Is your commute killing you?

Commute Image

To quote the Boomtown Rats: ‘I don’t like Mondays’. It’s not that I don’t like my job, I do – it’s the only thing that gets me to ignore the calls of my bed when I leave it – but Monday mornings are always that much harder than the rest of the week. I’ve normally had a hectic weekend where I’ve had to juggle the housework, extra responsibilities, entertaining the family, doing the shopping and trying to catch up with friends I haven’t seen in a few weeks. It’s an assault to the senses and, when the alarm wakes me at 6am, I am too exhausted to function.

According to a report by the Department for Transport, entitled Transport Statistics Great Britain 2014, people travel over 6,500 miles annually. The average commute time is between 30 to 60 minutes a day. It doesn’t seem like a long time but, when added up it’s almost five hours extra a week (ten hours if your commute is 60 minutes each way). This not only leaves you stressed out with traffic and arriving to work in a bad mood but it can also have shocking health effects:

Feelings of isolation

Commuting to and from work can lead to feelings of isolation at both work and home. Waking up earlier than the rest of the household and, if you have a long commute, leaving the house without experiencing any social interaction can lead to you feeling isolated. Further to this, the prospect of a long commute home can make you reluctant to agree to socialise after hours with your colleagues (departmental dinners) which can leave you feeling separated from rest of the team.

Sleep deprivation

The longer your drive to work, the less time you spend in bed.  I’m not talking about you being reluctant to leave your bed on a Monday morning – everyone feels like this – but I am talking about lack of physical sleep. This exhaustion not only makes driving particularly dangerous (test results show it can be as dangerous as driving drunk), reducing your reaction and concentration times drastically but it can compromise your cardiovascular health, energy and ability to fight off illnesses. A report by the US Department of Health and Human Services shows that lack of sleep can affect our memory, learning and insight as it causes the thinking process to slow down drastically.

Stress increase

It’s no surprise that commuting has been labelled ‘the stress that doesn’t pay’ in a paper written by Alois Stutzer and Bruno Frey in 2004 with its unpredictability adding more pressure to your work day. With problems out of your control; unseen expenses, traffic jam stress, pressure on time etc can all add up leaving feelings of frustration, anxiety and hostility (who among you can say you’ve never shouted at another car as it cuts you up – I’ll be honest, I shout when indicators aren’t used). In addition to your mental wellbeing, the constant build up of stress can have physical implications to your health. WebMD states that stress ‘seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems and asthma.’

Home/ work life satisfaction decrease

In a report by the Office for National Statistics, the ONS examined the relationship between commuting to work and the personal well-being of employees. The result found that those who regularly commuted to their work were less satisfied with their lives, rating their daily activities as less worthwhile and experiencing higher anxiety than non commuters. The level of travel does affect the results, with those commuting via coach or bus experiencing even lower than those who drove by car whereas those travelling to work ‘some other way’ had higher satisfaction than a car driver.

We know not everyone has a job that lets them work from home but, for those of us who choose to, our Garden Buildings offer a cost effective solution that can be put up in as little as a weekend. In addition to being quick to install; the use of a Log Cabin, Modern Office or Garden Building as an office means there is less cost (no rental fees, commuting costs etc), less time and less energy excerpted giving you a healthier home/work balance. For inspiration, look at our Case Studies page or subscribe to our blog to stay up to date with all the latest reviews.


February 8, 2016

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