Who wants to commute?

by Barrie Hopson on July 27, 2011 · 0 comments

in Flexible working,New ways of working,work/life blend

I know a few people, a very few people, who enjoy commuting as it gives them time to prepare for the day or conversely time to dump it on the way home. Personally my very first job in London with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) involved a 20 minute walk. I loved this and vowed that in the future I would never take a job that took me longer than that to get to work. 40 years later I realise that I have stuck to that. For me this is one of the advantages of being a portfolio worker. Mind you that does not take into account train journeys from Leeds to London and other cities but then these are very much the exception rather than the rule. And I love the quiet time on trains and at my advanced years always travel first class and use Advanced Purchase fares so these journeys cost me very little.

The first comprehensive study of how people travel to work has just been published by the ONS. Three quarters of us take half an hour or less with more than half taking only 15 minutes. But significant minorities have lengthy commutes. 8% take between 40-60 minutes and 5% more than an hour. But although the average commute is 27 minutes Londoners take 44 minutes. 71% of us are still driving, 10% walk, 7% catch the bus and 5% the train. Only 3% cycle.

A study from Brown University in America found that a person with a 10 hour workday and an hours commute both ways was far more likely to have unhealthy lifestyle habits like exercising less and eating fast food than someone working 12 hours a day but with a small commute. Gallup statistics show that 1 in 3 workers with a 90 minute commute suffer from back and neck problems. As if that wasn’t enough a recent Swedish study fromĀ  Umea University found that couples where one or more partner commutes for 45 minutes or more each day were 40% more likely to get a divorce.

All this makes a home business start up even more attractive and a challenge to portfolio workers not to choose jobs with long commutes. I hate to think of the health implications of having 2 or more jobs each of which demands a long commute. Maybe it results in a portfolio of divorces!

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