LinkedIn is known as being the world’s largest professional network, but the company is also leading when it comes to showing how bicycle culture and corporate culture are a good business fit. The company works with bicycle consulting company Bikes Make Life Better (BMLB) to run and manage various programs at LinkedIn’s corporate campus, with these programs highlighting the different uses and benefits of bicycling in a corporate environment.
Bike Share: Moving People Around
At its 29-acre Silicon Valley corporate campus, LinkedIn keeps a fleet of over 200 bikes to help employees get to meetings, run errands among the different buildings, or just get out and about during the workday.
In addition to the benefits of wellness and sustainability, LinkedIn has found that the service makes good business sense. The convenience of always having a bike available for short trips and not having to deal with the hassles of sitting in traffic and looking for parking saves time and money. LinkedIn has been able to cut travel time to lunch and campus meetings by 60%, which means workers have more time to get more things done.
According to Program Manager Kyle Winslow, employees are putting more than 1000 miles a year on each bike, and LinkedIn has just added another 120 more bicycles.
Managing Bike Share: Getting Cargo Around
To make the bike-sharing program as convenient as possible, LinkedIn uses a dockless system. So while employees should return the bikes to the racks after use, they often leave them elsewhere on campus or even off-campus. It's up to the BMLB staff to go out and retrieve the bikes, which sometimes end up at other tech campuses, in parks, or in areas of the campus where cars are not allowed.
To manage the retrieval program, BMLB uses a cargo bike with a custom-made trailer. In the traffic of Silicon Valley, the bike-based solution is faster, has lower fuel costs, and provides access to more areas than a van could.
Not only does this solution make business sense, it also aligns well with LinkedIn’s sustainability strategy.
Mobile Concierge Station: Bringing Everyone Together
In addition to having employees use bikes to get around campus, LinkedIn promotes bicycle commuting through its RideIn Program (Note: LinkedIn has since changed its Transportation Program branding to "Workplace"). This eco-friendly program promotes sustainability and makes for a healthier, more productive staff.
Looking at it from a business perspective, the cost of adding an additional parking space in Silicon Valley space can run in the tens of thousands of dollars, and local governments are increasingly setting daily limits on the number of single-occupancy vehicles (SOVs) that can access a company campus.
BMLB supports this program by providing classes on topics such as bike safety, maintenance, and route planning. Employees can also visit a bike consultant during office hours, where they can ask questions about which type of bike would be most suitable for their needs.
But rather than just waiting for people to come to them, BMLB adopted a more proactive strategy of riding a Tern GSD and a custom-made trailer around the LinkedIn Campus and setting up office hours in different areas where people congregate.
This Mobile Concierge Station is completely self-contained, with an umbrella, frame easel, whiteboard (for writing any messages), a complete set of swag to promote bicycling, and a portable battery to charge a computer and phone. Once parked, the Mobile Concierge makes an impressive info station for sharing tips and advice to enable more bike commuting.
According to Winslow, The GSD and trailer are great at attracting attention and are interesting conversation starters. After that, questions are answered, riders are recruited, and bike recommendations are made.
The Businesses Case For Bikes
Like LinkedIn, an increasing number of companies are adopting Wellness Departments and Sustainability Departments. And bicycle culture fits right in with this trend. But the case for adopting a bicycle-based solution to solve a business problem or promote a business program is not just about wellness and sustainability. Oftentimes, it just makes good business sense.
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