Long commutes kill relationships

Hour long commutes are damaging your employees’ marriages. Why is that HR's problem, and how you can help?

Long commutes kill relationships

The standard commute in Canada is 26 minutes, with 17% commuting more than 45 minutes to work every day. The latter group is especially common around cities such as Toronto (27%), Montreal (27%), and Vancouver (21%), and they could be at significant risk of divorce.

A study from Umea University found those who commuted more than 90 minutes a day had a 40% higher chance of divorce. The survey looked at more than 2million adults in the US, 11% of whom travelled 90 minutes round trip to work.

If you’re based in one of the cities above then more than one in five of your employees have a higher risk of relationship problems, especially if their new to the commute. The separation was found to be more likely to take place in the first year or two of the commute.

Because commuters were able to get “better” jobs, it was attractive to employees, researchers said. However, the long-term payoff may not be worth it.

Why is this HR’s problem? Because employees who have stresses at home are less focused and less productive at work, so by easing your employee’s work/life balance you can have happier, healthier workers.

How HR can help:

  1. Flexible hours and shifts
    Home work, telework and flexible start and finish times can all ease the burden of commuters. Even one or two days working from home can make it easier to manage responsibilities in both spheres of an individual’s life.
  2. EAPs and benefits
    Have an effective EAP available, or offer therapy and support through your benefits program to ensure staff get the help and support they need.
  3. Supportive management
    If your employee needs time to care for children or is late because of traffic don’t implement strict policies unless it’s truly necessary. If you can be flexible for your staff, they will be more loyal and engaged – and less likely to look for a job closer to home.

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