How do you combine environmentalism, wellbeing at work and saving time? The answer is a bicycle. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but exciting new applications such as Sponda’s company bicycles and “Meeting Pony” help promote the use of bicycles at the workplace.

Company bicycle makes the daily commute swift and easy

Has it been a while since you last rode a bicycle? Can you see yourself becoming a bicycle commuter? How do you even get to the office on time on a bicycle? Many of us may not have ridden a bicycle regularly for several decades, and starting up again might seem daunting.

When we implemented a company bicycle scheme at Sponda in 2010, these were some of the questions on our mind. We thought only the sporty types among us would be enthusiastic about a company bicycle. We thought wrong. The idea of using a company bicycle was much more popular than expected, even among those who are not so physically active. The early adopters told their colleagues how they got to work even faster than on the bus, or about how nice it was to watch the little signs of spring on the sides of bicycle paths. Even normal Finnish winter weather wasn’t enough to make them leave their bicycles at home. This early positivity helped spread enthusiasm through the ranks.

Meeting Pony takes employees to customer meetings around the city

In addition to personal company bicycles, we offer our employees in Helsinki a shared bicycle for riding to meetings with customers and business partners. The three-gear bicycle, a Tunturi Poni, was given the name Palaveriponi (Meeting Pony).   I am pleased to note that our Meeting Pony wasn’t just a neat idea, but it has actually become a popular alternative for moving around in the city. If people in London and Paris can ride bicycles wearing pinstripe suits or skirts and high heels while maintaining their street credibility, then why not in Helsinki?

The cost of one day of sick leave is equal to the cost of a company bicycle for 3–4 months

We offer company bicycles to all of our employees in Finland. Approximately 30 of our 110 employees have already begun using a company bicycle. All of our bicycle commuters, including yours truly, are still riding bicycles to work. New enthusiastic cyclists join the group every spring with the arrival of the new bicycle season.

Company bicycles are part of Sponda’s Green Office environmental programme as well as the company’s efforts to promote physical exercise opportunities for personnel. From the employer’s perspective, the costs associated with company bicycles are an investment in occupational wellbeing. Cycling is widely recognised as having a positive effect on weight management and physical fitness.

Heli Mäkelä
Human Resources Manager of Sponda