The fact the hashtags ‘#commuterproblems’ and ‘#commuterwoes’ are so popular on Twitter doesn’t provide much support to the proposition that commuting can be an enjoyable, beneficial experience. We’re here to reassure you it can be! Commuting can be a drain on your time, your money, and your emotions, but we’ve discovered that the best commutes have a few common traits and we’re going to share them with you. (Heads up: you need to be on the lookout for photo-worthy sunrises and animals to pet.)
We asked 1,500 British workers about their daily commute: the knock-on effects of a happy commute; and what the ingredients are to produce such a thing. According to a significant portion of the public, a good morning commute can positively impact mental wellbeing (57%), productivity (51%), perceptions of work/life balance (43%), engagement (39%) and the interactions you share with your colleagues (38%).
The happiest commuters walk or cycle to work but if you travel by train, car, or bus (or plane or boat?), don’t fear. Our respondents informed us of a variety of occurrences that take place on every kind of commute that help them to feel happier - and in turn boost their wellbeing and productivity. In no particular order, here are some recommended remedies to dissipate any commuting woes:
- Coffee, glorious coffee
- Smiles from strangers
- Random acts of kindness
- Watching out for wildlife
- Petting/fawning over (tame) cats and dogs passing by
- Calls with friends and family
- Bacons sandwiches (or other enjoyable snacks)
- Further picturesque scenes (N.B. sun optional)
- Discovering new music
- The first cigarette (one for the smokers)
- Fresh air (...)
- Arguably, the most important one of all: me time
We spoke to Adi Reed, Head of Engagement at performance specialists AvinityAlive, to get her insight on the impact of the commute. She points out that “the real effect depends entirely on the employee” and that even a nightmare commute can be turned into a positive: “[a] stressful commute spikes adrenaline and could actually be of benefit to an employee about to do a pitch”.
When it comes to long commutes on public transport, she recommends people take time for themselves. This can be in the form of answering personal emails, reading, or even preparing for the working day if they see fit. She continues, “I think we can all agree that any commute that does not allow an employee some reflection time will impact their productivity at the start of the day as they take time to settle and adjust”.
Whether it’s reflecting on the environment around you or your day ahead, take some ‘me time’ on your commute and you’ll thank yourself for it.