In the Luumlight

For wheels! Bike incentives are giving commute benefits a new cool factor

Imagine your employer covering costs for you to buy, lease, or share a bike. And what if, on top of that, they paid you to ride your bike to work on the days you came into the office. It feels almost surreal typing that last sentence. Paid to ride a bike…days you come in?!

Yep, this is the new hybrid work reality.  And orgs across the country are rolling out creative commute benefits in the form of incentives and subsidies aimed at getting their people moving across town with salubrious ease. 

Both health-giving and sustainable, the please-don’t-drive-to-work-alone-every-single-day commuter incentive is going to revolutionize the way we think about commute benefits. The fact is this—they can be THE all-important tool that gets all of us more comfortable with returning to offices and living our best hybrid work life. 

But, alas, a well-oiled employee bike program doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes policy-writing, goal-setting, and some of that sweet, sweet budget. But once you get buy-in (check back for another post on getting leadership buy-in in the coming weeks) for building a bike program, it’s all about connecting with enthusiasts and those employees with a willingness to give biking to work a chance. And make no mistake about it, organizations who are willing to grease the palms of employees will have much better success in getting them to grease the chains and ride in to work a few days per month. 

In this article from GeekWire, you can find out how Amazon (and others) are building better, more flexible benefits into their commute program—with bikes being the focus—as we return to offices. 

The $170 per month, bike-friendly benefits being offered by Amazon can be applied to shares, leases, and owned bicycles in the form of tune-ups and secure parking. You can find out more about how Amazon uses Luum to drive their commute benefit and bike program forward from their Keynote Address Recap at Luuminary20. Amazon’s Transportation Program Manager, Tim Waldrop, gives great insights into the evolution of their program. 

Also on topic, check out this prescient session from our Luuminary20 Virtual Conference last May. The video features David Allen from our friends over at Bikes Make Life Better and Slade Bedford from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  This session from the webinar is a great watch for those thinking about adding more employee flexibility through bike (and other non-drive alone) incentives while doubling down on organization-wide sustainability initiatives. 

Here are some key takeaways from the IMPROVING YOUR BIKE PROGRAM session:

  1. People have rediscovered biking — there’s great opportunity to encourage recreational biking AND commute by bike.
    • TDM professionals can nudge people to encourage bike commutes.
  2. Communications strategy:
    • Start with a survey to discover who is willing to give it a try. 
    • Build a messaging platform to share the things they need to do and think about as a bike commuter. 
  3. The new reality of bike commuting — re-entry plans, parking, keeping people safe in commute. 
    • But biking and walking is the best way to put a dent in SOV rates. 
    • Employees are doing their jobs – buying bikes, practicing.
    • TDM and employers job to encourage them to transition from a recreational habit to a bike commuter
  4. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation program goals: becoming carbon neutral at Seattle campus. Achieved this in the last few years. Dropping employee drive alone rate from 36% to 30% by 2025.  Biking accounts for 6-8% of mode split at their organization.

Moving from monthly permits to daily parking was a critical factor contributing to the success of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation program. It has given their people greater flexibility in choosing the best way to get into offices each day. Daily choice and market-rate parking can go a long way in getting the behavior change you wish to see at your organization—and employees love this newfound freedom, too! 

Want to learn more about how you can bring the bike benefit to your people. Or just want to find out more about how Luum helps all of the organizations discussed in this post deliver on their commuter benefit promises to employees?

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