Did you know that the average American worker spends about an hour a day commuting? While that’s just a median number, most people need more time to get to work, and some even spend up to three or four hours traveling back and forth from home to work during rush hour. From these figures, it is evident that commuting is a big waste of time and also a massive problem for workers. But this isn’t the only bad news in regards to commuting.
No matter if you are driving to work, taking the bus or train; studies have shown that commuting can seriously affect your wellbeing. In fact, a link between travel and burnout has been identified that shows how commuting can have a serious impact on your physical and emotional health. For all you know commuting maybe the reason you are feeling so tired and performing poorly at work.
If you want to know if your commute is killing you, read on:
#1 It Affects Your Sleep
You’re more likely to get lower quality sleep if you take a long time to get to work. According to the 2012 Regus Work-Life Balance Index, people who spend more than 45 minutes traveling to work had lower quality sleep and were more exhausted than those who had shorter commutes. People who use any type of transportation to get to work and traveled at least 15 miles go to bed 28 minutes earlier and wake up 50 minutes earlier than their peers.
#2 It Makes You Put on Weight
A study of more than 4,000 participants in Texas found that people with longer commutes had lower levels of fitness and physical activity. It makes sense considering that one to two hours a day are spent sitting on a bus or in the driver’s seat and then another eight hours sitting in front of a computer. Hours you could have easily spent at the gym. On top of that commuting makes your body weaker as it causes you back and neck pain that could be affecting your posture.
#3 It Changes Your Mood
Your daily commute may be affecting your happiness levels and your life satisfaction. As research shows people with commutes of any length experienced lower life satisfaction and happiness than people with no commutes at all. But this doesn’t apply to people who walk or cycle to work who had better mental health scores. Another study by the University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the Cooper Institute found out that people that have a 10-mile commute have more chance of experiencing depression and social isolation.
#4 It Stresses You Out
Commuting isn’t the highlight of anyone’s day and it’s no wonder it was labeled the ‘stress that doesn’t pay’. Researchers found a commute of more than twenty minutes can make you more anxious, cynical and less productive at work. In the long run, long commutes can make you more susceptible to chronic stress. The severity of the problem hugely depends on your workplace and the conditions in which the trip takes place. Another study showed that people travelling by car felt more stressed out while driving through the city as opposed to those travelling in or towards rural areas. Interestingly those who are sharing the trip and were passengers experienced greater stress because of a lower sense of control.
Companies might be able to help employees with commuting by introducing more flexible arrangements. This should allow workers to be less stressed and more efficient in their work.