Walmart is pushing to have 10% of the retailer’s workforce at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, commute by bike or in any way other than riding alone by 2025.
- Walmart has set a goal of getting 10% of its workforce at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, to commute to work by bike or in any way other than riding alone by 2025.
- To count toward the 10%, an employee must use alternative travel modes two or three times a week for a year.
- Currently, fewer than 1% of Bentonville’s employees meet the company’s goals, according to Walmart.
- To reach the goal, Walmart has partnered with People For Bikes, which works with businesses to expand bike infrastructure and educate residents on biking, and has hired a director of workplace mobility to oversee the transition.
Why it’s news
Walmart is working on cutting carbon emissions, alleviating road congestion, and making employees healthier, happier, and more productive at its headquarters by pushing them to bike or walk to work two or three times per week.
In 2019, Walmart unveiled plans for a new 350-acre corporate campus at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. The company also stated that its goal was to get 10% of workers to commute to work on a bike by 2023, but the goal was harder to reach than expected.
“We don’t have a strong active-commuting culture at Walmart,” says senior vice president for corporate real estate Cindi Marsiglio. “We do not have the infrastructure, the programs, or the incentives to encourage you to do that—even on the loveliest days and in the best weather.”
Last year after having a tough time reaching the goal, Walmart pushed the goal back to 2025, when the full campus is expected to open, and also broadened the terms to include walking, riding a scooter, taking a bus, carpooling, or getting to work any other way than driving alone.
Having employees carpool and drive bikes and scooters to work will limit emissions released by employees, alleviate some of the traffic on the roads in Bentonville, and make employees healthier, happier, and more productive.
When the new Walmart campus opens, roughly half its employees will live within five miles of work, according to Walmart. Employees biking, scootering, or walking the five miles to work could positively affect mental health.
Numerous mental wellness benefits are associated with being outside, such as a lower risk of depression and faster psychological stress recovery. Studies have shown that being in nature can restore and strengthen mental capacities, increasing focus and attention, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
To push the transition, Walmart teamed up with People For Bikes, a company that helps to expand bike infrastructure and educate residents on the importance of biking. With the company, Walmart has established a plan to help boost employees to bike.
The plan is for every employee to access bike parking, showers, and lockers easily. Walmart dialed back on the number of car parking spots and ensured that there would be enough bike parking employees biking to work.
The company also hired Kourtney Barrett as the director of workplace mobility to oversee the 10% transition to biking and other transportation methods.
Barrett has experimented with different tactics to help employees switch to biking to work, including setting up a bike ambassadors group on the company’s internal message board, hosting learning workshops, and has discussed the possibility of introducing incentive programs to reward frequent bike riders with discounts on bikes and other gear sold by Walmart.
The company is optimistic that it will reach its 10% goal by 2025 but still has a long way to go to convince more workers to take the step, but Barrett says they are still just in the beginning stages.
“We’re building something from the ground up,” she states.