The Killer Commute: £5.3 Billion in Lost Productivity

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The average morning commute costs your business and employees a lot more than you think.

For years, we’ve all lamented the commute as a drain on our time and energy. Before we can even get to work and handle the chaos of the average office environment, we’ve got to sit in traffic for hours or wait for a train that runs on an often unpredictable schedule.

However, the commute could be more detrimental than most business leaders assume, as studies suggest that employees are spending up to 360 hours each year, travelling back and forth to work. Combine this with the fact that long commutes cost businesses around £5.3 billion in lost productivity, and it’s easy to see why so many companies are beginning to consider the benefits of a remote workforce.

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Wasting Time Means Wasting Money

There are many components of the modern work environment that aren’t quite as efficient as they could be. For instance, according to our recent global survey into 2,000 knowledge workers, 69% of employees are spending up to 60 minutes each day just navigating between apps.

A new report from Corporate Advisor suggests that the commute could be just another example of the things that need to change to make team members more efficient. With the average commute working out at around 1.5 hours per day, employees are wasting valuable productive time sitting in their cars, rather than getting things done.

Although some industries see more issues with the commute than others, such as those in the food services, accommodation, and construction areas, the problem is significantly wide-spread. Long commutes are costing businesses billions every year, and employee health and wellbeing are suffering as a result. The study found that people who commute for more than an hour in a single direction are 22% more likely to have problems with sleep deprivation. The research also found a link between general health and productivity levels and the average commute.

The longer your commute, the more your productivity suffers each day.

Long commutes are costing businesses billions every year, and employee health and wellbeing are suffering as a result. Click To Tweet

How to Overcome the Commuting Conundrum

The easiest way for businesses to banish the issue of the daily commute from their employees’ lives is to introduce a more flexible working environment. Allowing employees with long commute distances to work remotely through a tool like RingCentral Office will mean that they can spend less time in traffic, and more time getting things done.

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The latest report indicates that simply being able to access flexible working arrangements is enough to change the lives of many commuters today. For instance, 50% are less likely to smoke when they don’t need to commute each day, and they’re also half as likely to suffer from depression or stress. Giving your team members the freedom to cut the complexity and chaos of the average commute out of their work schedule is one of the easiest ways to improve employee wellbeing and productivity.

However, it’s essential to make sure that the team members you allow to work remotely also have access to the same quality of tools that they would get in the workplace. Our research has found that 67% of employees believe that a Unified platform like RingCentral Office helps them to achieve a better workflow. Additionally, 65% said that a unified cloud environment helps them to behave more productively, while 64% felt that the tools make work feel less chaotic.

Leave the Toxic Commute in the Past

As a drain on productivity, efficiency, and time, the commute is an unnecessary problem in the modern workforce. Today’s businesses no longer need their team members to be in the office to ensure that they’re productive and engaged. Cloud-based tools for collaboration, communication, and workflow such as RingCentral Office ensure that your employees can work seamlessly from anywhere.

For those plagued by the daily commute, an upgrade to a remote working strategy could be just what the doctor ordered.

Get your employees to work from anywhere at any time using a cloud-based tool for communication and collaboration.Learn more

Originally published Aug 15, 2019, updated Aug 20, 2019

Irina Kirnos


    Irina is a Product Marketing Manager at RingCentral in EMEA. With experience in the cloud software and communication industry spanning Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park and now London, she enjoys working collaboratively with global teams to develop product messaging and positioning, sales enablement and competitive differentiation. Irina grew up in San Francisco, California and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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