For every employee at every organisational level, workloads, deadlines and even, dare we say it, irritating or inept colleagues can prove to be a real source of workplace stress, and the effects of it should not be underestimated.
Too much stress is associated with poor physical and mental health. It can contribute to elevated blood pressure, a weakened immune system, heart disease, depression and anxiety.
These problems can make it difficult to focus and be productive at work which in turn, creates more stress and aside from being detrimental to the employee, it can seriously hamper business productivity.
One of the easiest ways to beat the stress cycle is to get on a bike! Cycling to work is a really effective way of making a stress-free start to the day and shaking off hassles at the end of it.
Here are just a few of the stress-busting benefits:
Cut Down on Stressors
If you currently travel to work by car or public transport, you’ll know that queues, delays and traffic jams, not to mention the financial burden of paying for tickets, fuel and vehicle maintenance can all be a source of stress before you even hit the office.
According to totaljobs.com, on average, commuters will spend £135,000 on getting to and from work during their careers and for those employed in London, those costs can double.
By cycling to work, it’s possible to eliminate most of those stressors instantly. There will, of course, be the occasional dodgy motorist or bout of bad weather to contend with but on the whole, these pale into insignificance in comparison with the alternatives.
Improved Physical Health
In the short-term, cycling has an immediate effect on the body’s production of endorphins. Responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing, these natural hormones can help individuals to feel mentally prepared and positive about the day ahead.
In the long-term, cycling can help develop and maintain physical health which in turn, boosts feelings of self-esteem, making it easier to tackle challenging workloads, clients or customers with confidence.
Improved Mental Health
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), one in four people will experience mental health difficulties at some point during their lifetime.
However, because there’s such a stigma attached to even the most common symptoms like anxiety or depression in the workplace, only 35% of employees report feeling comfortable discussing mental health issues with their manager.
Coping with short or long-term mental health problems can be a major source of stress and although cycling isn’t a fix-all for these difficulties, it can help individuals to reduce and overcome them.
As already mentioned, cycling triggers the release of endorphins that are responsible for feelings of happiness but better yet, research suggests that bursts of aerobic activity can have a positive impact on cognition, memory, planning and reasoning.
For the individual employee, a reduction in stress can improve the quality of their working life and help them be productive, but when stress is reduced across an organisation, it can have a dramatic impact on organisational morale, communications, collaborative practice and business productivity.
If you are an employer who wants to help employees reduce stress levels by cycling to work or an employee who wants to start cycling, then you can take advantage of the government’s Cycle to Work Scheme which subsidises the cost of bikes, clothing and cycling accessories.
By Phil Harvey, Manager at Formby Cycles