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…]

Six reasons to make man’s best friend, man’s best coworker.

Every dog has its day, and on June 22, thousands of canine best friends are accompanying their owners to work for the 14th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. But at many of North America’s Best Workplaces – including Google, Amazon and Build-A-Bear Workshop – have already unleashed their employees and let them bring their canine companions to work every day. Of course, Softchoice employees are also happy as a flea in a dog house (in a sense) to have our four-legged friends in the office!

Think you have a dog’s chance of implementing a dog-friendly workplace at your company, these six benefits – for both dogs and employees – may just help you make the case!  [Read more…]

Five Fitness Tips to Stay Motivated During the Holidays

The Holidays are fast approaching and you know what that means: parties, family gatherings and a list of delectable treats to over indulge in! Lucky for us at Softchoice, we have the convenience of our corporate gym in Toronto to keep us healthy when we fall victim to the Holiday fare! (Our other employees across North America have access to generous discount offers for local gyms.)

Yet, even with a fitness fanatic CEO who promotes healthy and active living as part of our culture, it still takes a bit of motivation to keep up with regular workouts. So if you’re like me, here are a few tips to keep you alert and well through the Holiday season.

  [Read more…]

Clean Air Commute Challenge Day 2: Biking!

As you are all aware today is day two of the Clean Air commute Challenge! We currently have 98 employees participating and they have avoided 1.05 Tonnes of pollutants by taking greener ways to work in the last 2 days.

The weather today is unbelievable here in Toronto; a nice, clear and sunny  22 degrees Celsius making it the perfect weather to bike to work. We have a special champion in our Toronto office, Joseph Byer, who bikes to work almost every day of the year when the weather allows it! I spoke with Joseph today about his routine and also got some helpful tips for those of you who are looking to start this stylish way of getting to work!

Joseph bikes around 14-16km a day which is about 40-60 minutes per day to get to and from work depending on the route he decides to take. “With weather like this, I extend my route and go out of my way a bit. Ienjoy the fact that Iget to enjoy some exercise and have the freedom to move at my own pace ,” he says. When asked about alternatives when the weather is not too great, Joseph prefers to carpool or take the TTC.

For many of us, it is challenging to do commutes like the ones we are doing this week for the whole year, but Joseph tells us that its really not that difficult. [Read more…]

Plants Can Save The Environment – And Your Health


TED is a dynamic and interactive series of ongoing confernces that has taken the world of keen learners and curious people by storm. The conferences  focus on innovation, new ideas, problem solving and creative ways to push the world forward. One particular clip that caught our attention was a short 5 minute talk.

The idea is simple – the more plants in our lives, the better.

Kamal Meattle, an air quality researcher working in India’s capital city New Delhi, explains how three common house plants can change the way we use energy and positively affect our health. His talk focused on these plants:

1. Areca Palm (house plant): Converts CO2 and converts it into oxygen. You’ll  need 4 shoulder high plants per person in your office. Make sure to wipe the leaves once a week and take them outside every 3-4 months.

2. Mother-in-law’s Tongue (bedroom plant): Converts C02 into Oxygen at night – You’ll  need 6-8 waiste high plants per person at your office.

3. Money Plant: Removes formaldihydes and other harmful chemicals from the air.

When inplemented into commercial and residential buildings, the following resulted:

  • Significant reductions in eye irratations, respitory problems, asthma, and skin conditions
  • An increase in human productivity by 20%
  • A reduction in energy requirements in buildings by 15%

Why is this important? [Read more…]

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…]