As Boston Metro employers grapple with labor shortages and the pandemic, remote work has become something of a go-to solution to attract talent. Yet a new survey by online insurance broker Compare.com suggests that commutes are not a deal-breaker.
About half of the respondents to the national survey said they actually enjoyed their commute or found it beneficial. Those who reported their commute as positive said they valued having time to mentally prepare for the workday, or to unwind from the workday on the way home. Commuters who drive to work reported spending time thinking, listening to music, listening to an audiobook or podcast, or making phone calls via a hands-free device. Commuters who traveled by mass transit also reported watching videos and checking email.
There is a “sweet spot” in commuting, which seems to be 30 minutes or less. The majority of respondents who said commuting was a negative experience traveled between 30 to 55 minutes to reach the workplace, and disliked it enough to consider changing jobs. Interestingly, those who traveled 1 hour or more to work said they liked their jobs, which made the commute worthwhile.
At last study, the Boston Metro has an average commute time of 46 minutes. A 2019 survey by Robert Half International found that half of Boston Metro professionals reported their commute as stressful. At the same time, these commuters seemed to accept it as a norm, as a price of doing business.
In both surveys, about half of employees see commuting as negative, and half see it as beneficial. Boston Metro employers who wish to have office staff largely on-site should be encouraged by these findings. Providing a welcoming environment that is equipped to support productivity, collaboration and employee well-being remains key to attracting talent.
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