British employees spend nearly 200 hours a year travelling to and from work – adding up to around five weeks extra work – according to a TUC analysis of official statistics. Those long commutes can get stressful and expensive – and they are not always necessary.
Longest commutes for men and in London
The TUC study found that the average commute times for men are greater than for women – an average of 6.2 minutes longer on each commuting journey. London has the longest commute times for both male and female workers at 37.8 minutes per journey each way, while Northern Ireland has the shortest at 22.4 minutes. A recent report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that workers with the longest commutes tend to earn more than those with shorter journeys to work.
With increasing congestion on the roads and public transport problems significantly adding to people’s commute times, the TUC is calling on employers to offer smarter flexible working options to help staff avoid unnecessary and costly commutes. Next year’s London Olympics offers the perfect opportunity for workers in the capital to embrace smarter working such as home working and staggered start and finish times, says the TUC.
Is the daily commute really necessary?
Today everyone has access to computers and modern means of communication like e-mail, phone and instant messaging and can do their office job virtually anywhere. The daily commute to work becomes obsolete. “Unnecessary long commutes are frustrating and expensive for staff, and bad for business too”, said TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber. “Smarter working must be part of the modern economy. Staff want greater access to flexible and high quality home-working and employers need to do more to provide it. Eliminating the need for long commutes can also broaden access to a wider range of jobs for those unable to travel from home.”
Smart commuting, flexi-time and remote working
“In this day and age, old working practices dictating that employees must travel vast distances to sit at a desk every day are outdated,” said Chief Executive of Work Wise UK Phil Flaxton. “British workers are frustrated at the amount of wasted time caused by long, arduous journeys to and from work. Smart commuting, flexi-time and remote working can offer an ideal solution, giving a range of benefits for employees and employers alike.”