By Jenny Legg, Head of Communications at Flexibility Works
We delivered free hybrid training to six Scottish employers in 2023, and we’re delighted with the positive feedback on how our sessions have helped teams work more effectively. But we’re also wheelie pleased (sorry, couldn’t help it!) to hear how hybrid working is also inspiring people to ditch their car and cycle to work.
Our hybrid training
Thanks to funding from Transport Scotland (via charity Paths for All’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme) we delivered 40 workshops to a range of employers throughout 2023 including Clyde Valley Housing Association, children’s law centre Clan Childlaw and Into Work, a specialist recruitment charity for people with disabilities, or who are neurodiverse.
It’s the second year we’ve secured funding to deliver the training to employers for free. We’re evaluating the impact of 2023’s programme now. But last year more than two thirds of attendees said the training helped them embed hybrid working, 90% said they felt more confident to embrace hybrid and 72% said they would travel less, or change how they travelled to work, as a result of the training and establishing hybrid.
Pedal power at Clyde Valley Housing Association
Jenny Carlyle, senior OD people manager at Clyde Valley Housing Association has swapped car traffic jams and waiting at cold bus stops for peddle power. She says cycling to work is cheaper, greener, healthier and more joyful.
Jenny said: “After nearly 13 years of a bookending my day with a 45-minute commute, often sitting nose-to-tail in traffic, I was so sick of the sight of the A629.
“Over the last few years of that commute I got increasingly jealous of my husband’s stories about cycling to and from work with wildlife encounters, diversions over moorland and through woods, and just his general joy about his cycle commute that I decided to get myself back on my bike to get to work.
“Cycle commuting is (most of the time) an actual joy. You have a refreshing start to the day, and then a similar wind down as you head home from the demands of work, and you don’t have to worry about going out again to exercise. It’s always felt like a win-win situation to me. It keeps me fit, it lowers my impact on the environment and it’s much cheaper than keeping a car running or catching a bus.
“Yes, it rains, and it can rain a lot. But by investing in a good pair of water-resistant cycling pants and a waterproof jacket you can definitely keep out the worst of it, and strangely I rather enjoy freewheeling downhill into the rain.”
Jenny said moving to a more rural location and finding out about funding towards an e-bike helped her confirmed her decision to start cycling to work. She said: “My commute had increased from an easy 10-mile round trip to a more intimidating 30 miles. I really didn’t want to get a second car for our household with all the extra expense that came with it, and after waiting more than 30 minutes for the bus in freezing weather a few times, I decided an e-bike was the way to go.
“A colleague told me about funding available from the Energy Savings Trust and after a bit of research and a few months’ wait, my new bike arrived. Having an extra bit of assistance from an e-bike makes the longer commute much more feasible, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my employer’s excellent agile working policy that allows for hybrid working. Only needing to go into the office when my work requires it makes the commute more feasible and I normally end up cycling in two or three times a week. Even with the extra assistance of the e-bike, I’m not sure I could manage a five-day bike commute. My hybrid working really opened this up as an option.
“The e-bike has also helped me to explore the local area and find some interesting places and routes, plus I’ve even been taking it out for shopping trips to get vegetables and groceries – you can fit quite a bit even on a standard bike!”
Conquering fears and finding beautiful places
Jenny added: “I’ve had lots of questions from colleagues about my bike, and many express that they’d love to do more cycling but are intimidated by being on the roads.
“In Lanarkshire, we have a pretty good cycle network with lots of off-road trails and quiet roads and they’re great for building up confidence to take on the traffic.
“Local drivers are respectful towards cyclists and give you plenty of space the vast majority of the time. While lots of cycle routes take you through beautiful places too – a highlight of my commute is going through Chatelherault park and along the banks of the Old Avon, which are always stunning. Sometimes just giving it a go is the best thing you can do, and cyclists are generally pretty happy to talk about bikes and related things, so ask questions if you’re interested.”
What’s involved with hybrid training?
We run hybrid training programmes for managers and leaders, as well as whole teams, to help organisations embed hybrid working so it’s an effective way to work, and ensures wellbeing for people who are in the office less often. Workshop sessions cover topics such as connection and collaboration, motivation, company culture communicating in a hybrid environment and sustainability. You can find out more information on our hybrid training page.