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Two wheels good: How cycling to work boosts health, engagement and productivity

Cycling has enjoyed a surge of popularity following a flurry of recent British successes on the road and track. One recent survey has it that 52 per cent of people are now motivated to cycle directly because of the Olympics. But this is part of a larger and longer-term trend showing an increase in cycling, with London alone seeing a jump of more than 110 per cent since 2000. The positives for cycling are manifold - it improves health, doesn't contribute to pollution and congestion, often makes for faster commute times, and represents cheap sustainable transport. But what are the special benefits for businesses?

Since 1999, more than half a million people have taken advantage of the cycle to work scheme, a tax-efficient way for employers to help their employees take up cycling to work on heavily discounted bicycles.

A recent survey found that 87 per cent of participating employees saw an improvement in their health, and 97 per cent of business thought that the scheme was an important way to encourage a healthy workforce. They survey also found that the scheme was helping to create more productive and engaged employees. Some 89 per cent of employers said that the scheme was important for improving employee engagement.

With the launch of Businesscycle, a brand new website devoted to promoting cycling among businesses, it is now easier than ever for employers to find information on all areas of cycling, from safety and training to signing up to the cycle to work scheme.

One proponent said, 'Businesses have a real interest in encouraging their employees to cycle to work. It's a virtuous circle: employees can save up to 42 percent of the cost of a new bike through the cycle to work scheme and lead a more active and healthy lifestyle, while employers see the benefits of a productive and engaged workforce.'

Acas can help organisations address a range of issues related to Health and the workplace, and also offers a special Training session on 'The route to successful employee engagement'. Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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