Longer commutes are impacting employee productivity and wellbeing

A study of more than 34,000 workers across the UK has confirmed that a long commute is bad for both our productivity and overall health.

The research was carried out by VitalityHealth, ( the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer. Together they examined the impact of commuting compared to flexible and homeworking and the results are rather alarming.

It was found that employees who have a commute of less than half an hour, gain an additional seven days of productive time every year compared to those of us who have to travel an hour or more to get to the office.

business travel productivity

Unsurprisingly, it was also discovered that longer commutes have a negative impact on mental wellbeing. Workers who face a longer commute are 33% more likely to suffer from depression, 37% more likely to have financial worries and 12% more likely to report work-related stress. They are also 46% more likely to get less than seven hours of sleep each night and 21% more likely to be obese.

The study also found that those of us who have the option to work flexibly are less likely to be stressed or depressed and gain five extra productive days a year compared to those with no flexible working arrangements.

Director of strategy at VitalityHealth, Shaun Subel commented:

“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. Importantly, this is shown to actually impact positively on productivity.”

Another great solution for employees who live far away from the office is serviced apartments. If employers provide this option to workers, they have a base close to the office and don’t have to worry about commuting for hours to get to and from work each day.

brewery house newbury by esa

A separate study carried out by the University of West England at the end of last year also found that every extra minute spent travelling to and from the office reduces job and leisure time satisfaction, increases strain and worsens mental health.

A 20-minute increase in commute time was in fact found to be as detrimental as a 19% pay cut when it comes to job satisfaction. This means that for someone earning the average pre-tax salary of £1,800 per month, just an extra 10-minute commute per day is the equivalent to a £340 fall in monthly income, taking them down to £1,460.

Despite an increasing amount of research showing just how bad a long commute can be for productivity and mental health, the average commuting time per day has risen to an hour in England. Here’s a great link for working out your lifetime commute in time and money!
What’s more, one in seven of us are spending a whopping two or more hours each day travelling to and from work.

Associate professor in travel behaviour at UWE Bristol, Dr Kiron Chatterjee commented:

“An important message for employers is that job satisfaction can be improved if workers have opportunities to reduce the time spent commuting, to work from home and/or to be able to walk or cycle to work. Such commuting opportunities are likely to be good news for employee wellbeing and retention and hence reduce costs to businesses.”

If you’re working in and around the Swindon area, our modern and bright serviced apartments are perfect if you’re looking for a place to stay as a hotel alternative.