Growing Commutes Lead to Stressed Out Workers
Those of us in the Denver area are well aware of why this is a great place to live. The area offers many great attractions. There’s the beautiful climate, from snow one day to sunny skies the next, and the amazing landscape of the Rocky Mountains. In short, Denver has everything a thriving city does, including arts, entertainment, sports, and limitless outdoor activities.
But the secret is out. Denver’s population has grown by nearly 20% since 2010, and it’s projected to grow even more in the coming decade. With the continued influx of new residents, the average commute time to work has also continued to grow.
Many people feel that up to 30 minutes is a reasonable amount of time to get to work. But those same people are seeing their commute times grow to 45 minutes and even to 1 hour at times. Public transportation is a great, environmentally friendly option. However, it seldom shortens one’s commute time.
In a recent survey conducted by Robert Half, 50% of professionals described traveling to and from work as a stressful experience. 45% of respondents also cited that their trip to and from the office is too long.
Workers want more time to themselves and want to save money on gas. Complaints like this can be enough to make employees consider leaving their job. They can also be a factor in job seekers declining a job offer.
Why Cutting Commute Time is Essential
Difficult commutes to the office directly impact employee engagement and productivity. For the rest of the day, the work the employee accomplishes can suffer. This is due both to the stress of their morning commute and concerns about their commute home at the end of the day. Will they make it in time to pick up their child from daycare or to get to their school function? Will they get dinner on the table at a reasonable time?
These commutes can also increase employee turnover. Employers who proactively address and make accommodations to help ease the problem are more attractive to work for.
Flexible Schedules and Remote Work Options – A Win/Win
There’s no way to move an office to a location that’s equitable to all employees. But cutting a worker’s commute time can be possible, even if just for a few days a week. Below are some of the strategies that companies are already implementing to meet this desire.
- 43% of managers surveyed offer flexible schedules to avoid traveling during peak traffic times
- 40% of managers surveyed offer remote work days to their employees
Offering flexible schedules is a good option as it ensures there are always people in the office – for even longer than traditional working hours. For example, one set of employees could arrive at 7:00 or 7:30 AM and leave at 3:30, 4:00, or 4:30 PM. Another set could arrive at 8:30 or 9:00 AM and leave at 5:00, 5:30, or 6:00 PM. Doing this would cut down on commute times and enable your office to be staffed for extended, regular business hours.
Letting your employees take remote days is another good option, particularly for bad weather days. Even offering one remote day a week can make a big difference in employee morale and satisfaction. But, while some employees can complete their work from home, not everyone can. Some roles have to be done in the office, so this perk cannot be offered to all employees.
Open communication is required to ensure there is a common understanding and that there is no resentment from those whose jobs cannot be performed remotely. Those who aren’t able to perform their work remotely may come up with some great ideas of perks or benefits to make them just as happy!
- Murray, Jon. “Denver’s population has grown by nearly 20 percent since 2010 – and it’s picking up again.” DenverPost, 18 April 2019.
- “Survey: 50% of Workers Say Their Commute is Stressful.” Robert Half, 5 November 2019.
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