The dreaded commute


At first it’s a faint shrill burrowing into the back of your mind, getting deeper and deeper, the sound and fury, before setting off a sudden blitz of the synapses. Your hand reaches out and punches the off button and you’re awake. It’s the early morning and the rest of the day lays out before you – an avalanche of emails and deals waiting to be attacked, and yet for an ever increasing number of people the most difficult part of the day comes even before you step foot in the office – the dreaded commute.

According the recent statistics produced by the TUC, the amount of time commuters spend traveling to and from work has increased substantially over the past five years, with the average worker spending a soul-draining additional 11 hours a year commuting from the previous year.

Traveling by car remains the most popular means of transport, with an additional 7 hours spent behind the wheel than back in 2008. All of which looks bad, but it somewhat more comfortable than the extra 14 hours per year faced by commuters who choose to travel by rail and underground. Understandably the TUC have argued that UK workers are spending far too much of their lives commuting to and from work, which they believe to take up around 211 hours per year – the equivalent of more than a month’s full-time work!

The sense of frustration for anyone experiencing the daily commute is perfectly encapsulated by the following:

The Department of Transport reported that motor vehicle traffic increased by an extra 250,000 vehicle journeys in the past year, and yet in this time only 53 miles of new roads were built!

The problems experienced by the seasoned commuter don’t appear to be going away any time soon, including the frustrations and stresses that result from it. Proactive employers might want to consider tacking the issue by alleviating employees stresses through the adoption of more flexible working conditions, such as increased home working or flexible hours allowing employees to begin and finish work outside of traditionally busy periods.

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