One of the biggest work-related frustrations for me is my commute. I only live seven miles from my workplace, however it usually takes me at least 40 minutes to get into work and often more than that to get home. However with it being half-term this week my commute has been cut in half. Obviously one of the reasons for this is that there are no schoolbuses on the road but it can’t just be a lack of buses that causes such a drastic change. Perhaps it’s also parents taking the week off work to look after their children, I have as of yet been unable to find a conclusive answer though it’s probably a mixture of both.
The effects of a long commute can not be overstated. 18.5% of people surveyed by Regus said they had considered leaving their job because of the lengthy commute. A long commute can also increase absenteeism by about 16% and has an adverse effect on people’s health. A long commute also has the effect of tiring you out before you even reach work and can leave people feeling more negative about their work. So what are the solutions to long commutes?
The most obvious solution would be to live within walking distance of your work place however this for most people is not possible especially if they work in an inner city area or on an estate with no housing nearby. Another solution that may be suitable for some people is being able to work from home even if this were only for one or two days a week. This is increasingly becoming more easy with developments in technology and programs such as Skype and Lync. However this is not suitable for a lot of workers who need to be on the premises such as those who work in factories and in retail.
Staggering work hours may also provide a solution although again this may not be possible for those who work in industries that rely on customer service. A large amount of people work from around 9am to 5pm, what if those that could have their shifts changed worked slightly different hours, 8am to 4pm or 10am to 6pm. I don’t know how much of an impact this would have but I believe it would be worth trying.
If possible some of the traffic burden on the roads could be relieved by more people using public transport, unfortunately I know for a lot of people this isn’t possible. My commute would go up to about an hour and a half if I used my local bus services. In a lot of areas outside of cities public transport is underfunded and the services don’t run often enough to make them a viable option for people to get to work. There is another option to reduce the number of cars on the road and that is car sharing, however this relies on people living in the same area and I know that this isn’t always a viable solution.
Shortening people’s commutes would not only beneficial to employees’ health and happiness but also the environment as less time spent stuck in traffic means less fuel being used and less exhaust fumes.