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Commuting is costing you 6 weeks a year

Commuting is costing you 6 weeks a year.

Millions struggle with the commute to work every day.  This is often the most stressful part of the day, coupled with the fear of being late.  Workers today are on autopilot with this model.  Most have no idea how much time is involved with this single unpaid activity.  To the vast majority, this is simply the cost of doing business by having a job. This does not take into account the gas, tolls, fares and other costs associated with a commute.

The main objective for any business is to provide a product or service to customers while generating a profit.  If we take this a step further, it would be safe to say most businesses continually refine their processes to make them more efficient.  Most businesses review their products and services to see which are profitable and which are not.  This also applies to methods and procedures, discarding the inefficient or ineffective.  By now you may be wondering where this is going.

Something for nothing?

For example, if your commute is the American average of 26.4 minutes to work (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017), this equates to almost an hour a day.  Would your employer be willing to pay you 5 hours a week of overtime doing absolutely nothing for the company?  This equation out ends up equaling 20 hours a month or 240 hours a year.  Would your boss agree to pay you time and a half for 6 weeks to accomplish nothing in return?

Average daily commute time to work each way.

Worse yet, the UK, the average commute is one hour, and one in seven workers spend more than two hours commuting each way (Rudgard, 2017).  This doubles the US average, to an astonishing 480 hours annually or 12 weeks of a workers time.

Next, this begs the question, if you were to apply to a job and the interviewer said you are absolutely the right candidate.  They tell you, “We want to hire you.  We will pay you two weeks of vacation, but you will need to work 12 weeks a year with no pay whatsoever.”  What would you say?  Would you accept this offer?  This is precisely what millions do every single day.

So what do I do?

Lastly, there is an alternative.  Some companies are now aligning to the fact many employees are now seeing.  Many employees have discovered a simple 20-minute increase in a commute has the same demoralizing effect as a 20% pay cut (Rudgard, 2017).  This has led to a shortage of quality candidates because the prospect of uprooting to be closer to a job is not that appealing.  Companies like Amazon, Time Doctor and others are adopting a more remote-first model.

Summary

While this is nothing new, it does have its advantages for both the employee and employer.  The employee may feel more empowered to work more independently while the employer reduces brick and mortar costs just to house workers simply to perform tasks.  Admittedly, certain roles lend themselves to remote work than others, but the benefit is clear.  Ultimately, this model is still reliant on finding quality people to produce quality products and services.  Businesses have adapted to changing landscapes before and this new paradigm will be just another model to master.

References

Rudgard, O. (2017, October 23). A 20 minute increase in commute time is as bad as taking a pay cut, study finds. Retrieved from The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/10/23/20-minute-increase-commute-time-bad-taking-pay-cut-study-finds/

U.S. Census Bureau. (2017). Average Commute Times. Retrieved from Unite States Census Bureau: America Fact Finder: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk

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