One of the major joys the world has discovered during the pandemic is the joy of skipping the morning commute. In fact, commuting is consistently ranked as one of the biggest annoyances about modern work life. However, once freed from its restraints, it can be difficult for many workers to find balance. After all, the commute affords a bridge between work and life.
Still, once embraced, a life free of commuting can offer many benefits. So many, in fact, that business leaders around the world are critically considering how to leverage technology to enable a more flexible workplace for the future.
Skipping the Morning Commute Means Getting Hours Back in Your Day
In 2019, before the pandemic, the average American one way commute time was 27.6 minutes. In metropolitan areas, however, it’s at least eight minutes longer than that on average. Meanwhile, many cities have the misfortune of averaging nearly an hour and a half daily commutes. It is not uncommon for individuals in places like Los Angeles, New York or the Bay Area California to spend more than an hour and a half each way to work and back.
Combined, all of these hours equate to what is basically a part time job in addition to the work day. This is one of the reasons why employees are so reluctant to return to the office. After all, getting that time back can go a long ways towards increasing life satisfaction. Workers can spend that hour or two previously spent commuting on catching up on sleep, taking their kids to school, visiting the gym or cooking a meal instead of eating out.
Ditching the Commute Could Increase Your Health
Less commute time means healthier bodies. In fact, studies have found a direct correlation between average commute time and waist size. Increased commute times mean less time moving, standing or being active and more time being sedentary. Of course, a sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest risks to obesity and a host of other health problems.
Additionally, long commuters are less likely to eat healthy. After all, with the commute taking up so much of your time, odds are you won’t be cooking after work, and increases the chances you’ll eat most of your meals out. Like commuting, eating out is also tied to weight gain, with people who don’t eat takeout for lunch weighing five pounds less on average.
More Time and Better Health Mean Better Relationships
Not surprisingly, those who commute are more likely to say no to social activities. A night out with friends, or going to the movies, even, are much less feasible when energy and time are being sunk into hours behind the wheel. This might seem obvious for those with a particularly long commute. And while long haul commuters (those who spend more than 90 minutes a day traveling to and from work) are even less likely to socialize, a study has found that commuters who spend even just greater than 20 minutes behind the wheel spend diminishing times socializing.
Workers Who Don’t Commute Are Less Stressed
In a way, it is unfortunate that it took a pandemic and shift to remote work on a massive scale to cause workers to discover the benefits of not commuting. After all, those who commute are much more likely to report being stressed. This is especially true for those who commute via car. Oddly enough, the unpredictability of traffic can be tied to massive spikes in stress levels when compared to the relative predictability of commuting by public transit.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, those who work remotely and don’t commute at all report higher satisfaction and less stress.
Skipping the Commute Is Best for the Environment and Your Pocketbook
Commuting isn’t only bad for your health – it’s bad for the health of the environment. After all, how many countless gallons of gas and other precious resources are wasted each and every day so that workers who could get their jobs done from home can “face time” with stakeholders? Not to mention the inevitable accidents and fatalities caused by over congested freeways. All of those gallons of gas or public transit passes also need to be paid for by somebody. Employers aren’t obligated to pay for their workers to commute. That’ money is coming out of the employee’s pocket. This means that workers could actually save a lot of money if they just quit the commute altogether.
Cons of Commuting Make Flexible Work More Necessary
In 2021, the majority of employees and employers alike desire remote work at least in some capacity. Still, many holdout that commute is an essential aspect of work life. They contend that the time spent between home and office presents an important bridge time to mentally prepare for the day, and switch between our two lives.
However true this relatively minor sentiment might be, it cannot offset the challenges posed by commuting. Being able to listen to an audiobook and “get your game face on” for the day could certainly be achieved through some other self imposed ritual that is less destructive than regular commuting. For example, strategically placed breaks, setting expectations around when you will respond to work messages and beyond could go a long way in creating a more healthy bridge between work and life.
Many Companies Turn to Hybrid Work as a Way to Boost Employee Satisfaction
Yet another trend that could help cover the bridge that commuting once provided is the new hybrid work model many companies are opting for post pandemic. While working fully remote might eliminate the commute altogether, hybrid work models ease the negative impacts of commuting by only requiring office time a few days a week. This could be a good mid point for employees and employers alike – giving workers a chance to experience positive work relationships without the grind of constant commuting.
How Linux Software is Helping Workers Skip the Commute
Of course, enabling remote work for businesses is much easier said than done. Employers will first need access to technology that makes remote work feasible from an IT perspective. Believe it or not, remote work is a complicated problem that requires a lot of moving parts moving together in harmony. VDI solutions have been leveraged before, during and after the pandemic to add an important security layer to organizations while also ensuring remote work stays productive. Linux based operating systems, like NoTouch OS, can also help employees skip the commute by enabling flexible work.
By deploying NoTouch onto all of their endpoints, IT ensures the safety and security of their endpoints while also boosting employee satisfaction. With NoTouch, workers can get their work done from home, in the office, or on the go at third workplaces as easily as if they were just working solely from their office computer.
To learn more about how Stratodesk makes the world a better place by enabling workers to get their jobs done in office, fully remote or in hybrid environments, try a free demo today.