Commuting is bad for our health

Commuting is bad for our health

Americans and British commute daily, the numbers increase yearly with wellbeing diminished.

Growing commute times for workers is taking a toll on job satisfaction.

In fact, a recent study from researchers at the University of the West of England found that workers equate a 20-minute increase in commute time with a 19% pay cut in terms of job satisfaction, according to The Telegraph.

Lengthy commutes have been correlated with an increase in feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety, reports Quartz. And amid rising housing costs in many urban areas, a growing number of workers are commuting longer distances to their offices.

Some 3.7 million British workers spent at least 2 hours on their daily commute in 2015, a 32% increase from 2010, according to The Guardian. And average commute times are on the rise in the US, increasing by 20% since 1980.

Commuting can be bad for our health, whether it’s packed, delayed trains or mile-long traffic jams. It contributes to our anxiety, stress, and our waistlines.

A recent study of British commuters found that even just a 20-minute increase in commute time is equivalent to getting a 19% pay cut for job satisfaction. Every extra minute spent travelling to and from work feels like a lifetime—and, unsurprisingly, increases strain on our wellbeing.

It’s also making us lonelier than ever.

Millennials are often maligned as entitled, work-shy snowflakes unwilling to go the extra mile for their professions, but research suggests this is not the case. Stagnant wages and rising housing costs are pushing people further away from their jobs. The number of workers who commute daily in the UK for two hours or more has increased by a third in five years.

This is a problem felt acutely by those aged between 20 and 35, who typically spend over a third of their post-tax income on rent.

In the UK, young people commute for the equivalent of three days a year more than their parents, according to a study by the UK-based Resolution Foundation.

American workers are commuting longer too, according to the 2013 US Census—and nearly 600,000 workers endure “extreme commutes” of 90 minutes or more.

Those who could work from home but didn’t have flexible working arrangements were actually the least productive, losing 29 working days a year.

Shaun Subel, director of strategy at VitalityHealth, said: “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.”

A probable solution: employers’ can positively impact their employees’ lives by looking at working policies and financial wellness programmes to support those that are juggling multiple commitments.



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