The first lockdown in the UK in 2020 saw a surge in popularity in cycling.
Cycling took off, with families using it as the perfect opportunity to stay active and keep busy in the safest way possible during the pandemic.
Some cyclists took the opportunity to make the most of the clearer roads, while many used cycling as a safe, efficient, enjoyable and active way to commute and travel compared to taking public transport.
The UK Government responded, and in May 2020 they announced a £2 billion investment in greener and more active transport. On the day of the announcement, Halfords’ share price increased by 25%.
Brief recent history lesson over, what does this mean for the Bike to Work scheme? And how will it affect getting back to the workplace post-covid?
Well, with the UK Government roadmap out of COVID now set out, businesses with remote working staff can now plan for how they may (or may not) return to the workplace.
According to the roadmap, restrictions on returning to the workplace won’t be lifted until late June at the earliest, the perfect time to support your staff in cycling to work by helping them save up to 42% on the cost of a brand-new bike.
A partial return to the workplace
Sure enough you’ll have seen plenty of polls on social media (yes, we are guilty!) about whether you want to return to the workplace full-time, partially or not at all.
There have been various, more extensive studies done on this and many have indicated they’d like a partial return, but not a full return to the workplace.
One of the key benefits of remote working has been the reduced carbon emissions from the daily work commute as well as the savings in fuel for those who drive in.
If staff are only expected to come into the workplace a handful of times a week, they could cycle instead of taking the car, keeping their carbon emissions low and continuing to save on fuel.
This is even better if employees can come in to work on an ad hoc basis to avoid cycling in bad weather, but this could be trickier for businesses to implement.
The Bike to Work scheme can really help support employees with this. Staff can get a newer, more reliable and high-tech bike and accessories and pay monthly from their salary.
A £1,000 bike on the scheme with a 43.25% saving would cost £567.50 or £47.29 per month. Compared with the potential cost savings in fuel not having to drive in to the workplace, the Bike to Work scheme makes real sense for employees who only need to commute in a handful of times per week.
A full return to the workplace
The Bike to Work scheme can support your staff with their work commute if they’re back in the workplace full-time too.
With the UK Government investment in cycling infrastructure, that long work commute may be less daunting than it was pre-pandemic, with more cycle lanes and low traffic neighbourhoods introduced in many areas.
Reintroducing the work commute also takes more time out of the day, making things like exercise harder to fit in. Cycling to work helps by combining the work commute and exercise.
With the £1,000 limit on the scheme now removed, employees have access to higher tech e-bikes too to support those longer, hillier journeys.
Cycling in to work isn’t possible every day of the year however, and for those back in the workplace full-time, public transport, carpooling or driving in to work for example should still be available options.
For employees who want to keep carbon emissions low, the Car Benefit salary sacrifice scheme can also be a good option, as it’s currently the cheapest way to drive electric.
Combining the Bike to Work scheme and the Car Benefit scheme can support employees in keeping their carbon emissions as low as possible when they resume their work commute.
‘The Olympic effect’
The Tokyo Olympic Games are due to go ahead on the 23rd of June 2021. While there may still be some uncertainty around this, what is certain is that ‘The Olympic Effect’ is real, particularly when it comes to cycling.
After the 2012 Olympic Games, research by the London School of Economics found that 52% of respondents said they were motivated by the Olympics to get into cycling.
With social restrictions set to be lifted no later than the 21st of June, with the spotlight on our health and wellbeing and in the peak of summer with the sun out (yes, this is a big if!). the summer of 2021 could give yet another huge boost to the popularity of cycling in the UK.
Implementing the Bike to Work scheme as early as possible in preparation for the summer gives staff the perfect opportunity to get a brand-new bike and accessories ready for the return to the workplace.
How to set up a Bike to Work scheme for your business
The Bike to Work scheme helps save on Tax and National Insurance for employees and your business too.
Our Bike to Work scheme, run in conjunction with Cycle2Work, is one of the most popular employee benefit schemes available today.