When the design and consultation company AFRY decided to offer its roughly 1,900 employees benefit bikes, Vapaus was there to support the company with its expertise. Efficient communication, effortless co-operation and excellent references convinced AFRY about Vapaus. The company wanted to be among the first to offer the benefit to all of their employees.
“I was waiting for my bike impatiently. The day after it arrived, I cycled over 45 kilometres. It may have been a bit too much,” Taneli Manninen, a structural design engineer and owner of a new electric Canyon benefit bike, remembers with a chuckle.
Manninen works in AFRY’s infrastructure services at their Oulu offices. AFRY is a global design and consulting company that develops digitalisation and sustainable development solutions in the energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors. In Finland, AFRY employs approximately 1,900 people and operates across the country from Hanko to Kittilä.
“Responsibility and sustainable development are everyday considerations in AFRY’s operations. That’s why AFRY employees are so eager to find environmentally friendly ways of commuting to work. We also see the bicycle benefit as an important way of supporting the well-being of our staff, both at work and during their leisure time,” says Janita Päivämaa, an HR specialist at AFRY.
When it came to implementing benefit bikes, AFRY found the expertise Vapaus offered to be extremely useful. The tax benefits available for benefit bikes in Finland are fairly new, and Vapaus already had a set of tools with which to utilise them. AFRY employees had plenty of questions about the tax benefits.
“Right from the start, Lasse Keronen from Vapaus recommended that we hold a Q&A session for our employees. He would be happy to answer questions and concerns regarding benefit bikes. It was a great idea!” Janita Päivämaa says.
“Before the session, we were asked around 40 questions about things like calculating the tax benefit, how it affects pay, bike maintenance, insurance and prices. Many of the people considering a benefit bike know a lot about bikes and were specifically interested in more expensive models and accessories. Vapaus gave clear and helpful answers to all of those questions and did so in a completely transparent way.”
The Q&A event responded to the needs of AFRY employees who were considering getting a benefit bike, and since then, the process has continued without a hitch. Vapaus takes care of the whole benefit bike service, and AFRY’s only job is to co-ordinate the programme.
The first people received their bikes as soon as the benefit was implemented at AFRY in February.
Many steps have been taken at AFRY to promote employee well-being, and the company has previously encouraged its employees to cycle to work by running a Bike to Breakfast campaign and taking part in the Kilometrikisa cycling competition.
When Manninen started working at AFRY in early 2020, he was pleasantly surprised by the company’s excellent employee benefits and how the company supported an active lifestyle with things like sports vouchers and various clubs. Benefit bikes are great for employees who enjoy cycling.
The pandemic has made working from home commonplace, which has turned Taneli Manninen’s commute into a few steps from one room to another.
“I’m very much looking forward to getting back to cycling the 15 kilometres to work on my bike.”
Luckily, benefit bikes are there for employees during their spare time too. This means Manninen can finish his workday by cycling along the forest trails and ploughed bike paths snaking through Oulu and its surroundings – typically in slightly shorter sprints than his 15-kilometre endurance trip to work.
Cycling is now more popular than ever and e-bikes dominate the tax-free benefit bike market. Cycling (and e-bikes) also complement solutions to achieve sustainability goals.
Vapaus’ journey to become the world’s most influential mobility service company received a significant boost when Vapaus’ Annual General Meeting approved the new Board in November 2021.
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