We all know that commuting is stressful, expensive, and bad for health, the environment and business productivity, but for most of us it’s also a necessity.
Unfortunately commuters now face an average 58-minute daily journey – the equivalent of 27 working days a year, according to TUC analysis released last week, which marked Work Wise UK’s Commute Smart Week.
Commuting to and from work now takes an extra 5 minutes a day compared with a decade ago – the equivalent of an extra 20 hours a year spent on congested roads and packed trains.
As house prices in cities rise and people move further out, the number of workers facing very long commutes (over 2 hours) has gone up by 34% over the last 10 years, with 3,291,012 now facing very long journeys.
Rail commutes take longest
Rail commuters face the longest journeys, taking an average of 2 hours and 12 minutes every day – an increase of 4 minutes on the last decade.
Drivers spend 52 minutes on the road to work and back (up by 4 minutes), while bus commuters must set aside 39 minutes a day (up by 7 minutes).
Cyclists (43 minutes) and walkers (30 minutes) have the quickest daily journeys.
Commute times are up across the country
Londoners take the longest to get to and from work: 1 hour and 21 minutes each day – up by 6 minutes in the last decade. Welsh workers have the shortest daily commute in Great Britain, at 49 minutes.
Every English region now faces an average commute time of over 50 minutes a day.
The TUC blames growing commutes on three main factors:
- low government spending on transport infrastructure;
- employers not offering flexible and home working;
- real wages falling while property prices soar, making it hard to move closer to work.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said, “We’re now spending 27 working days a year going to and from work. That’s wasted time, which could have been better spent with family and friends.
“Commutes should be getting shorter, but inflexible bosses and our cash-starved transport system mean we’re wasting more and more time getting to work.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. Home working and less rigid hours would take pressure off road and rail. And serious government investment could give us a transport network that’s up to the job.”
Phil Flaxton is chief executive of Work Wise UK, which promotes flexible working. This is a not-for-profit, campaign and development organisation whose primary mission is to make the UK one of the most progressive economies in the world by introducing Smarter Working practices and increasing the UK’s ranking in the Developed Nations Productivity League. Phil commented: “This should act as a wake-up call to employers to change their outdated attitudes to commuting.
“Year on year, the UK’s roads and public transport infrastructure become more congested. It’s time to act to protect the health and wellbeing of the weary commuter.
“Not only are long commutes bad for our health, but they can affect our ability to concentrate at work.
“That’s bad for productivity, resulting in a lose/lose situation for employers, employees and the whole economy.”
If you’re looking to implement a flexible working policy in your business, or are seeking a flexible or part-time role yourself, then please contact Ten2Two Hampshire.