Businesses using absence management software could notice an improvement in attendance if they encourage staff to cycle to work, new figures suggest.

Sustrans, the sustainable transport charity, released statistics showing that wider adoption of this method of getting to work could halve the number of employee sick days, boosting business productivity by £13.7 billion in the process.

This figure is based on the estimate that absenteeism costs employers £258 per day and that the average worker takes 4.5 days off a year, compared to 2.4 days for people who cycle.

Ahead of the launch of the Support Cycling to Work campaign, Sustrans surveyed 1,306 individuals across the National Cycle Network and found that over two-thirds (68 per cent) had not taken a single sick day in the past year.

The charity said the government could promote cycling to work by setting minimum standards of support and facilities for workplaces to help people commuting by bike.

Provisions could include showers, bike parking spots and assistance in finding a safe route to work.

Sustrans chief executive Malcolm Shepherd said too many employers are missing out on the benefits of staff cycling to work because they do not provide adequate support.

Separate research conducted by YouGov found that more than a fifth (22 per cent) of employees who commute, but not by bike, choose not to cycle because their workplace does not have the facilities they need.

Mr Shepherd said: "Cycle parking and showers in an office should be as common as a printer and a coffee machine and by introducing a 'cycle-to-work standard' governments would be taking the first steps to making this a reality.

"Making it safer, easier and more enjoyable for people to get to work by bike would unlock huge economic gains and health benefits for the UK."

Sustrans recently called for full implementation of the recommendations included in the all-party parliamentary group report Get Britain Cycling.

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