Demonstrating how small employers can walk the talk, Health in Common has won ‘Gold’ as the 2014 Commuter Friendly Workplace.
This uniquely Manitoban award, presented annually by Green Action Centre, recognizes employers that support their staff to take transit, bike, walk, telework or carpool to work year-round through a mix of policies, programs, infrastructure and benefits.
“This process was a really nice opportunity to reflect on the supports we have in place to create a commuter friendly workplace,” says Anna Weier, Planning and Evaluation Facilitator at Health in Common.
“We had a chance to talk about the things that we do to support active and green commuting, and I realized that we have a great balance of policy, infrastructure and staff initiative that supports commuter options.”
For instance, staff member Daniel Gravenor built a winter bike that he and his co-workers can use as an office bike. This allows employees to get to work however they choose and still have access to a bicycle to get to meetings that are close by.
Indoor bicycle parking is provided year-round in a secure room and showers plus change rooms are available to all employees.
Another way in which Health in Common offers inspiration as a role model for other small workplaces includes providing bus tickets at the front desk for staff to use as needed when heading to an off-site meeting during the day.
An annual $300 per employee allotment from a Sustainability and Healthy Living Fund can be applied to the cost of bus passes, a bicycle, running shoes, or other related items that support an active and green commute to work.
As a framework to these policies, Health in Common has developed a healthy workplace document, with sustainability goals included in the indicators. These are discussed and updated annually with all staff.
Health in Common’s decision to move their office into the Exchange District was a big boost to their employees’ ability and motivation to walk, bike and bus. From this central location, staff are within walking distance of many amenities plus within a short walk of bus stops serviced by numerous routes.
In addition, a bike lane runs by right outside their door, with City bike racks conveniently located on the sidewalk for visitors to the office, and a bike shop can be found nearby.
Cathy Steven, Executive Director for Health in Common adds, “Thanks to Green Action Centre for this award. We really appreciate being recognized, especially by one of our valued partners.”
Green Action Centre is a non-profit, community-based organization in Manitoba that promotes greener living through environmental education and encourages practical green solutions for households, workplaces, schools, and communities.
Health in Common is a non-profit based in Winnipeg that works with organizations and communities to build planning and evaluation capacity; making sure initiatives are effective, not just popular.
All photos by Leif Norman