How Corporate Bike Shares Pay For Themselves – And Then Some

Great companies are always looking for a competitive edge – increased productivity, lower costs, higher employee retention, better public perception. While those goals can often be complicated to achieve, there's one simple and elegant solution that can boost your efforts in all at once: bike sharing. Today's most forward-thinking companies – including big names like Google, Mozilla, Intel – are increasingly turning to bike shares as an amenity that provides value to company and employees alike.

It's not exactly news that happy workers are productive workers. Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve – especially in fields like technology, where top talent is highly sought after – need to not only provide engaging work for their employees, but also foster a welcoming environment that makes people feel good about being in the office.

Anyone who drives to or from work in an area affected by rush-hour traffic – which seems to be pretty much everywhere these days – knows that commuting can be highly stressful. Sitting in traffic, dealing with aggressive drivers, and driving aggressively yourself are not the most calming ways to start a long workday. With a bike share in place, employees can leave their cars at home in favor of public transportation followed by a short bike ride – saving money while reducing the time and stress of their commute. Meanwhile, employers save money and leave room for growth thanks to the reduced demand for parking spots.

Give a boost to employee productivity

But bike usage doesn't stop when people clock in – in fact, it's during the workday that employers (and employees) see the greatest benefits of bike sharing. Riding a bike to lunch instead of driving or walking provides a pleasant – and potentially time-saving – experience. And on a sprawling corporate campus, bikes are the quickest, most reliable way to get from one building to another at a moment's notice. Shuttle buses are slaves to a schedule, no one wants to drive from one place to another in an office park, and walking is often inefficient.

Let's do some quick math. Say you've got 100 employees, and they make about $60,000 a year on average. That translates to a little less than $30 an hour. Now, if you've got a corporate campus, think of how long your employees spend getting from one part of the campus to another on a daily basis. Let's conservatively estimate it at 15 minutes per day.

Now, the average human walks at roughly 3 miles per hour; bike speeds can vary greatly, but most bike commuters seem to average about 15 mph. We'll dial that back some because we're on a relatively small campus with no open roads, so let's say your bikers will average 10 mph, or roughly three times the speed of walking – so that 15 minutes turns into five minutes. You've saved 10 minutes of daily productivity per employee, which at $30 an hour means $5 per employee per day. With 100 employees, that's a gain of $500 worth of productivity every day. That comes out to a savings of about $130,000 a year – far, far less than the cost of implementing and maintaining a campus bike share.

The hub of workplace wellness

That's one of the more tangible financial benefits – but there are less-tangible ones as well. Biking and other forms of physical exercise are great ways for employees to spend a little break time in the middle of a long workday. A short ride – whether a little pleasure cruise or just a trip to a meeting – helps people clear their heads and blow off a little steam. Getting out of the confines of the office and into some fresh air is a great way to generate creativity; while your body's busy working the pedals, your mind is free to roam about for the solution to that tricky problem or that next big product idea. Exercise makes people happy, and we already know that happiness and productivity go hand in hand.

Naturally, exercise and health go hand in hand, too. Healthy employees not only keep insurance costs down, but also suffer far less from the lost productivity that can be caused by medical issues. Regular bikers use fewer sick days, have lower health care costs, and are more productive.

Bike shares are also a great way to affect the public perception of your brand. Employees – not to mention prospective employees, investors and business partners – respect companies that care about sustainability and treat their employees well. Bike shares and other innovative amenities make people's lives easier and more enjoyable, thereby encouraging employee retention and attracting top candidates to apply for open positions. And being on the cutting edge allows your organization to be mentioned in the same breath as the world's most innovative companies.

Want to start reaping the benefits of a bike share at your office or campus? Contact a Zagster expert and we'll get you rolling in no time.