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Global financial giant, HSBC, is set to cut parking at its Sheffield and Birmingham offices by 90%. The bank, which sponsors British Cycling, is heading a number of initiatives to encourage people out of cars and onto bikes in order to gain the many benefits that come from having fitter, happier employees. Ian Stuart, HSBC UK’s chief executive, said that at the Birmingham headquarters, “Nobody gets a car parking space unless they have a disability.
He added: “It won’t suit everyone and I understand that. I am not a fanatical cyclist. I don’t own Lycra.”
Of course, the bank is not only removing parking spaces but it is also spending £3m on infrastructure to assist its staff who are making the transition. The installation of showers, changing rooms and bike parking will help to overcome some of the main barriers that prevent a wider uptake of the opportunity that cycling to work brings. While many projects already exist to help staff to get on their bikes, such as the Cycle to Work Scheme, many businesses simply do not have the infrastructure to cope with a large number of employees riding to work.
As well as the initiative to get its staff out of cars and onto bikes, the firm is also funding a joint academic study being designed by Edinburgh and Glasgow universities. The Cycle Nation Project is seeking 1,280 volunteer employees from the bank in order to study the barriers to cycling, and also assess the wider implications of travel methods on the staff’s motivation and health. The project will help make clearer the barriers to cycling and provide useful data on what businesses can do better if they wish to embrace cycling as a method of commuting for their staff. The wider implications could be profound – as the study could be used as proof that cycling is indeed very beneficial to companies whose employees choose that particular method to get to work.
It is no surprise that businesses like HSBC are looking for ways to improve the health of their staff – while sickness is on a downward trend (a 2017 ONS survey put the figure at 4.1 days per year for the average staff member), there is still clearly more to be done when it comes to health. With obesity rates skyrocketing, the encouragement of employees to get more active is a unique, cost-effective opportunity for businesses to help employees. With schemes like Cycle to Work offering low-cost opportunities for businesses to get involved, it seems like a win-win option for businesses looking to help their staff improve their health and reduce sickness.
Of course, the big barriers to large scale cycling are still very real – infrastructure being a big one. Many SMEs simply do not have the budget or space to introduce changing rooms and showers. While there are a few practical alternatives, such as dry shower washes, it is the cost implications that mean that many businesses cannot offer a credible alternative to driving.
There is in all of this, however, an opportunity for businesses to find themselves an edge – those businesses that can afford to implement a credible scheme could make themselves the company of choice in their industry. While clearly there are cost implications for installing a scheme and building the right infrastructure, the potential ROI from being the most attractive employer in a specific sector could mean that your business attracts the highest calibre applicants. So, while this idea isn’t ideal for all businesses, the simple idea of creating happier and healthier staff is one that can be expanded to many businesses. By creating a holistic, healthy experience, you could indeed ensure that your staff have fewer sick days and are more productive – a win-win.
With over 40 years of experience in developing practical structural solutions for businesses, we can help. Want to empower your employees to choose a healthier lifestyle? Our in-house design team can help you to incorporate healthier themes into your business. Call us today on 0800 085 1022 to speak to us about making health and fitness a cornerstone of your business.
Another project well done by Spaceway. As before, we're very pleased with everything from concept through to completion.
The project was challenging to say the least with the removal of 280 workstations and fitting of 400 new ones, along with collaboration areas and 400 bespoke lockers over two weekends, but Spaceway managed to complete this along with office refurbishment works on time and to an excellent standard.
It’s no good having just an empty industrial building you need a concept for space, a design, an infrastructure and someone to build it. Designing something like this from scratch with someone who’s willing to invest in your ideas, Spaceway is your perfect partner.
“I was so happy I did not get bothered throughout the extensive works and that a strict timetable was completed flawlessly. Fantastic experience all round.”
Thank you to Spaceway for the improvements that have been made to move Bodywise forward. You've done a very good job and we look forward to working with you again.
Spaceway worked with us to create the perfect environment for our staff. The completed project was fantastic and utilised the space to provide practical, modern and attractive working surroundings.
Plastimo UK Limited
We are delighted with the finished product. The space has been turned into an exceptional working environment, which will serve us well for years to come
Our project was finished on time and to budget in what was a very short timescale, which is a credit to the team at Spaceway!
The office fit out is superbly finished to the highest standards and beyond our expectations.
We're very impressed with the Spaceway team and the whole project was installed without fault. We are looking forward to working with the team again.
The project was designed to meet our specific requirements which included fitting in 20 more additional workstations using the existing space. The design works well and has met our expectations fully, we will continue to use Spaceway, they do a good job.
MD, ALPMA UK
"I’m very pleased how they’ve gone through it all and actioned it and they’ve got good depth of resource, good depth of people, and good skilled people who work well and tightly and good communication. So I’m delighted."
We were delighted with the service from Spaceway.