Daily commute causing serious damage

A recent study found that job satisfaction decreases with every extra minute spent travelling to work.

Daily commute causing serious damage

Twenty extra minutes spent on commuting to work per day translates to a 19-percent pay cut in job satisfaction, a research involving 26,000 employees in England over a five-year period found.

Every additional minute in the commute reduces satisfaction on the job and with leisure time, at the same time increasing strain and worsening mental health, reported NZ Herald.

Curiously, people agree to jobs with longer commutes to increase their earnings, which in turn improves job satisfaction, said Dr Kiron Chatterjee, associate professor of travel behaviour at the University of the West of England Bristol.

"This raises interesting questions over whether the additional income associated with longer commutes fully compensates for the negative aspects of the journey to work."

Other findings include:

  • Those who walk or cycle to work do not report reductions in satisfaction even with the same duration of travel;
  • Bus commuters feel the negative effects of the journey more strongly than those who use other modes;
  • Women are more easily affected by longer commutes than men are.

The study also found that longer commute times did not have a large impact in life satisfaction, overall. For example, a long train ride was found to be less strenuous than a short train ride.

"This is because people take on longer commutes for good reasons relating to improving their employment, housing and family situations and these factors serve to increase life satisfaction," said Chatterjee.

But longer journeys to work have adverse effects on one’s well-being, particularly through loss of free time.

"The acceptance that a long commute is a price to pay may only persist if it is considered unavoidable and a social norm."

"One finding that we did not fully anticipate at the study outset is the clear link between longer duration commutes, commuting mode and job satisfaction," Chatterjee added.

The average daily commute in England has risen from 48 minutes to 60 minutes over the past 20 years.

One in seven commuters spend at least two hours a day travelling to and from work.

The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, showed job satisfaction can be increased by working from home, walking to work and shorter commutes.

Shorter commutes also make it more likely that an employee will remain in their job.

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