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Does the commute, not the job, make employees unhappy?

The commute to and from work can often be a great cause for concern when it comes to work-life balance. As we have come to learn in recent years, the ability to balance both aspects can often lead to less stress and more productivity from employees. A 2010 nationwide study was just released by Statistics Canada that examined various aspects of travelling between home and work.
Interesting statistics from the survey include:

  • On average Canadians commute 26 minutes each way to work.
  • Out of those who commute 45 minutes or more, 36% said that most days were extremely stressful.
  • Out of those who commuted 15 minutes or less, 23% said their work was stressful.

In addition to higher stress levels, longer commuting times were associated with work–life balance. Specifically, 79% of people who had commuting times of less than 15 minutes said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their balance between work and family life. This proportion declined as commuting time increased—reaching 65% among workers who took 45 minutes or more to get to work. People whose commuting time was 45 minutes or more were also more likely to say that they had difficulty fulfilling their family responsibilities because of the time they spent at work. The feeling of not having enough time for family and friends also increased with commuting time.
In recruiting, the commuting times are often one of the most important considerations for candidates. Factors that potential candidates consider when they decide to apply to a position include: the specific area of the location and the distance to other nearby communities. People who are looking for camp jobs from the east coast to mines in Northern Alberta, the Yukon and NWT often commute at least overnight resulting in lower job satisfaction. What are your thoughts? How important is work-life balance to your organization and do you find the commute adds to employee stress?

Red Seal Recruiting
Image courtesy of: http://rjohnsoncorp.com/how-to-effectively-achieve-work-life-balance/
 

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