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One in three commute 90 minutes every day

Giles Fuchs

A new survey reveals that commuting is having a detrimental impact on the UK’s workforce wellbeing, family and social life. The commute is a key consideration for UK talent when considering employment opportunities. Contributor Giles Fuchs, Chief Executive Office Space in Town

A new nationwide survey of the UK workforce by leading serviced office provider, Office Space in Town, reveals that commuting is having a detrimental effect on their productivity, wellbeing, family life and social life, with over a third of respondents (36 percent) commuting for more than 90 minutes a day.

The Commuter Survey asked more than 1,000 of the UK workforce how their commute impacted them at work and their lifestyle. The survey revealed that among the top commuting complaints were: lengthy journeys (32 percent); overcrowding (27 percent) and delays and frequent cancellations (26.01 percent).

The survey also found that despite a high demand for employer provisions to help alleviate the stress of the commute such as flexible or remote working and season ticket loans, 43 percent of employees stated that these were not currently offered by their employer. With the survey also revealing 75 percent take the commute into account when making their employment decisions, there is a lot that employers could be doing to minimise the negative impact on employee attraction and retention.

The Commuter Survey highlights: Commuting complaints: With commuters trying to optimise how they spend their day, the time it takes door-to-door (32 percent) was considered to be the worst thing about people’s commute. Also cited as pet peeves were congestion on the roads (31percent) and overcrowding on public transport (27 percent).

Wellbeing and family life: 36 percent claim that their commute is having a detrimental impact on their lifestyle. Nearly one third (29 percent) state it affects their capacity to keep up with parenting responsibilities, and over 60 percentstate that their commute is impacting their ability to get enough sleep.

Social life: Over a third of respondents (38 percent) claim that their commute is negatively affecting their social life. Over half (55 percent) state that it negatively affects how often they see family and friends, with a further 43 percentfinding that it means less time spent on hobbies.

Improvements employers could make: When asked what would help improve the commute of the UK workforce, the option of flexible working (51 percent), remote working (50percent) and season-ticket loans from employers (24percent) were top of the list. Despite this, less than a third of respondents are currently offered these particular benefits by their employers.

Attracting top talent: When looking for a new job, more than ¾ of people stated that the length of commute door-to-door was an ‘important’ or ‘very important factor’, and over half (58 percent) of respondents indicated that the proximity of the office to a transport hub was an important factor in their choice of employer.

Officer Space in Town, the UK’s leading serviced office provider outlines below four key tips for businesses to help take the trauma out of travel for their employees, attract top talent and create a happy, productive and motivated workforce.

Location, Location, Location

Over a fifth of respondents stated that having a minimal distance between transport links and the office was the best thing about their commute. The Commuter Survey also acknowledged that the location of offices is also a key staff retention and talent attraction. Businesses should ensure their offices are within an acceptable distance of major transport hubs, with the survey identifying that the sweet-spot is within a ten-minute walk. At Office Space in Town, all of our central London offices are located within a four-minute walk of a major tube station.


Travel-related benefits

Despite a strong demand for travel related benefits offered by their employers, 43 percent of respondents state that they are not currently offered them. Businesses should consider offering their employees benefits such as cycle-to-work schemes, season ticket loans or discounts to help improve their commute, and invest in providing facilities such as secure cycle storage, showers and lockers that can accommodate for a variety of travel options, and make their employees lives easier.

Over a quarter of respondents claim that their commute is negatively affecting their social life, in particular with family and friends. Employers could open up to the current movement towards more flexible working practises.  In the office, spaces that encourage social interaction such as cafes and bars can help to relax the lines between work and leisure, helping to bring people together and improve employee wellbeing.

Giles Fuchs, Chief Executive at Office Space in Town commented: “It is clear from the findings of our Commuter Survey, that journeys to work are having a much bigger strain on their lifestyle, family life, wellbeing and productivity than perhaps initially imagined. It is increasingly important therefore, that employers and businesses consider what they can be doing and offering to current and potential employees to help alleviate some of the pains of commuting.

Ultimately, this will create cultivate a happier, more successful and productive workforce. At Office Space in Town, we are a people-driven organisation, and are constantly improving and updating our offering to help businesses give their respondents  greater flexibility, convenience and comfort”

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