The seven deadly sins of the daily commute

Have you been spending your commute trying to decide what you despise most about it? Look no further - the results are in.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 11 Feb 2011
Ah, the daily journey to work: arguably among the lowest points of the day. But if you’ve been spending your journeys trying to decide who you hate more: the man sitting next to you eating the pasty, or the chap intent on sharing his weekend plans with the entire carriage, stop. Because the folks at ‘workspace solutions provider’ Regus have generously done it for you, with their list of the ‘seven deadly sins of commuting’.

‘But wait!’ we hear you cry. ‘Why the devil would they want to perform such a public service?’ Well, it’s mainly because, according to Regus, the average commute takes 29 minutes each way, while a quarter of the UK’s commuters have to endure a journey to work that takes more than three quarters of an hour. As the company points out, a bad commute is one of the worst ways to ‘undermine productivity and job satisfaction’. And there’s nothing quite like being sandwiched in between the armpits of two strangers to make you heave a sigh and think, ‘gosh. This is really going to undermine my productivity and job satisfaction’.

So what does the glorious list entail? At the top spot are, understandably, bad or dangerous drivers. In second place is the universally frustrating ‘delays (presumably both the traffic and public transport kinds) and service interruptions’, which often begets the third deadly sin: road (/carriage/bus?) rage. Coming in fourth is a lack of information from service providers, while loud mobile phone users, pollution and overheating, and ‘rude behaviour’ from other passengers also make the list.

Regus says the best way to help staff avoid the trials and tribulations of the daily commute is, rather impractically, ‘travelling to a work location closer to home’ or, more realistically, by offering flexible working. It’s actually rather an under-used argument for flexible working: children and work/life balance tend to take precedence when it comes to persuading employers to allow staff to work flexibly.

Of course, that’s often easier said than done – a survey by Virgin Media Business in November found that while 69% of FTSE 100 companies offer flexible working, small businesses find it tougher, with just 16% feeling comfortable offering flexible working. Many of them were worried about the cost – a third said the technology would be too pricey, while another 43% said they were worried about having a ‘distributed team’.

So, for many commuters, that daily commute grinds on. Might we suggest a pair of good headphones as an effective way to combat sins five, seven and, in some cases, three. Sadly, not much can stop ‘leaves on the line’ from ruining your day, though…

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