September 20, 2022
How businesses can encourage the eco-friendly commute
As more people continue return to the office, many are looking at how they can do the daily commute in an easy, healthy, and more cost-effective way.
According to a survey by the TUC in 2019, the average commute in the UK was 59 minutes (combining to and from work), up five minutes a day from 2008.
While that trend was similar in the Northeast, the time spent going to and from work was under 50 minutes at 49.2 minutes, up three minutes a day from 2008. In total – based on a 45-week commute – that meant workers spent 185 hours a year getting to where they needed to be.
With air quality being a major consideration for local authorities and health professionals across the UK, it’s important that we examine what we can do to help make our towns and cities safer and more pleasant to be in.
In Leeds, the city council has set targets to meet World Health Organisation guidelines by 2030. This includes active travel plans – making journeys by physical means such as walking and cycling, installing bus lanes, introducing a public bicycle scheme, and increasing the number of charging points for electric vehicles.
So, what can businesses do to encourage their workforce to enjoy as eco-friendly a commute as possible?
According to a government report, cycling activity increased by 46% between 2020 and 2021 and this is a trend that is likely to continue.
With active commuting playing a key role in the government’s transport agenda, it means office building owners and landlords have a duty to accommodate the growing demand from businesses.
Between 2017 and 2022, the British Council for Offices found significant changes in office building design to accommodate cyclists. In 2017, 45% reported having no showers, while 47% reported no covered or secure parking at their buildings.
Fast forward just five years and 84% said their offices provided showers and 68% of buildings provided covered or secure parking.
Another survey of landlords also revealed that 66% were planning to add or improve cycling facilities with 87% looking to accommodate more power-assisted cycles and e-bikes.
Buses and rail travel are often the quickest and most convenient way to get into an office (and back home), but they can be incredibly busy at peak commute times. Introducing flexible working hours means staff can still get to the office to work but enjoy a more relaxed commute at quieter times. Flexible working hours could also encourage car drivers to swap their mode of transport, thus reducing vehicle journeys into congested city centres.
Even if businesses are based in city centres, there may be times when a company vehicle is needed. Switching fleets to greener alternatives, such as hybrid or electric cars and vans, or encouraging staff to swap also helps to reduce pollution levels. Introducing a carpool is another way of cutting the number of vehicles coming into a town or city.
Developed with active commuting in mind and based in the heart of the Leeds business Improvement District (BID), 12 King Street is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Leeds Railway Station and is close to major bus routes in and out of the city.
It is also ideal for cyclists, with an extensive cycling spa with dedicated drying rooms and repair area. These facilities also include 72 cycle bays, 58 lockers, modern shower and changing facilities (great for those who want to double up their commute with a run to the office) and on-site cycle hire. These premium cycling amenities have led 12 King Street to be certified as Cycling Score Platinum, the highest industry accolade for cycling infrastructure.
When it comes to vehicle parking, we’ve accommodated the growing number of electric and hybrid vehicles with six out of the ten available secure spaces in the basement being charging points. There are a further four car parking spaces outside.
If you want to locate your team to an office building that enables your teams to enjoy an active commute within a thriving city centre, contact us for more information or to arrange a viewing.