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The future of work, evolution of leadership and changing nature of work are things I put a great deal of focus on in my everyday life. With the way technology is constantly disrupting and driving the way we approach our places of work, it can be really challenging to predict trends.
It was in the spirit of creating my own “crystal ball” that I found a 2017 article from Business Insider that cites a University of Cambridge study examining the impact of commuting. Researchers surveyed 34,000 workers across all business segments in the U.K. Their conclusion was that long commutes are affecting overall health and productivity. They discovered that workers with commutes less than 30 minutes gain an additional seven days of productive work time yearly when compared with those who had commutes of an hour or more. Those with longer commutes have higher rates of depression, obesity and financial worries, and they also get less sleep. According to a 2013 study (via Inc.), they also have higher divorce rates – and the kicker is that, according to one German study (via ScienceDaily), they’re more likely to have children with social or emotional problems.
The headquarters of my company is located in Boston, Massachusetts. According to a study from connected vehicle company Geotab (via Curbed Boston), Boston is tied for second in the cities analyzed for the worst “by car” commute, with an average distance of 40 minutes one way. That’s up from census data in 2015, which showed an average commute time of about 31 minutes. In my experience, there are simply not enough affordable housing options near many people’s places of work to drive these numbers down. This could continue to be a big problem for organizations in major cities that are looking to retain talent.