Long Commutes Hit Productivity

Long Commutes Hit Productivity

Long Commutes

Research has shown that employees who have commutes of more than 60 minutes could be costing their employer a week’s worth of productivity every year, when compared to colleagues who have journeys of under 30 minutes.

Health insurer VitalityHealth, in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer, researched some 34,182 employees across all business sectors.

Some of their results were quite startling – employees with long commutes are 33% more likely to suffer from depression, 37% more likely to have money worries, 12% more likely to suffer from work-related stress, 46% more likely to manage less than seven hours of sleep each night and 21% more likely to be obese.

According to the research, offering flexible working to an employee can add the equivalent of five days productivity per year, and greatly reduce the problems of stress, depression and lack of sleep. Flexible working could be of great benefit to some employees if they were, for example, able to reduce their commuting time by travelling outside peak hours.

The survey found, however, that the productivity benefits of allowing staff to work from home were negligible.

Shaun Subel, Director of Strategy at VitalityHealth, said: 

“These results demonstrate the significance of the daily work routine in influencing individuals’ health and productivity. Beyond looking at ways that the work environment can be altered to make it more conducive to improved health and wellbeing, our research suggests that employers should perhaps be looking at flexible working arrangements as a more prominent part of their workplace wellness or productivity management strategy. 

“Allowing employees the flexibility to avoid the rush-hour commute where possible, or fit their routine around other commitments can help reduce stress and promote healthier lifestyle choices and, importantly, this is shown to actually impact positively on productivity.”

Chris Bailey, Partner at Mercer, commented:

“Time scarcity is a significant cause of stress and unhealthy behaviour across UK employees. A number of factors combine to create this time scarcity, but carer responsibilities and increased commuting times at peak hours due to a lack of availability of affordable housing close to workplaces, are key issues. Employers’ can positively impact their employees’ lives by looking at working policies and financial wellness programmes to support those that are juggling multiple commitments.”

Remember that all employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements, and that your employer must have a genuine business reason for refusing your request.

Also, if you are seeking a new role closer to home, then contact us at Kennedy Pearce and we will do our very best to assist.

Search For a Job