April 25, 2011 / 3:00 PM / 9 years ago

Commuting impacts job satisfaction: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Commuting might not make you unwell but a new survey of U.S. employees showed that four percent, or 5 million people, have called in sick because they could not face the trek to work.

Morning commuters traveling to New York pack into a PATH train in Hoboken, New Jersey, December 28, 2010. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn

The Harris Interactive poll commissioned by The Workforce Institute also revealed that 48 percent of people said commuting has a significant impact on their job satisfaction and 32 percent considered the commute when they chose their current job.

“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,” Joyce Maroney, the director of the institute, a think tank established by the workforce management solution company Kronos Inc, said is a statement.

Eighty three percent of workers questioned in the survey said they drove to work alone and nine percent used a carpool.

Only 11 percent of workers opted for mass transit, 10 percent said they walked to work and some people used more than one mode of transport to commute.

Fifteen percent of people who took part in the online survey said they would change jobs for a shorter commute and 11 percent said the time spent commuting had a negative impact on their life-work balance.

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

One-third of workers said their round-trip commute was between 30 minutes and an hour, while 16 percent spent between one and two hours getting back and forth to work.

Nearly everyone had a nightmare, or worst commute ever story, with seven percent saying it had taken five hours or more, and another 30 percent spending more than two hours.

About three-quarters of people listen to music while commuting, 22 percent enjoy quiet time and 18 percent talk on the phone. Only seven percent read a book or magazine and four percent do some work.

Only six percent of workers are paid for the time they spent commuting and just 14 percent of adults who commute have the option of working from home. But 27 percent of people who don’t have that option said that if they were given the technology they think they could work effectively from home.

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

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