Roadworks. Tailback, Cancellation. Derailment. All words that set off a bout of angst in the average commuter. And here are a two more to add to the list. Divorce and separation.
Research published recently by Umeå University in Sweden has found that commuters who travel long distances to work are 40 per cent more likely to separate from their partners.
A long commute is a distance of greater than 30 kilometres (approx 19 miles), or 45 minutes travel time to reach work, it says. Eleven per cent of Swedes make this commute daily.
Both salary and career can benefit from commuting but, as the researchers pointed out, there’s a cost. People’s personal lives suffer.
The researchers also discovered commuting has a different effect on each of the partners. One partner tends to be a long-distance commuter And they see rewards in their pay packages. The other partner tends to lose income. They often take a less qualified post close to home or part-time work and tend to take on the added responsibility for home and children.
The journey to work does seem to take a heavy toll on some couples. Commuting by car is proven to be particularly physically and psychologically stressful.
Of course no single solution can save a relationship that’s on the rocks. But working from home can take away some of the strain that builds up with commuting.
Commuters can experience higher heart rates and blood pressure than fighter pilots or riot police officers. The difference is that they are not trained to deal with it.
Happy home working tends to be more productive whether it is just a couple of day a week or it becomes your workplace. Employees are ready to work first thing in the morning and to maintain effort throughout the day.
Take a look at a study published by the charity Working Families and Lancaster University Management School that looked into the challenges faced by working fathers.
Its aim was to find out what barriers stop working fathers interacting more as parents and employees.
The study involved interviewing BT employees who were also fathers. in order to measure well-being. It covered a range of topics including how employees felt about job security, work relationships and work-life balance.
Across a range of measures, the results were significantly more positive for those who worked flexibly than for those who did not. The only area where there was little difference between the two groups was in pay and benefits. Otherwise flexible working got the nod. The study also found flexible workers had greater commitment to their employer.
Experts say the strongest reaction of employees when they start flexible working is one of relief. Phew, I don’t have that journey to make anymore
A year later, the experts say, the feeling changes. The strongest emotion is empowerment. Hopefully, that’s a feeling all the family can share.