Labelmaster encourages employees to break out the bikes
A Labelmaster employee practices loading a bike onto a front-of-bus bike rack at a company benefits fair.
- By Michael Chapman, Labelmaster
- June 5, 2012
Situated in the heart of the Peterson-Pulaski Industrial Corridor, Labelmaster, a manufacturer and supplier of industrial products, is proximate to a number of transportation options for company employees. Two CTA bus lines are within easy walking distance and a 135-space parking lot offers the opportunity for nearly every employee to drive to work.
Still, severe rush hour traffic congestion plagues area roadways, often resulting in significant delays and frustrated commuters. For many Labelmaster employees like Jeff Sader, that’s meant finding an alternative means to get to work: biking.
“I started biking to work because I don’t like depending on a car,” Sader said. “When I bike I don’t have to worry about the car starting, traffic conditions, having enough gas, saving gas money, etc.”
While neighborhood streets might be clogged with automobile traffic in the mornings and evenings, Labelmaster bicyclists generally find a clear path. Nearby Bryn Mawr Avenue provides marked bike lanes and a wide expanse for employees coming from the east and west, and several off-street trails along branches of the Chicago River offer a scenic, calm commute.
“It’s good exercise,” Sader added. “I get to experience the elements, both good and bad, and I’m refreshed and awake when I get to work. Because of the route I take, I also see a lot of wildlife. I’ve seen skunks, foxes, beavers, deer, coyote and great blue herons. And riding a bike is just plain fun.”
In an effort to improve employee commutes, Labelmaster has embraced a culture of biking. Bike racks are situated nearby both entrances to the company headquarters. Additionally, management recently began offering a unique benefit to workers: bike to Labelmaster one week a month and receive $20.
Human resources director Peggi Boyd said that so far this year, 12 to 15 employees have indicated they plan to take advantage of the benefit, which runs from May until October.
“We are proud to offer this innovative benefit to employees,” said Boyd. “The employees who love biking signed up immediately. And we continue to work on ways to boost the numbers of riders as the biking season progresses.”
Labelmaster’s work to expand bicycle commuting began with the Metropolitan Planning Council’s Commute Options program. As a pilot member of the program, Labelmaster learned through employee surveys that more than half of respondents travel a half-hour or longer one way to work, and more than 40 percent of employees do not drive, primarily relying on public transit.
Labelmaster installed a CTA bus tracker display near the front door, allowing employees to wait comfortably inside until a bus arrives.
“We feel fortunate to be working with MPC,” said Boyd. “They are a great organization which is trying to make life better for Chicagoland residents.”
Boyd and senior management continue to examine additional incentives for Labelmaster to encourage bicycle commuting.
“We are working on implementing a ‘guaranteed ride home’ benefit that could help bike commuters if their bike breaks down or if the weather does not cooperate,” Boyd said. “I think we’ll see even more riders by the end of the season as a result.”