Why employers should care about the length of employees’ commutes

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Matt Caywood - Also by this author

Commuting is often the single least satisfying activity out of all daily activities, according to a 2004 study.
Marc A.Hermann/MTANewYorkCityTransit
Commuting is often the single least satisfying activity out of all daily activities, according to a 2004 study.
Marc A.Hermann/MTANewYorkCityTransit
The average American has a commute of 26.9 minutes each way. Twice a day, five times a week, 52 weeks a year — that adds up to more than 9 days behind the wheel every year. And that’s just the average. More than 14 million people spend over an hour each way to work.

What else does that add up to? A huge toll on their social, psychological, and physical health. Commuting is often the single least satisfying activity out of all daily activities, according to a 2004 study.

Physically speaking, a long commute is correlated with high-blood pressure from increased stress, backaches from poor posture, and even more psychosomatic disorders with exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and dizziness topping the list. Socially, commuting takes up a lot of time that could be better spent doing literally anything else. That also includes time with family and friends, an important aspect of an individual’s overall mental health.

At the office, a long commute can make people unproductive, as they spend significant time in the morning de-stressing from their time in the car. What’s more, 23% of workers have left a job due to a bad commute — and 60% of people feel as though their company doesn’t do enough to help with it.

So how can companies help alleviate the pains of commuting? From providing employees with access to alternative mobility options, to implementing other transportation demand-management tools, there are a lot of strategies on the table.

The best way to combat the toll driving alone takes is seemingly straightforward: Don’t drive alone as your commute. But access to reliable transportation options is far from a given, so for most people it’s simply not feasible to make that change without some extra assistance.

It’s time to consider the multitude of other ways people can get to work that aren’t necessarily traditional public transportation options.

For companies who have the ability to do so, a private shuttle can make up that first-/last-mile difference. Companies across the country, particularly in areas directly outside of a city’s central business district, have started providing shuttles to take employees to and from nearby train or metro stations. Alternatively, some companies also provide on-demand shuttles for employees who work alternative or late hours.

Once employees gain the confidence  to complete their roundtrip safely via an alternative form of transportation, they feel more comfortable opting not to drive to work in the first place. If nothing else, they’ll know they can drive to a nearby metro station and commute the rest of the way there without having to be behind the wheel — lessening the burden of an hour-long commute.

Additionally, it’s time to consider the multitude of other ways people can get to work that aren’t necessarily traditional public transportation options, many of which have ways for corporate employers to easily manage accounts. Uber, Lyft, and Via, for example, all offer business accounts that allow employers to distribute funds and manage usage for employees, even going so far as to only encourage them to take shared rides like uberPOOL or Lyft Line.

Uber, Lyft, and Via (shown), for example, all offer business accounts that allow employers to distribute funds and manage usage for employees.
Via
Uber, Lyft, and Via (shown), for example, all offer business accounts that allow employers to distribute funds and manage usage for employees.
Via
Offering employees a transit subsidy or a bikeshare membership can also help to bridge the first-/last-mile difference, while also encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle. These types of commutes actually increase happiness, which leads to increased productivity at work. As an employer, having happy and productive employees is key, so helping to improve the commute is essential.

Regardless of how it happens, it’s clear that something needs to be done in the way of the daily commute to keep employees as stress free as one can be on the job. Employers who are dedicated to fixing the broken commute and taking the necessary steps to alleviate this pain will not only see a happier workforce, but a more productive one as a result.

Matt Caywood is the CEO of TransitScreen.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More Transit Dispatches Blog Posts

August 22, 2019

Tools for Diffusing Conflict with Public Transportation Passengers

When dealing with triggered, erratic, aggressive or emotionally unstable people, we often naturally choose the least effective method of de-escalation.

August 21, 2019

What London can teach the U.S. about curbing congestion

As the population continues to rise, major cities are turning to mobility solutions such as congestion pricing to alleviate the number of cars on roadways. 

August 13, 2019

Why Cybersecurity Is So Essential to the Future of Transportation

The more our train and subway systems are connected, the greater the number of ways hackers have to penetrate them in order to wreak their unique brand of havoc.

August 9, 2019

The Challenges, Opportunities of Operating University Campus Shuttle Services

Many institutions offer bus and shuttle services to provide transportation for students and staff, and they face the same challenges of providing consistently high rider satisfaction levels that municipal transit authorities and operators do.

August 7, 2019

How curb data can bolster new mobility options, ease congestion

Whether you realize it or not, curbs and their regulations significantly impact citizens and businesses on a daily basis.

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (1)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation