Going to work can be stressful whether it’s the job you love or the job you hate. Maybe there’s work waiting for you from the day before as you walk into the office or a know-it-all boss who, in fact, doesn’t actually know what they are doing.
But for those commuting to work via their car, the agitation and stress start before they even walk through their office’s doors, according to a new study.
A third of Americans commuting to work by car reported feeling an emotional rollercoaster just before even starting work. The study, commissioned by Batteries Plus Bulbs with One Poll, found that the average commuter spends more than five entire days driving back and forth to work during a calendar year.
The reasons for the stressors can vary. For starters, more than a quarter of Americans said it’s become a habit of complaining about their commuting life on the regular. With cities around the US plagued with traffic, the idea of being late, even just a few minutes late, left 76% feeling guilty about arriving just minutes after the start of the workday.
To make matters worse, managers don’t care about commuters’ excuses. One in four commuters said they believe their bosses don’t view commuting issues as a valid reason to arrive late to work. More than a quarter said their managers show no sympathy toward commuting troubles.
To most respondents, being considered “late” can mean arriving six minutes past when their shift starts. Nearly half of respondents said they consider themselves late even if they arrive a minute after their start time, according to the survey.
As for what commuters encounter on their commute, the most common reason for their struggles was traffic for more than 75% of respondents. Other problems included flat tires (54%), dead car battery (54%), and even for a quarter of respondents, misplaying their keys before work.
Working on the commute
For workers, work doesn’t necessarily start right when you walk in the office doors.
Nearly 50% of commuters prepare for the workday while on their commute, according to a separate study.
Driving-tests.org ran a study of more than 990 full-time employees who commute for five or more days to work finding that many begin their day by replying to emails or planning ahead.
Forty percent of respondents said they respond to communications on their commute, while more than a third said they review completed work on their commute. Nearly a third of respondents said they start working earlier on assigned tasks, while a quarter said they brainstorm ideas or concepts to pitch.
Interestingly, people who work during their commute felt far more content than stressed, according to the study. Seventy-three percent of respondents said commuting gave them more time to be productive, but for those who don’t work during their commutes, 29% said they felt more stressed.
Production during your commute isn’t just a one-way street — it can create free time like going on an additional two dozen dates, exercising five more sessions per month, or reading nearly 10, 500-plus books in time.