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Only 8 per cent of employers make active commute more accessible, research finds

Joe Robinson
13 Aug 2018

Almost one in five are made 'miserable' by current commute while few employers encourage active commute

Despite there being one in ten employees who drive or commute by public transport to work who claim their choice of transport makes them less productive, only 8 per cent of employers are making allowances for a more active commute, new research shows.

The study commissioned by free2cycle showed that 18 per cent of British commuters using a car or public transport are 'miserable' because of this journey, which is double that of those who walk or cycle to work.

This translates into over a quarter of people who travel by car, motorbike and public transport stating they feel 'stressed' by the journey, three times that of active commuters.  

With this early morning stress, it is of no surprise that 10 per cent of workers claim to be less productive during the day because of their transport choice, again double that of commuters by foot and bicycle.

With productivity effected, you would expect employees to take action in order to prevent this however, the same research claims that only 8 per cent of employers have put allowances in place for a more active commute.  These allowances range from the availability of the cycle to work scheme to smaller incentives such as access to changing facilities and flexible working hours.

95 per cent of employees who do not walk or cycle to work have also considered this more active form of travel but admit there are factors, like the allowances above, preventing them from switching over. 

One in five employees cite work-related issues such as the lack of appropriate changing facilities or embarrassment with fellow colleagues while 16 per cent of people suggest a safety issue and 12 per cent consider the purchase of a bike too expensive. 

However, UK commuters will spend an average of £135,000 a lifetime on travelling to work, with some shelling out in excess of £5,000 for their annual rail ticket. 

Consider that walking is free and a good bike along with all the extras - such as helmet and specific clothing - can be bought for under £750, it comes as no surprise that only 6 per cent of those walking and riding to work claim to feel a financial pinch, 17 per cent less than car and public transport users.

Add this to the stats that suggest less active commuters believe their daily routine of a car, bus or train is contributing to them gaining weight and the argument for cycling or walking to work becomes compelling.

Free2cycle have published these findings ahead of Cycle to Work Day on Wednesday 15h August in an effort to incentivise companies and individuals into regular bike use. 

CEO of free2cycle Eric Craig commented on the study, 'Our findings cement the daily horror stories you hear about the unfit, unproductive and unwell UK workforce. An active commute is a great way to improve health, wellbeing and our environment. However, as our research shows, the nation is finding the sedentary daily commute physically and mentally straining and is crying out for organisations to provide the facilities and initiatives to switch to a more active commute. This needs to change,'

'UK businesses are responsible for leading a change in prioritising health and well-being of their teams, and for this to be successful, they should include considering how they get to and from work.'

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