Four simple ways to encourage employees to bike to work!

biking to work

Joseph Byer leading the pack to celebrate Softchoice’s 2012 listing as one of Canada’s Greenest Workplaces by Maclean’s magazine!

It’s no secret that in North America, more and more commuters are choosing two wheels instead of four, or giving up their transit pass to avoid the crowded subways and busses. There are many more reasons than just traffic frustration as well including health benefits both physical and mental.

Aside from the reasons on the personal level, there’s no shortage of reasons for companies to promote the use of the bicycle as an efficient means to get to work every day.  For that to work, there are some things to consider that will encourage those would-be cyclists to drop the excuses and start pedalling!

As a year-round bike commuter, I’m lucky to to work for a company that not only provides shower facilities but also has a very casual dress code for regular in-office work days. Occasionally I may have to “suit up” to meet clients, but for the most part jeans and a T-shirt are perfectly acceptable.

So what can other business do to make it easier for employees to choose the cycling option?

[Read more…]

Why Businesses Should Offer a Green Commute Program

Encouraging your employees to leave their cars at home improves more than just air quality

Just some of the Softchoice green crew who bike to work every day.

 

In honor of the Toronto Group Commute’s Bike to Work Day and Bike Month, we wanted to spread the word about green commuting.

But biking isn’t the only way! Softchoice employees take advantage of anything from carpooling to public transit to using their own two feet – all part of our company incentive program that encourages employees to travel green.

Long-time Softchoice employee, Joseph Byer, takes advantage of the Green Commute program almost every day. “I often wish my trip was longer,” he says. “When the weather is nice, I purposefully take the scenic route. I also like taking my bike out over lunch and getting some extra fresh air.”

Softchoice isn’t the only one. Many companies also support ‘greener’ commuting through providing various programs, including: [Read more…]

Clean Air Commute Challenge: Walking to Work

Today is the first day of the 19th annual Clean Air Commute across Toronto!  Workplaces across the city are revved up for a friendly competition to see who can reduce the most amount of pollution in the air by ditching their personal vehicals and walking, biking, or hopping on the TTC for their daily commutes.

Now let’s talk about walking.

Walking seems to be a forgotten art when it comes to commuting even though walking is the most natural and zero impact way to get to work because it requires nothing but yourself. I had the opportunity to catch up with Casey McCarthy and Craig Bator about the phenomenon and what they are doing to make a difference.

Casey walks about 15 minutes to work everyday instead of driving her car or even taking the TTC. This equals 225 minutes a week. “The best part about walking is that you get exercise and you get to listen to your ipod and unwind. You are up to date on things that are happening in the community at a ground level just by walking to work. It’s also a great way to destress  and not to mention -save money” , she says.

 By living close to work ,Casey is able to [Read more…]

Share the cost of a car … and the carbon footprint

As a long-time denizen of a large city, I’ve never really needed a car. By default I’ve always been pretty green when I travel around the city (even bringing a 7 foot Christmas tree onto the subway in a bundle buggy!!)

But lifestyles change and occasionally I’m forced out of the city or need to make a trek to purchase something too large to take on transit. I was hesitant to take on the cost of a car as well as add to global warming for my own comfort.

Enter Autoshare. For a small cost, I have access to a car when I need it and even better – they have hybrid models available. Interested? Almost every city in North America has some sort of car sharing program so check them out!

Shared bikes: Time to rethink your commute

Bixi tent at Urbane Cyclist - spreading the word through the city.

Sometimes when I leave the office, I play a counting game. I count all the single-occupancy vehicles lined up on our street as they wait to squeeze on to the packed highway. Sadly, that number climbs up pretty fast.

Many cities are starting to take some great steps towards alleviating congestion and trying to make it easier to get around town without the need for a car. Bixi has been launched in the downtown Toronto area after successful roll-outs in cities like Montreal, Washington DC and London UK. I was fortunate enough to catch this info tent being set up in front of Urbane Cyclist on John St at lunch today. [Read more…]

A great business case does the trick!

Carpooling SignWe’ve had a lot of new employees start, and the parking lot is getting full. With the nicer weather on the way, we thought we’d review our Green Commute Program and sent an email out to everyone in our Toronto office showing them the benefits of the program. After sending out the email, we right away got 3 people turning in their parking passes and moving to the green commute! 3 may seem like a small number, but with each of them taking 2 trips daily, 5 days a week for a whole year….it really adds up! It really shows that you need constant communication of your green programs.

Here are some sample business cases we used: [Read more…]