Research has suggested that the average UK worker spends up to 16 days a year travelling to and from work, with 39 per cent of people commuting for up to two hours a day.
It’s easy to think of this as wasted time, but viewed from a different angle the daily commute could actually provide valuable opportunities to complete basic tasks or boost your productivity.
A common concern
CV-Library conducted a survey of 1,200 workers to get a clearer picture of the reality of commuting. It found that four out of five people (80 per cent) commute to work five days a week.
While more than six out of ten people (63 per cent) said they actually enjoy their daily journeys, two-thirds (66 per cent) expressed a willingness to relocate in order to shorten their commute. More than half (57 per cent) of respondents said they would turn down a job that required more travelling time.
Nearly half (47 per cent) of the people participating in the survey said they would like to put their commuting time to better use. The most common journey activities are listening to music (33 per cent), reading (11 per cent), learning new things (six per cent) and working (five per cent).
CV-Library founder and managing director Lee Biggins said: “While it’s good to see that many use this time to do recreational activities instead of overworking themselves, it’s clear that many wish they could make better use of this time. However, this could prove difficult for the majority who are stuck behind the wheel during their journey.
“Working during long commutes, or doing nothing if you’re unable to, brings about the discussion of work-life balance – are professionals losing too much of their free time travelling to and from work?”
Making the best use of your time
There are many things you can do to put your commuting time to good use, whether it’s preparing for work or simply trying to clear your head and relax. Here are a few examples:
Prioritise tasks for the day – Your journey to work might provide a welcome opportunity to think about the day ahead and make some clear decisions about your most important tasks or objectives. If you have a ‘to-do list’ app such as Wunderlist or Evernote, use it to plan your day. Many of these apps have a voice recording function – which could come in handy for people who drive to work.
Get quick and easy jobs out of the way – When you are involved in the hubbub of the ordinary working day, simple tasks such as keeping on top of your emails and keeping your inbox in order can get pushed to one side. If you take the train or bus to work, dedicate the time to simple tasks you can complete on your phone, so you can focus on the more complex things once you arrive in the office.
Relax – For many people, simply trying to relax and clear their head will be the best way to use the time they spend commuting. Listening to music, reading or having phone conversations with friends can all have a calming effect, helping to put you in a positive mindset at the start of the day or to de-stress on the way home.
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