing frustrations and delays during rush hour traffic, they can use shortcuts and bike lanes, choose a more scenic route and move through traffic much more easily, even if there are huge tailbacks, accidents or roadworks.
This means that the employee is more likely to arrive at work relaxed and on time and productivity levels are maintained.
#4: It’s great for employee health and fitness
We all know that we need to get more active if we want to be as healthy as possible. If we can do so, we’ll boost our circulation, reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes and maintain a healthy weight.
But with long hours spent at our desks and multiple responsibilities at home, it can be tricky to fit into the average workday.
Cycling to work makes it easier to incorporate movement into the day and leave employees feeling healthier, more focused and motivated and less likely to come down with illnesses that can cause absences from work.
#5: It’s great for mental health
Cycling is a great way to boost mental health as it helps employees enjoy the uplifting benefits of fresh air, get the ‘brain space’ they need and ease stress and anxiety.
Physical activity also helps get those feel-good endorphins flowing and boost their mood, making the employee happier and more productive.
Again, it means they’re less likely to suffer from mental health problems, they’ll find it easier to interact with other staff, customers or clients in a positive and friendly way and they’re less likely to take sick days.
The Cycle to Work Scheme offers employers and employees a huge range of money-saving benefits whilst helping them get the exercise they need, keeping their mental health in check and getting to work faster whilst helping to ease climate change.