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The spotlight on addressing climate change and environmental regeneration is brighter than ever before. In the wake of the health and economic crisis brought about by Covid-19, people are more aware of their impact on the world around them and how they can contribute to a cleaner, more enjoyable environment for all.

Indeed, this environmental focus feels even more imperative in the workplace. Never before have companies been so under the microscope regarding their impact on the world around them.

In the workplace, employees are putting sustainability and positive action on the agenda by requesting greener employee benefits. Here, we run through some of the best.

Secure the next generation of incredible talent with loveelectric. Our salary sacrifice electric car benefit shows the world that your company cares about the environment – and saving your employees money! 

Why green benefits matter

Like all business strategies, employee benefits evolve with the workforce's needs. In addition, the current focus on social, environmental and political activities has forced businesses to reconsider how they make decisions. 

It’s clear that companies that bolster their environmental and social responsibility will have the pick of the most talented employees. The Purpose Pulse Report found that 71% of Millenials and Gen Z’s see climate change as the biggest challenge facing their generation – and that concern directly impacts where they choose to work. In addition, Deloitte’s 2021 Global Millenials and Gen Z Survey revealed that 44% of Millenials and 49% of Gen Z’s have made choices about what work they do, and whom they do that work for, based on their values. 

Green benefits are a fantastic way to show the world that your company is aligned with this green consciousness and prioritises positive action in fighting climate change. 

Source: Flores (2021)

Green or otherwise, employee benefits are a fantastic way to ensure that your employees are happy and motivated in their job. The Society for Human Resource Management found that 92% of employees said great benefits were important to their overall job satisfaction. Additionally, sustainability activities clearly have a positive impact on employees across several measures, including employees’ perceptions of their company (Skudiene and Auruskeviciene, 2012), engagement (Hejjas, Miller and Scarles, 2019), motivation (Kim and Scullion, 2013), job satisfaction (Lee and Chen, 2018), and general wellbeing (Ahmed et al., 2020).

Ensuring that your employees are happy, motivated and aligned with your values is critical in the post-lockdown economy. The ‘Great Recession’ has had a significant impact across nearly every sector. With plenty of time during lockdown to consider what is important to employees, flexibility, great benefits, and access to wellbeing support have jumped to the top of the list for many – and they’re willing to shop around for the right place to work. 

Aligning your company’s brand with sustainability is excellent for business, too. Not only do green companies attract and retain top talent, but they also increase their bottom line.

So, what green benefits are employers choosing?

1. Cleaner commutes

Employee commutes can be one of companies' most considerable collective carbon emissions. However, by rewarding employees with incentives as part of their benefits packages, commutes can be greener and new, healthier habits can be formed – all while reaping the rewards of more engaged, happy and committed employees.

Cycle to work

Photo by Metin Ozer on Unsplash

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuel-powered cars is an excellent way to save on carbon – and a bike is a great substitute. 

The cycle-to-work scheme is an example of a ‘salary sacrifice’ initiative, where employees sacrifice a small portion of their salary each month in exchange for a bike of their choice at a reduced cost. 

Not only does the cycle-to-work scheme help reduce your organisation’s carbon generation and help your employees save a substantial amount on a new bike, but it also promotes greater health benefits for your employees. Illness as an outcome of physical inactivity costs the NHS up to £1 billion per year, and encouraging people to take up more active forms of transport can support the health of your organisation.  

Electric cars

Image by James Upright

Like the cycle-to-work scheme, an electric car salary sacrifice benefit gives employees access to a new electric car – at a fraction of the cost. 

At loveelectric, electric car salary sacrifice is our bread and butter. Salary sacrifice dramatically cuts the cost of electric cars for your employees, helping you retain your best talent and boosting your company’s green credentials.

A salary sacrifice is a scheme in which an employee foregoes a portion of their gross salary in exchange for a benefit. You may be familiar with other salary sacrifices, such as pensions or childcare schemes, where a part of your salary will go to one of these benefits. The loveelectric salary sacrifice scheme allows you to obtain an electric car for up to 50% less on the monthly cost.

While employers can run an electric car salary sacrifice scheme in-house, it is a complex area that sits at the intersection of employment, tax, financial services, and commercial law. At loveelectric, we take the headache out of salary sacrifice, working with employers across the UK to help them implement an EV salary sacrifice scheme – reducing their admin, saving their employees money and helping them tread lighter on the world around them (without sacrificing style and performance). 

If you’d like to learn more about how electric car salary sacrifice works, we have several in-depth articles on how the benefit works, insights on the tax benefits of a salary sacrifice scheme, and a run-down of our most frequently asked questions.  

Of course, getting your next bike or electric car on a salary sacrifice scheme is not just for your commute, either! Whether you work from an office, at home or in a hybrid situation, employees can use their electric car for whatever purpose they need – brilliant news for the remote working revolution.

2. Remote working

The Covid-19 lockdowns had a huge impact on every aspect of our lives – and how we work is no different. After discovering the benefits of remote and flexible working, it’s clear that those who want to go back into the office full-time are in the minority: since lockdown, the percentage of workers who wanted a flexible working model jumped from 38% to 63% (McKinsey & Company, 2021). 

Source: McKinsey & Company, 2021

There are so many reasons to love remote working. First, it builds your company’s environmental credentials, reducing your company’s collective carbon emissions overnight as employees cut their commute from across town to across the hall. Indeed, rushing back to the office can be one of the most carbon-intensive choices your company can make: if everyone in the UK worked from home four days a week, the amount of nitrogen dioxide, which is the primary pollutant generated by traffic emissions, would be reduced by around 10%.

Not only does remote working offer the greatest flexibility to your team and the lowest carbon emissions to your company as a whole, but it also indicates high trust, leading to greater job satisfaction and motivation. Remote working shows employees that a company is forward-thinking and supportive of an outstanding work-life balance. You’ll also see greater productivity in your team as office distractions are reduced to a bare minimum.

Flexible working arrangements are becoming increasingly common for employers to offer their workforce. This perk demonstrates to  employees that their company is forward-thinking and makes it easier for them to achieve a positive work-life balance. On top of that, it builds a company’s green credentials. Employees that aren’t required to commute to the office every day help reduce collective emissions. Plus, this benefit helps them save money too, making it a win-win for all.

3. ‘Slow’ holidays

We all know the tremendous carbon cost of taking a plane versus opting for the train – but what’s to be done when you want to get a week of summer sunshine on your holiday? 

Slow holidays are one of the most interesting green benefits out there. Instead of trying to maximise their holiday time by getting there as quickly as possible, employees are offered extra holiday days when those days are used for travel via low-carbon transport.

And the carbon savings are massive. Taking the train between European cities costs the planet six times less CO2 than flying. For example, a journey from London to Madrid would emit 43kg (95lb) of CO2 per passenger by train – compared to a whopping 118kg by plane.

Source: EcoPassenger, via BBC

While implementing slow holidays is an internal benefit your company can consider, organisations like Byway help travellers organise their slow travel itineraries, taking the fuss out of planning your next low-carbon holiday. 

4. Green pension options

The growth in funds invested in Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) principles has rapidly increased in recent years. Indeed, global impact funds took in nearly $350bn in 2021, compared with $165bn in 2019.

The same holds true for green, or high-impact, pension funds. It is estimated that moving one £100,000 pension pot from a traditional portfolio of oil and gas companies into a high-impact fund is the equivalent of taking five or six cars off the road. And with approximately £3 trillion of UK pension funds currently invested, offering a green choice to where your employees can invest your pension can have a massive impact on individual, organisational and country-wide carbon emissions. 

Many employers may be surprised that the default pension fund on their scheme is heavily invested in oil, gas and tobacco. However, changes to UK government policy in June 2022 mean that pension schemes must measure and publish how their investments support the Paris Agreement climate goal

Not only is offering a green alternative to your employees’ pension options a fantastic way to show that you are taking positive action, it’s also a great financial option for your team’s future financial position. Across six different categories of funds and over a five-year period, Morningstar found that sustainable funds consistently outperformed their standard counterparts by between 0.54 and 1.91%.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

The employee benefits industry is going through a green revolution. There are many fantastic options out there that show your employees – and potential new talent – that your company is aligned with their values. 

At loveelectric, we are passionate about taking the fuss out of salary sacrifice so you can enjoy the benefits as soon as possible. Once you’ve signed up (it takes just 10 minutes!), we handle all of the admin at no extra cost to you from order to delivery. 

Choosing an electric car over a fossil-fuelled car is the single biggest decision you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. Choosing to loveelectric at your company is the stress-free way to amplify that change.