Flexible working touted as answer to commuting gripes

Flexible working arrangements could slash employees’ unhappiness over dangerous drivers, traffic jams and body odour when commuting to work, according to a new report by office space provider Regus.


A survey of 10,000 businesses found Australians spend on average 27 minutes to travel to work, with 17% facing a 45-minute journey.


But according to the survey, commuters are less bothered by the time spent commuting and more annoyed about other elements of the journey.


When asked to rank the seven most annoying aspects of travelling to work, dangerous drivers, traffic jams and road rage took out the top three spots.


Next on the list were people talking too loudly on their mobile phones, followed by pollution and overheating, a lack of adequate information from service providers, and the body odour of other commuters or their smelly food.


According to William Willems, Regus vice president for Australia and New Zealand, commuters can avoid some of the stress by travelling outside of peak hours or working closer to home.


“We advocate flexible working locations and hours to avoid all these stresses and strains, which can have such an adverse effect on employee’s motivation and happiness,” he says.


Kevin Johnson, director of Geografia economic consultants, says the daily commute can compromise the success of a business, particularly start-ups.


“We spend enormous amounts of time, energy and resources commuting from where we live to where we work. That commuting time is simply a drain,” Johnson says.


“I don’t think there are any advantages to commuting at all unless you like the time in the car alone. But if you’re a small business, time is money.”


Johnson says working from home is a viable option for any business where the primary tool is a computer.


“You are a little more isolated professionally, but that’s increasingly less the case as internet access gets better,” he says.


“The advantage of working from home is that it’s very cheap. You’re more assured of not going out of business because you don’t really have to fork out a long lease and you can learn what you really need to run your business before you make the financial commitment to set up an office somewhere.”


“Also, you can work whenever you like. When you’re starting a business, you might be putting in 80-hour weeks to get your business going.”


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