British inflation surged in April this year to its highest annual rate since 1982. In response, then finance minister Rishi Sunak was forced to offer more help for households while the Bank of England continued to raise rates and the country stared down the likelihood of a major recession.
According to a recent Guardian article, Britain's poorest households could see their real cost of living increase by as much as 14%, with fuel, gas, electricity and food bills all soaring. In a climate of slower economic growth and a contraction in spending, there is ultimately less work for the gig economy. At Ryde, we think it is important for us as a 'rider first' business to think creatively about how we support our workforce. We've continued to build on the range of offerings to ease the pressure on their day-to-day living, and I've discussed a few of our measures below.
Access to Vehicles
We're passionate about enabling better outcomes for both our people and for the planet. To that effect, we've partnered with green delivery businesses such as Zoomo and EAV to help our workforce to access discounted and subsidised delivery vehicles on a rental basis. We also partnered with Volt and unlocked a zero downpayment financing solution for those wishing to purchase an e-bike.
To facilitate riders' access to electric cargo vehicles, we also provide fully accredited training that covers riding, maintenance and what to do in an emergency so that riders feel safe, efficient & confident in our vehicles.
We are opening the possibility of new types of work to a whole range of workers who previously were not able to access these opportunities. Currently, we are in discussions with a dark hubs partner to ensure we are building a fleet of highly accessible and cost-effective e-vehicles that workers from outside the cities can easily access and store post-shift in the city centre.
In order to help our workers to stay on the road safely without spending a fortune on maintenance, we partnered with Fix Your Cycle to facilitate free bike checks.
To keep them properly insured at the lowest possible cost, we built an integration with Zego, which charges them insurance only for the time they are actively riding, meaning there is zero downtime and 'wasted' insurance cost.
We've also partnered with the leader in the provision of benefits programs to self-employed workers - Collective Benefits. Within the context of this partnership, we've worked with their team to build a unique benefits package that offers:
- Protection if workers are legally liable for causing injury or damage to a third party.
- Family Support Services Helping workers take care of the people who matter most.
- Financial Support Services Making the most of their money and expert advice on legal matters.
- Mental Health Support Expert support and counselling for workers and their dependents.
- Digital GP Connect with a GP via phone, instant chat or video.
Time Off Work Protection
- Family Leave Maternity and paternity benefit for the self-employed.
- Compassionate Leave Compassionate benefit upon the loss of an immediate family member.
- Accidental Death Compensation in the case of accidental death.
- Disability Compensation in the case of permanent injury.
- Accident & injury Keep getting paid when workers are injured.
We're excited to be at the forefront of providing workers with comprehensive solutions to some of the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Gear and Giveaways
We hold regular rider events and engage our community. During these events, we love to surprise our workforce with a whole range of giveaways, including everything from apple mobile phones to brand-new electric bikes. We invest heavily in quality equipment, from helmets to bicycle locks, to ensure our team is well protected.
We even love just doing the simple things like getting out in our branded e-cargo bikes and giving away ice-creams and water on hot days or cash bonuses for working in difficult conditions. Every little bit helps! We ensure our office door is always open and that riders know they are welcome to pop in for cold drinks whenever they pass.
One of the really fun things we do monthly is the rider lottery. It's our way of creating a 'surprise and thrill' experience for one lucky rider. When riders sign up for shifts in certain areas and at certain times, they become eligible for our lottery. The randomly selected monthly winner receives an additional £1000 pay. For a rider, this could, in many cases, represent half of more than their entire monthly earnings, so we know this program is well loved.
Progression and Up-skilling
Finally, the most meaningful way I believe we can give back to our hardworking rider community is by upskilling them and promoting them. Helping to develop them on their journey through their career. We're really proud to say that not only do we proactively monitor and promote 'rider captains', but we also bring riders into our office and support team as part of the permanent team regularly.
Being able to truly understand the challenges of being a rider from those that have been there is invaluable for us in developing our business. Seeing an ex-rider relating to the current group and helping to improve their lives is a really rewarding experience for us at Ryde.
We fully expect that things are going to get tougher before they get better in the economy. As a responsible, rider-first business, we see it as our role to continue to innovate ways in which we can nurture, support and develop our fantastic rider workforce of 15,000+ and growing!