After the festive holidays, staff may struggle with motivation for the New Year return to work, particularly if they have a long commute. The daily commute is something which staff put up with rather than enjoy, especially during the winter months when adverse weather can make this journey more onerous. How staff get to work and how long it takes has an impact on how they feel and perform. As an employer, this should be a consideration when forming your staff wellbeing strategy.
On average, an employee can spend up to 54 minutes commuting each day which is an ever-increasing chunk of the working week that doesn’t come without its costs – and they are not just financial. Feelings of happiness and life satisfaction decrease with every successive minute of travel to work. This is what constitutes personal wellbeing and, in general, the longer the commute the more it shrinks.
With many of us choosing to move out of towns and cities to find better housing, more green space and higher standards of living, commuting has increased greatly, consequently impacting on employees’ stress levels. This can be caused by a lack of control during commuting, caused by delayed trains, traffic jams and unpredictable weather, for example.
As a good employer, you can support staff with finding positives in the daily commute to work, in addition to understanding that events (outside of an employee’s control) can impact on their daily commute and stress levels. To try and combat these, you could consider alternatives to try and reduce (a) commute and (b) stress levels. These could include:
· Car sharing scheme operated by the employer
· Seasonal travel tickets (subsided by the employer)
· Free travel from local train stations
· Ensuring employees leave early in the event of adverse weather conditions
· Holding wellbeing sessions, where employees are encouraged to leave work on time
· Consider an early finish on a Friday
The greatest impact you can make is being more tolerant of employees’ commutes to work and the impact these have on them as individuals. If you need help with holding wellbeing sessions please contact one of the team on 01924 827869.