Could it be any easier? Vapaus is Glaston’s #1 choice

The global stock-listed company in the glass processing technology industry, Glaston, wants to offer its employees the best possible employee benefits, so the company bike benefit was offered to everyone right away. The ease of use has been the most important feature of Vapaus' service.

"Vapaus (meaning ‘freedom’ in Finnish) truly lives up to its name, and that's what struck me immediately about the service: freedom."

That's how Stiina Enqvist, HR Director of Glaston Finland, explains the decision to choose Vapaus as the company's benefit bike service provider. Glaston is a global group specialising in glass processing technology, employing approximately 800 people worldwide and 170 in Tampere.

"Already in January 2021, when the benefit was still brand new, another service provider contacted us. Their benefit bike service was okay but too limited for us. So, I started googling, came across Vapaus, and we immediately scheduled a Teams meeting. After the discussion, the choice was obvious."

According to Enqvist, the entire benefit bike service sounded so easy and flexible – for example, in terms of bike selection – that there was no need to look for other providers. "After the decision, we received all the necessary materials and useful calculators for employees. Everything in Vapaus' service was made easy and well thought through," Enqvist smiles.

How can it be this easy?!

So easy – the same experience is echoed by Glaston's benefit bike users.

"I sent an email saying I wanted this bike. After a couple of clarifying questions, everything was clear, and the bike arrived a week later," says electrical designer Maarit Naskali. "Since then, I haven't had to do anything. Everything related to the benefit bike runs smoothly, and there haven't been any problems. It couldn't be easier than this."

Maarit Naskali and her new Canyon benefit bike

Warehouse worker Timo Nuutinen is equally satisfied. "I registered for Vapaus' service, chose a bike, and picked it up – extremely easy." Nuutinen admits that without the employee bike benefit, he might not have bought the expensive electric bike.

"I compared this method of getting a bike to an instalment plan, and the monthly payment here is lower than if I had bought the bike “normally”. Additionally, it's convenient that the payment is deducted directly from my salary."

I’ll ride this bike still even in my retirement years

For Timo Nuutinen, the brand choice for his benefit bike was immediately clear, as he had previously worked for 25 years at Helkama. Additionally, Nuutinen wanted an electric bike to make his 4,5 kilometre commute, which includes hills and gravel sections, a bit easier than with a regular bike.

Timo Nuutinen and his Helkama benefit bike.

Nuutinen received his benefit bike in April. Since then, he has cycled to work about thirty times during the summer and early autumn. "The benefit bike has brought cycling back into my life. It feels good. However, I'm so comfort-minded that on rainy days or during winter frosts, I usually take the car."

Currently, cycling is a part of Nuutinen's daily exercise routine, which also includes plenty of chores around his detached house. With retirement years approaching, Nuutinen wanted a bike that is easy to use, even if with age, his leg doesn't lift as easily as before. "I chose a low-frame model to make getting on and off as easy as possible."

By bike to shops and hobbies

Like Timo Nuutinen, Maarit Naskali, who has spent five years at Glaston, got a benefit bike right away in the spring. Naskali's choice was a well-equipped urban hybrid. "Anyway, I was going to exchange the old bike for a new one, and this way I got a high-quality, more valuable bike at a cheaper price."

Naskali mentions that cycling is a pleasant way for her to get around, and physical activity is an important part of her daily life. She rarely cycles her approximately 20 kilometre commute to work; instead, the bike is convenient for short everyday trips to the store and hobbies.

"Ecological reasons also weigh on my decision to choose a bike over a car. On the other hand, I enjoy cycling and might even go for a bike ride just for the sake of it," Naskali reflects. "Now that I've been working remotely a lot, I don't even have a commute, but I'm happy to go to the office occasionally to see people. I will definitely bike to work 1-2 times a week next summer. The 20 kilometres is quite pleasant, about an hour's ride on well-lit asphalt roads."

Bike increases exercise, exercise increases general well-being

According to Stiina Enqvist, HR Director of Glaston Finland, the benefit bicycle is a way to support the well-being of the staff. The idea behind the benefit is not specifically for commuting by bicycle, but employees are encouraged to use the benefit bike even purely for recreational purposes. Physical activity is important for maintaining work capacity, so the company also offers various fitness benefits in general, such as full-value fitness vouchers, different sports clubs, and well-being days.

Stina Enqvist chose Bianchi as her benefit bike.

At Glaston, around twenty employees have already taken advantage of the company's employee bike benefit so far, including Enqvist. "I initially thought I would take my time to look around and decide on which bike to choose. However, I ended up placing my order as soon as the benefit became available! I opted for a lightweight carbon fibre road bike with a larger frame than my old bike, which has improved my riding comfort," Enqvist explains. "I enjoy running, but last summer's hot weather made it less appealing, so cycling became a suitable complementary activity."

Enqvist, both as a benefit bike owner and a representative of HR, considers Vapaus a superb service provider. "Once the employee information is set up, the tax calculations are done and HR conveniently receives the details through the Vapaus app, which minimises the administrative workload," she notes. However, there's one aspect that Stiina Enqvist laments from the employer's perspective: "The benefit was supposed to be entirely cost-neutral for the employer, but now there are pension contributions to consider. Hopefully, the pension insurer will align their handling of the benefit with that of the tax authorities."