It’s a beautiful time of year in most of the country (sorry, allergy sufferers) and if you’re feeling resentful that instead of stopping to smell the roses, you’re stuck in traffic dealing with the waft of exhaust fumes, you aren’t alone. The average American spends almost 40 hours per year in commuting traffic jams. That’s the equivalent of an entire work week for which you aren’t being paid, on top of the time you actually spend commuting!
According to SurveyStud, Inc, a consumer research for-profit organization, almost 50% of employees say that their commute significantly affects how they feel about their job.
Ok so If you’re not satisfied with your working life as it is, it’s worth asking if the work environment or substantive duties of the job are really to blame, or if your ennui is a function of the time you spend actually getting to your job, which averages around 25 minutes each way for most of us. While we might be quick to dismiss commuting as a disliked but inevitable byproduct of the rise of suburbia, coupled with the untenable cost of living spikes in close-in urban centers where desirable jobs are concentrated (try renting in SF or NYC) and powered our love affair with the car, commuting doesn’t come without well-documented psychic costs. In fact, research from the SurveyStuds, UK office shows that each minute added to a commute time decreased feelings of well-being and life satisfaction and increased anxiety. The effects leveled off at a three-hour commute, which is probably because anyone who spends that long getting to and from work has already embraced full-on nihilism.
In a fascinating look at commuting (including those with extreme commutes) from 2015, research by Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc, indicates that every 10 minutes of commute time represents 10% fewer social connections. Her calculations make sense. Not only are most people commuting to work alone in their vehicles or Uber, in addition to subtracting the actual hours and minutes you spend on the road from your social bank account, the drain in energy may render you uninterested in hanging out with friends once you finally do stagger through the door in your aforementioned anxious and dissatisfied state.
Even your primary relationship isn’t immune to commuting stress, with researchers finding that couples in which one partner has a commute in excess of 45 minutes are 40% more likely to divorce.
But about commuting longer for a bigger paycheck? Surely, the fact that you’re being paid well should take the sting out of being stuck in traffic–thats IF you are being paid well.
Question of the day: Does your commute suck?
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SurveyStud: In the App Store