18 February 2014

How to avoid commuting misery

Research has shown what most of us know first hand - commuting can make you miserable. Here's our suggestions to avoid it affecting your health and mood.

Commuting can make people miserable, a study claims.

Researchers found that people who travel for between 61 and 90 minutes to get to work feel the most unhappy. The report by the Office for National Statistics found commuters were generally less satisfied with their life and felt more anxious than people who work close to where they live. 

And for every minute someone travels the higher their anxiety levels increase and the lower their sense of wellbeing falls.

The research claims commuters generally feel more miserable if they travel by train than in their own car. But the unhappiest group of people are those who spend more than half an hour on the bus each day.

Dr Daniel Newman, from Cardiff University’s Sustainable Places Research Institute, says: “This report says what many of us who spend our mornings and evenings sat in traffic jams or packed like sardines on a rail carriage already know: commuting can be a chore.

Previous studies have shown that commuting affects our physical health: commuters are less likely to take exercise or eat home cooked meals while being more likely to suffer from insomnia and joint pain. It makes sense that such bodily ailments should impact on mental health.

Interestingly, those who walked or cycled to work didn't necessarily have higher levels of wellbeing, which again depended on the length of their commute. So this suggests the ideal scenario is to reduce your commute to avoid a negative impact on your happiness and health. 

1. Co-working

Coworking spaces have become increasingly popular over the last few years as businesses have become more flexible. They are generally open plan office environments where individuals or small companies work independently, but alongside one another.

If you are an employer, allowing staff who face a long commute to spend some of their work days at a co-working space may help them feel happier and more motivated. It could also result in your staff being able to network and build relationships with other local companies. 

Our co-working spaces, known as The Work Lounge, are modern, comfortable and convenient. You can choose to either pay a monthly fee or pay for the number of hours you use. They also include free high speed broadband, complimentary hot drinks and parking, where available. 

2. Flexible working

Introducing a flexible working policy for staff can make life much easier for people facing a long journey to work. Travelling at rush hour can lead to lots of time wasted sitting in traffic jams or being forced to stand up on crowded trains and buses. By allowing staff to work outside regular office hours, you can reduce the amount of time they spend commuting.

Flexible working could also allow people to spend some of their time working from home or another location nearer to their home. This can be ideal during the winter months when bad weather may prevent employees being able to make the trip to work.

3. Extra office space

If you have staff based in lots of different locations, it may be worth considering taking on some additional business space. Our business centres include a wide variety of affordable and flexible options, which could allow your workers to have access to office space nearer their homes. And with Bizspace, you can get instant access to your unit without having to sign up for a long term lease, so you can rent the workspace for as long as you need to, even if you only need it on a short term basis.

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