The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition has just chosen Keysight Technologies as the 2019 Sonoma County Bike Friendly Business of the Year. Not only do thirty to forty of their employees regularly cycle to work, some of them have been doing so for decades!
Senior Vice President Hamish Gray started with Keysight’s predecessor Hewlett Packard thirty years ago in Scotland, where many employees either bicycled or took the train from Edinburgh. “Just getting out of college, I thought it was really cool to be able to ride my bike to work like that!”
Is the company’s hilltop campus – and the traffic on Fountaingrove Parkway – a deterrent to biking? Not to Senior Applications Engineer Andy Howard, who’s been riding to work for thirty-four years. He reports that he’s rarely had conflict with automobile drivers on his route. Another employee, Scott Garcia, shared his strategy: he rides the bus up in the morning and then cycles downhill home.
CREATING A BICYCLING CULTURE
Another group of employees keep their bikes onsite and head out for a ride at lunchtime. There’s a community toolkit and spare parts for riders who need to make minor adjustments or repairs. Keysight participates in Bike to Work Day each year with as many as one hundred riders.
Other bike-friendly programs and policies include:
- A flex-time policy allowing many employees discretion as to when to begin and end their workdays.
- Wellness policies which support cycling at lunch or during other periods of the day.
- Secure areas to store bicycles inside and outside the site’s buildings.
- A bulletin board where staff can offer bikes for sale, post notices of events, etc.
- Locker rooms and showers so cyclist can store clean clothes and freshen up.
Many employees are members of the Santa Rosa Cycling Club, Red Peloton cycling team, and/or the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition (SCBC). Employee donations to SCBC are matched by the company.
GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
The company holds an annual fundraising event, the Tour de Keysight, which last year raised over $27,000 for 12 global charities. Each site around the world chooses a charity to support and then competes for the greatest distance travelled by bike or on foot. Last year 43 cyclists from the Santa Rosa site collectively rode over 2,000 miles. The company also matches fundraising pledges dollar-for-dollar, doubling the impact. Local Keysight employees participate in many other fundraising rides, including Sea-to-Sierra, Wine Country Century, Giro Bello, Tour de Fox, Tour de Fuzz, and Levi’s Granfondo.
A COMMITMENT TO WELLNESS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Keysight has numerous facilities to support employee wellness. Outdoor gathering areas, hiking trails, a gym, and numerous fitness classes are available. After the gym burned down in the 2017 fires, they brought in spin cycles which were installed under a building overhang so classes could be held outdoors. (They are still often brought outside for class.) Community gardens and outdoor artwork beautiful the grounds.
The parking lot includes free charging stations for electric vehicles, and the company has a plan with Uber for staff to get to and from the airport or SMART station. Discount transit passes are also available.
HAPPY EMPLOYEES = LONGTERM EMPLOYEES
Is it any wonder Keysight is frequently ranked as one of the North Bay’s best places to work? According to the League of American Bicyclists, bicycling can help companies create more energized and productive employees, decrease healthcare costs, and attract and retain top talent. The League’s Bicycle Friendly America program certifies businesses, cities, and college campuses. In Sonoma County, Sutter Hospital and the cities of Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, and Sonoma are certified at the Bronze level.
Check out our suggestions for making your business more bike-friendly or investigate the requirements for League certification here.