Killing the Commute: How Contact Centers Can Pave the Way Towards Helping People Achieve Work/Life Balance (Part 1)

One of the primary downsides of going to work lies in actually getting there. According to a recent report in USA Today, the average American worker spends approximately 204 hours a year commuting to and from the office. So, for every day that people physically show up at work, they are sacrificing almost an hour of time they’ll never (ever) get back.

Commuting to work causes needless stress

Webster’s defines the word sacrifice as follows: the act of giving something up that you want to keep in order to get or do something else. As a result, I don’t use the term “sacrifice” loosely. The act of commuting to work requires giving up your time (something most of us want to keep) in order to receive a paycheck (something most of us want to get).

Trading time for money, however, is something we can all understand. We may not like it, but it’s usually part of the deal if we want to get paid. But when it comes to commuting to work, well…no one’s getting paid for that. In fact, when you add up expenses like car payments, insurance coverage and gasoline, commuting to work epitomizes the phrase “it takes money to make money.”

What about productivity? Surely it’s beneficial from a productivity standpoint to have workers commute into the office, isn’t it? Well, that’s another subject up for debate. But let’s be honest- no one is benefiting from the “productive” time a person spends commuting to and from the office (unless you consider listening to self-help audio books to counteract work-related stress).

Ultimately, commuting to and from the office can involve a sacrifice to people’s general well being. Not only are full-time workers sacrificing on average 8 and a half days of unpaid time per year just to get to the office, they’re also sacrificing their health.

  • The American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that one-way drives in excess of 10 miles are associated with higher levels of cholesterol, a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
  • The same commute results in workers with higher incidences of depression and anxiety, according to researchers from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Dallas’s Coopers Institute.
  • And the U.K.’s Office of National Statistics reports the obvious: workers who commute more than a half hour to work each way report higher levels of stress than workers who have no commute.

There is a bright side to all this talk of commuting gloom and doom. The negative effects caused by actually “going” to work can be virtually eliminated by allowing your employees to work from home. While it’s true that not every job is Kill the Commute with WorkFlex Technologysuited for remote work, this is one of the rare instances where Contact Center employers actually have an edge. To quote Oscar Goldman from the popular 70’s show The Six-Million Dollar Man: “We have the technology.”

Guest Contributor- Rebecca Wise Girson, Founder of Wise Workforce Strategies, Inc.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in which Rebecca discusses the types of technology that make it possible to “kill” the commute and drive greater work/life balance for your employees.


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