Global Employee Health & Fitness Month

May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month. It is an international event designed to celebrate and promote the benefits of healthy living both for employers and employees. Our focus this month is commuting and how shared mobility offerings, particularly active modes, can encourage workplace health and fitness, with a return on investment for employers – both socially and financially.

We interviewed four shared mobility experts to find out their views on:

  • The different types of workplace health and fitness.
  • How work-related travel affects employee well-being.
  • What employers should do to measure the success of offering alternative transportation solutions to their employees.

Watch the full interview below or keep reading for a transcript of the interview questions and answers. For more Employee Health and Fitness Shared Mobility content, check out last year’s interview and article here.

Global Employee Health & Fitness Month: Interview Q&A

Expert Interviewees

Esteban Sanchez

Co-Founder & CTO at Commutifi

Judith Häberli

Co-Founder & COO at Urban Connect

Kevin McLaughlin

CEO at Zygg

Shreyansh Shah

Associate Director of Strategic Alliances at MYBYK

What comes to mind when you think of workplace health and fitness?


I immediately think of e-bikes because I do think more people should use them to commute instead of sitting  in traffic or in a public transport where they are squeezed together – when isn’t healthy for the body of for mental health. I believe going by bike is just the best option if you are physically able.


If I had to choose one word I would probably say walking. When we think of health and fitness we think of the gym, but in North America we see people driving to the gym, so they can exercise. There is a study from the UK that says just eleven minutes a day of brisk activity can reduce the risk of early death. It might not get you healthy but it does a lot. If you can just have a workplace that encourages, not necessarily walking to work, but walking for lunch, walking with a colleague outside if it’s nice to do a meeting – just a walking culture. That’s a start towards more health and fitness.


I would have to say productivity. If you are healthy, I’m pretty sure that your productivity goes up. Especially when you are in your office, working with your team. So I would say it should be productivity.


The word that comes to mind is e-bike but that’s the only word that ever comes to mind  whenever I enter a conversation, much to everyones Chagrin. I don’t know that there’s a single word, so much as a sentence ‘make your commute fun’ or ‘love your commute.’

I think that from an employer’s point of view, if people love their commute then going to work is not so bad. A lot of people hate their commute and so you’re in a terrible mood when you get there, you’re in a terrible mood before you have to get home etc. e-bikes are for those people who don’t enjoy there commute and enjoy using the mode, which is a growing number. They are a great way to get somewhere relatively quickly, consistently and with as much exercise as you want. They tick lot of of boxes for those of us who’ve had the Kool-Aid.

How much does work-related travel affect employee well-being? What is the impact of shared mobility solutions?


I don’t have data on the mobility effect on employee happiness. I like a study that has been done in Europe and I think it’s it’s really impressive. If you have more than 40 minutes of commuting time, every additional minute is like a decrease of salary by one percent, from the satisfaction level of the employee. We have data on the impact it has on their Mobility behavior and there we saw that in over 70 of users, it had a positive impact on their Mobility behavior.

I think it was a case with a company in the Swiss mountains who have e-bikes and electric vehicles like Teslas as well and now they will also start with the public transport integration. I thought it was quite interesting that so many people felt like this multimodal shared approach had a positive impact on their behavior. The employees that used to come to work with a car, 28 percent came less or no more with the car, which I hope had a positive impact on their well-being – I just don’t really have data on well-being.


I’d say overall I think what we’ve seen as commuting, impacts health and wellness a lot, but mostly stress. There’s a lot of stress and happiness that’s either created or diminished by a bad commute or a good commute. There are studies that show that commute times over 45 minutes employees are more at risk of leaving a job and that just adding 10 minutes afterwards to commute is the equivalent of 19% pay cut in job satisfaction. That’s a big impact on satisfaction.

What we’ve seen is that short commutes are always good. If you can have an active commute (not everyone can) but if you can have an active commute well that’s good for your well-being for reduced stress, good for your cardiovascular health and many other things. If you have a very long commute but can have an hybrid schedule maybe go a few days to the office and save the commute time other days that’s great too.


in India, it’s not very prominent yet, but a few large companies are trying to reward the people who are commuting on a bicycle with programs like ‘cycle to work.’

When I just spoke about productivity, I think at times we lack getting exercising. We don’t find time especially in the mornings because we always stuck in the traffic now. You have time to get stuck in a car ,in the traffic, but no time for yourself to be healthy and fit.

If the distance is short, about four to five miles, I would say it’s very easy for you to use a cycle to commute to work or to your college if you are a student. What I’m observing of late is a few companies have been innovating solutions, such as reward schemes. They are also offering shower and changing room facilities so people in India because of the climate. You may get sweaty when you cycle here because of the humid weather.

How should employers measure the returns of offering alternative transportation solutions?


They can measure it with Commutifi – that’s the simple answer. That’s the core of Commutifi, we help gather the right data to make sure programs are meeting the needs of employees, but are also being cost effective or impacting the environment and that we’re building and improving the right programs. I’d say there’s many angles to commuting. I talked about commute time and we all want to minimize that. Seventy Five percent of employees are saying that’s one of their key factors in the signing.

When we think of a return on investment on the cost of commuting for the employer, who might be spending tens of thousands of dollars on parking spaces, these lease are expensive. There is also a cost on the employee side. Think about someone driving to work, maybe 30 kilometer, there’s a cost of depreciation, gas, insurance, parking etc. There’s a lot of costs that we don’t even realize. I think the average commuter spends five to ten thousand dollar a year driving into work for long distance drivers.

There’s also the sustainability impact. We’re seeing more and more organizations try to measure their scope 1 and scope 2 emissions but also scope three emissions, which are indirect emissions and commuting is a big part of that. We’re working with organizations and seeing that commuting emissions for a company can be even higher than the energy required to run a building. That’s that’s a clear return on investment.

My advice for a company is try to get a baseline to understand where you stand today and then as you implement programs, you can compare against that baseline. Have you improved sustainability? Have you reduced cost? Have you improved commute time? I think these factors will lead to hopefully increase the well-being and increase happiness levels too.


There are different approaches. It depends on what type of modalities that they book with us. If it’s just bikes and they’ve never had bikes before, it’s probably more about what they would like to measure. How do the employees like the offering? Is it being used? How many trips per day per vehicle? 

When it comes to cars, what is really interesting is that most companies already have a fleet. Before we start working with them, we analyze the existing Fleet with trackers. We put trackers into each of the cars for a couple of month and we measure the behavior. We look at how many times in the couple of months were all the cars in use at the same time. Based on that data we collect, several clients were able to reduce the fleet by 30 -making them shareable instead. This can reduce the fleet cost by by a third and the parking costs as well.

With many workplaces now offering hybrid working opportunities, how are employers managing the logistics of commuting?


I’d say there’s two key changes I’ve seen. The first one is that before the pandemic, we were seeing the best employers investing into employee commuting. However most employers were resistant by stating that commuting was not part of their responsibility. Post pandemic, now that we’ve seen that everyone can work at home, we’re seeing a change of mindset. Now understand that they need to provide an experience if they want people to come back to the office.

The second thing is on the organization side of things. Pre-pandemic it was very easy, nine to five, five days a week. ‘Traveling by public transport? ‘I’ll buy your monthly transit pass.’ ‘Driving to work? I’ll get you a monthly parking pass.’ From an administrative point of view that’s a very simple approach. Now, you might be coming to the office two/three times a week and your days might be shifting. There’s a lot more to consider in terms of logistics. We’ve been working with employers to create dynamic booking systems that employees can access. Commuting solutions need to be optimized with technology instead of a static pattern that never changes.

What returns do employers see by offering e-bikes to their employees?


Employee happiness is certainly something that has been like brought up to employers and the reduced amount of car parking needed. We had one client in 2018 and they used to add a lot of free parking for employees. Then they moved into a new building where they had a third of the original parking spaces. They had to find alternatives. You can still book a parking spot but it’s more expensive. There are also 40 bikes for employees to use.

Bikes also help when it comes to employee commuting time. In the city, usually it’s much faster to move from one spot to the other with an e-bike, than with your car. You’re not stuck in traffic and you don’t have to look for parking spot.


There are a number of companies, including Zygg, that offer transportation benefits and subsidies for their employees. I think that’s very innovative on the employer side.

Also, thinking about where people are going to park their four/five/8 thousand dollar cargo bike, whatever it is. The good news is that with an e-bike, for the most part, you don’t have to worry about charging. Last week there was an EV conference in Toronto, called EV and charging Network or something like that and there were representatives from a large telecommunications company who own a lot of real estate. They are trying to figure out how to get people back to work in their empty real estate. They were so focused on how to install chargers so people can drive their electric cars to work and weren’t even thinking about e-bikes.

That’s the nice thing about e-bikes, you don’t need to install the the charging networks. Yes, it would be nice if you upgraded to more secure parking, but it’s way less expensive than stringing out 220 volts or whatever it is to every parking spot.

How are employers encouraging their employees to make use of alternative commuting solutions?


We seeing this in the corporate world but also with government employees. There’s a Smart City Mission in India which is conducting this ‘cycle to work’ campaign where the government employees are also encouraged to use a bicycle. Every time we are using a bike, we are also using the Ultimo or Strava app so there is a leaderboard. Whoever Cycles the most gets a reward or some recognition. It’s not always a financial benefit but you will have a sense that you’re contributing to the environment and staying fit. It’s happening, albeit, at a very small scale but I’m pretty sure that this will also pick up in the future.

For more Employee Health and Fitness Shared Mobility content, check out last year’s interview and article here.

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