Office cycling facilities key to meeting Government cycling targets
By Andrew Brown, posted 26 July 2017
Andrew Brown summarises the recent report by the British Council of Offices that states offices facilities must improve if the UK is to meet its cycling growth targets
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It isn’t a surprise to anyone riding a bike around London that facilities generally must improve for it to be safer, healthier and better for everyone. But what is news is this: that there is an argument that improving office facilities is key to meeting the UK’s cycling growth targets. In fact, according to the latest report from the British Council of Offices 38% of British office workers would consider commuting by bike if their workplace offered better facilities.
So, how do they do that then? At JRtB we’ve already talked about end of route facilities. But the pressure is on. The BCO report, based on new research undertaken this year by Remit Consulting and led by Neil Webster states clearly that UK businesses must offer better facilities for cyclists considering the government’s ambitious cycling growth targets.
In April, the Department for Transport stated an aim to double the number of cycling stages, defined as a change in the form of transport as part of a longer “trip” (e.g. cycling to the train station before catching a train to work), from 0.8 billion stages in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2025.
But the cycling facilities offered by many workplaces are currently falling short of accommodating that increase, with 16% of office workers surveyed for the research claiming that inadequate facilities are discouraging them from considering commuting by bike
The BCO research finds that whilst 83% of workplaces in the UK offer some form of bike storage, less than half (47%) of this is covered and secure. Improved parking facilities could help increase numbers of those cycling to work, with 16% of office workers surveyed saying that better bike storage would encourage them to do so. Many workplaces are also failing to provide other basic facilities for cyclists. According to the research, just under half (45%) of offices do not have showers, something which almost a quarter (24%) of those workers surveyed said would encourage them to consider commuting by bike.
Overall, almost two fifths (38%) of office workers surveyed said that they would consider commuting to work by bike if their workplace had better or more facilities, demonstrating a clear need for UK businesses to cater to cyclists.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Neil Webster, Director, Remit Consulting, says:
“As cycling continues to rise in popularity, ostensibly the most pressing issue for businesses will be finding the space for bikes, lockers and storage. However, our research shows that the focus needs to be on the quality of the facilities offered, not just the quantity. Alongside safe storage and showers, there is a clear demand for towels, hairdryers and complimentary toiletries. This kind of service provision may not just encourage existing employees to cycle to work, it could also act as a market differentiator for prospective employees, and even have a positive impact on lettability.”
Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the British Council for Offices, added:
“One of the key findings of the research is that, compared to five years ago, cycling provision is increasingly becoming accepted as an integral component of Grade A office specification. As cycling continues to grow in popularity, workplaces now need to provide facilities which can cope with rising demand, and technology is likely to play a significant role in addressing this. Rather than permanently allocating parking spaces and lockers to individuals, mobile apps could enable cyclists to flexibly reserve them only when needed. UK businesses must also ensure that their service provision for cyclists meets the evolving expectations of today’s worker. In the same way that reception spaces in a number of office buildings are beginning to resemble concierge desks, showering and changing facilities are taking inspiration from high-end gyms. To encourage more employees to cycle to work, this level of attention to detail will be as important as the providing the basics.”
You can download the report in a few months’ time. One of the perks of being a BCO member is preferred access to reports like this and it is only members of the BCO can download for the next three months. Further information on the team behind the report check out https://www.remitconsulting.com/short-guide/
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