The benefits of active commuting

Active transport modes an inexpensive way of commuting that has a very low environmental impact. In our last Mobility Barometer, we highlighted that Belgians more and more inclined to use cycling or walking as their transport modes - whether on weekend or during the week. The share of cycling in the modal split has increased from 4.83% to 8.42% between 2019 and 2020. In the same period, walking has also become more popular - from 5.84% to 7.34%. With widely applied telework and numerous constrains, the health crisis partially explains the change in the numbers. Most of all, however, it offers an opportunity to seize the moment when we change our travel behavior -to achieve higher share of active modes in home-to-work travel when people can return to their place of work. Why encouraging your staff to change their daily mode of transport is so advantageous for your as the employer?

Less delays and frustration

The time of the journey, when travelling by bike or on foot, is independent of traffic conditions and traffic jams. Not only does the employee avoid wasting time looking for a parking space, but above all – he spares himself a great deal of frustration due to the heavy traffic conditions and resulting congestion. The arrival time to the office is more certain which helps to reduce stress and start your day with a serene mindset. In the end, what could be a better transition to professional attitude than a pleasant bike ride or a walk to the office?

Physical activity is essential for your well-being

Walking or cycling to work are great ways to integrate regular physical activity into your everyday life. Research proves1 that a certain level of exercise contributes to your well-being at improves the happiness in general - a necessary condition for employee’s motivation and productivity. Many studies show that regular exercise has a positive impact on health: reduction of stress, anxiety, and tiredness, as well as a better psychological and emotional balance.

A well-rested and relaxed employee is happier and thus less inclined to look for other work opportunities. In the long run, it will contribute to a lower turnover rate among your staff. Additionally, research shows2 that employees who exercise regularly have significantly fewer absences from work and are sick less often. The risk of developing cardiovascular disease is reduced by 40% for people who are regularly physically active. Recent studies3 suggest that recovery from serious illnesses such as cancer is significantly faster if you have been active before getting sick.

However, to make sure that the health of your employees can fully benefit from advantages resulting from active travelling – you must first minimize its risk. By providing an appropriate training you allow your people to commute safely, avoid risks and seize all advantage from active travels!

Be sustainable and save money

Active modes of travel also provides an economic benefit for the employer through, for example, tax measures encouraging the use of bicycles for commuting to and from work. The mileage allowance granted for cycling is exempt from taxes and social security contributions up to the amount of 0.24 euros per km. Of course, to encourage your employees to cycle it is necessary to install appropriate infrastructure. Fortunately, the expenses incurred in order to increase the share of bicycles in your corporate mobility - sheltered bicycle parking lot, showers, the provision of company bike fleet are deductible even up to 100% of associated costs.

The unprecedented period we are experiencing now offers the opportunity to make sure that soft mobility plays a more important role in the future of corporate mobility. The effort invested in this area now will allow companies not only to enjoy the benefits of active travels, but also to improve their image and attract more young talents. Certainly, the distance from home to work may be a significant obstacle for some employees. In this case, multimodality can be a solution – especially first and last mile can be suitable for active modes of transport.

A company's mobility policy is the ideal tool to move towards a more sustainable modal distribution and time to prepare the transition is now. Even though staff are mostly teleworking, mobility trends clearly indicate that it is an ideal moment to prepare your business to initiate change - to benefit from all aspects that active modes can offer to your company. However, employee safety always comes first. To ensure this, training is strongly advised.


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