Long Commutes Negatively Impacting Workers – And They’re Only Getting Worse

Published July 31, 2019 (last updated July 21, 2020) -

Two things are getting on the nerves on Aussie workers. One is long commutes to and from work. The other is payroll mistakes made by their work.

HRM reports that the recently released Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, based on 2017 data, found that the Australian workers are spending an average of 4.5 hours a week commuting to work and from work.

Sydney has the worst daily average commute of 71 minutes, followed by Brisbane (67 minutes), Melbourne (65 minutes), Perth (59 minutes), Adelaide (56 minutes) and Canberra (52 minutes).

18% of all respondents have a commute of 2 hours or more.

Not only were commute times dependent on infrastructure, public transport options, and population size, but also on the type of work.

Sales workers generally had the shortest commutes on average, while technicians and trade workers had to travel the most. HRM concludes that the discrepancy for trade workers is because they often have to work at different locations each day.

Longer commutes, the report found, had a ripple effect on workers.

Almost 15% of workers with short commutes looked for a new job in the last month, while 19% of workers with long commutes did so.

Workers with long commutes reported feeling less satisfied with work both on general scale and also in terms of salary happiness and flexible work options. These same workers also have a slightly higher fear of either losing their job in the next 12 months or moving onto a new one voluntarily.

“Lengthy commuting also potentially increases exposure to nuisances and hazards such as traffic noise, crowds, congestion, pollution and uncomfortably hot or cold conditions. These can cause physical or emotional distress and have a direct influence on people’s physical and mental health,” researchers Liang Ma and Runing Ye said.

Michael Morris, Head of Talent at Employsure, Australia’s leading employment relations advisory, says that employee wellbeing should be at the heart of everything a company does.

“At Employsure, we promote consistent values that we expect of ourselves and our employees, just like every other organisation.

“But our employee experience specialists go one step beyond. They organise things like discounted gym, special lunches and on Tuesday and Thursdays, a tea trolley.

“I strongly suggest to businesses that they introduce a more comprehensive plan to look after their workers. I also suggest business get their Fair Work compliance in check. Talk to your Sales team about that.”

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