Consequences of your commute

Commuters
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

2 July 2018

It's not just your imagination - that hour of commuting every day is impacting your productivity and mental health, according to research results.

study carried out by VitalityHealth in partnership with the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer for Britain's Healthiest Workplace examined the effects of an extended commute on over 34,000 UK workers over a six-month period.

Commuters spending over an hour getting to and from work every day were found to be prone to physical and mental health issues. A longer journey was shown to make individuals 46% more likely to sleep less than seven hours a night, 33% more likely to be depressed, and 21% more likely to suffer from obesity. They were also more at risk for work-related stress and financial concerns.

Conversely, employees with a commute of fewer than 30 minutes were reported as gaining more productive time - equivalent to an additional seven work days each year.

This is a major concern for employers, particularly those based in city areas where employees can live a considerable distance away due to a lack of affordable housing. Firms that attempt to combat these effects by offering flexible working options appear to have experienced positive results.

Allowing employees the flexibility to avoid the rush-hour commute can help reduce stress and promote healthier lifestyle choices.

Workers with a flexible routine get more sleep on average, are of a healthier weight, and are less likely to smoke. They also have an extra five days' worth of productivity per year.

Shaun Subel, Director of Strategy at VitalityHealth, commented: “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.”

CA students benefit from a balanced mix of classroom days and time on myCABLE, often providing the freedom to avoid a commute altogether and work in a more relaxed environment. In the instance that you do have to travel, make the most of it with some helpful ideas from CA Today.

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