The AlliedUP Co-op Blog

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The Hidden Cost of Long Commutes on Health, Happiness and Work-Life Balance

How much time do you spend on commutes going to and from work? And what kind of impact is it having on your life, both on and off the job?

How Long Commutes Cost Us

  • As reported by the Washington Post, the average commute time for Americans is 26 minutes. This adds up to losing nine days a year traveling back and forth from your workplace. This is minor compared to the more than two percent of people who have 90-minute commutes, adding up to an entire month lost per year.

Paying the Toll in More Ways than One

In addition to out-of-pocket monetary costs associated with commuting – think gas, auto maintenance, and bridge and highway fees –  the physical and emotional tolls can quickly add up.

  • Researchers have found links between the spread of suburban sprawl and the rise of obesity in the United States. Studies also have shown that people get less exercise as the distance between where they live and work increases.

You can find more in-depth information in this National Library of Medicine report.

How to Mitigate the Ill Effects of Commuting

The good news is more and more people have opted to live in cities in recent years, turning the tide on suburban sprawl. Bike paths and bike sharing are on the rise, and urban planners are doing more health-impact assessments geared toward communities less dependent on motorized vehicle transportation.

If you can’t avoid commuting, there are steps you can take to make that time more productive and lessen the negative effects on your health and well-being. They include:

  • Use commute time to catch up on your reading, listen to audiobooks or podcasts, or enjoy a crossword or other take-along puzzle.
  • Carpooling. Not only is this option better for the environment, but it can also be good socialization time with a friendly companion.
  • Make up for lost exercise and/or outdoor time by taking a walk during your lunch or dinner break. In addition to the physical benefits, this can help relieve stress and tension and give you more energy to resume working.
  • Opting for flexible work arrangements. If you’re a hands-on clinician, chances are you can’t work remotely, at least not 100 percent of the time. However, hybrid or flex scheduling options can be the key to enhanced productivity and less time spent on the road.

Time for a Commute Change?

Commuting time is a perfectly valid reason to change jobs, if doing so helps ensure greater work-life balance. In fact, research has also shown that 62 percent of U.S. workers would not apply for a job due to the commute.

If it’s time for a change to eliminate your commute or other career-draining factors, AlliedUP Co-op is your source for the best allied healthcare, nursing, therapy, and other clinical and non-clinical career opportunities in California and across the U.S. These include temporary, contact-to hire, and direct hire options. Among our clients are many of the nation’s leading medical centers, facilities, and systems. Contact us today to learn more.