US employees pull sickies to avoid commute to work

Thoughts of sweating on a packed train or sitting on a bus crawling through traffic are never completely pacified by the over-priced and over-complicated coffee that you will buy as a reward before you reach the office.

Research commissioned by The Workforce Institute certainly builds the case for flexible working, after it found that five million workers in the US have called in sick because they could not face the commute.

The Harris Interactive Poll revealed that out of 2,042 respondents 48% said that commuting had a significant impact on their job satisfaction, while 32% considered the commute when they decided to take their current job.

A quarter (15%) of respondents said that they would change jobs for a shorter commute and 11% said the time spent commuting had a negative impact on their work-life balance. Only 14% of workers had the option of working from home.

If employees could spend less time commuting, 50% said they would use the extra time to sleep, 42% would relax, 28% would exercise and 33% would spend more time with their family.

The majority (83%) of workers said they drove to work alone and 9% used a car pool. Meanwhile, 11% opted for mass transit and some workers used more than one mode of transport to commute.

One-third of workers said their commute was between 30 minutes and an hour, while 16% spent between one and two hours traveling to and from work. The commute took 7% of employees five hours or more while 30% suffered a journey of more than two hours.

Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, said: “Managers should be mindful of the time their employees spend commuting as our survey shows it has a significant impact on job satisfaction. 

“Where possible, putting policies in place to allow employees to travel during non-peak hours or work from home can increase employee satisfaction without a negative impact on the bottom line.”

At least here in the UK the royal wedding has spared most of us one less commute into work this year.

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