Employers hoping to cut down sick days and have a more effective workforce should be encouraging them onto two wheels, study says

Employees taking too many sick days? Then get them on bikes

Cycling to work could halve the number of sick days the nation takes and provide a £13.7 billion annual boost to British business, according to new statistics from Sustrans.

The average worker takes 4.5 sick days each year, while cyclists take just 2.4 days. Absenteeism costs UK employers £258 per day.

Sustrans has released the stats to mark the launch of its Support Cycling to Work campaign today. The charity, when surveying cyclists on the National Cycle Network, found that 68 per cent of riders had taken no sick days in the last year.

It’s time for a minimum standard of facilities and support that workplaces should provide for those commuting by bike, Sustrans says, calling on the UK governments to recognise the economic value and health benefits of cycling to work.

Those minimum standards include adequate showers and bike parking, access to bike purchase schemes and support finding a safe route to work, such as maps and bike buddies.

According to the charity, a government-endorsed ‘cycle-to-work standard’ would give businesses access to advice on how to make their workplace fit for cycling and provide a recognised standard for their success, helping to unlock the economic benefits of a healthy, active workforce.

“Employers who encourage cycling can increase their profitability and have employees who take fewer sick days, but too many miss out on these benefits because they don’t provide decent facilities and support," Sustrans chief executive Malcolm Shepherd. “In separate research conducted by YouGov, 22 per cent of UK adults who commute to work, but not by bike, said they don’t cycle to work because their workplace doesn’t have the facilities they need.

“Cycle parking and showers in an office should be as common as a printer and a coffee machine and by introducing a ‘cycle-to-work standard’ governments would be taking the first steps to making this a reality.

“Making it safer, easier and more enjoyable for people to get to work by bike would unlock huge economic gains and health benefits for the UK. It’s time to make sure all our workplaces are fit for cycling.”

There’s a petition to make Britain’s workplaces fit for cycling at www.sustrans.org.uk/cycletowork

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