THINKING ABOUT THE RANGE OF TRAVEL CHOICES
One of the healthiest and cheapest ways for staff to get to work is to use their feet.
Doctors recommend about 30 minutes of regular exercise each day. That doesn't necessarily mean running flat out on a treadmill. It can mean walking or cycling a reasonable distance- just enough to be breathing a little heavier and feeling warm.
Walking is a perfect start to the day. Staff get some exercise that they might not have time for otherwise and arrive at work alert and ready to go.
Thirty minutes of walking to and from work each day can help to:
- reduce the risk of heart attack;
- lower blood pressure and cholesterol; and
- help to control weight.
These not only have a direct personal benefit for staff members - a fitter and healthier workforce takes less time off for sick leave and enjoys higher levels of productivity.
Walking also has the lowest environmental impact of all forms of transport. It produces no pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, community safety is enhanced when more people choose to get out of their cars and into the streets.
Promoting the health benefits of walking to staff through short messages - e.g. walking briskly for half an hour per day can halve the risk of heart disease - are perhaps the most effective form of encouragement.
As an employer, you might be wondering what you can do to encourage staff to walk more. Here's a checklist of ideas you can try and include in an access plan.
Identify employees living near work that may be interested in walking to work
- Produce a map showing safe walking routes to and from your site with times, not distances, to local facilities, such as shops and bus stops (people often have an unrealistic idea of how long it takes to walk)
- Remind staff that they don't always need to walk in the shoes they wear for work - these can be left at work and staff can come in trainers
- Provide lockers for keeping a change of clothes
- Provide showers and changing rooms
- Provide drying room/facilities
- Open-up short cuts for pedestrian access across the work site
- Encourage walking meetings to get the brain going, for those times you don't need to take notes
- Have a few umbrellas handy at reception for rainy days - perhaps bearing the company logo
- Review condition of existing footpaths onsite
- Provide additional or upgraded footpaths to meet staff needs
- Negotiate with your local council for improvements to footpaths used by staff
- Take part in 'National Walk to Work Day'
- Have some TravelSmart Get to Work days encouraging staff to come by alternative means