How Important Is the Length of Your Commute?

Businessman reading newspaper on railway station, side view

By Kirsty Wareing

If you're weighing a new job offer, there are multiple factors to consider beyond the salary, company culture, and the nature of the actual job itself. One of these factors is the length and type of commute you'll be undertaking to the workplace and back on a daily basis.

If you don't give your commute much thought, hopefully that means it's relatively painless. For many, though, a commute can be long, stressful, and over time, rather expensive. Here are the different elements you might want to think about before accepting a new job, or if you're looking to improve your current route to work.

Commutes Can Be Costly

Have you ever worked out how much money you spend traveling to and from work daily, monthly, or even annually? Your mode of transportation and the distance from home to work are obviously the main factors. If you cycle, you likely made an initial investment in the bike, but are getting the benefit of exercise and the knowledge that you're not harming the environment. If you find yourself filling up your car with gas more often than you'd like, though, see if the problem might be that the office is simply too far away.

Of course, most of us can't just drop a job because we're tired of the commute, but there are things you can do to offset the costs, such as talking to the boss about working from home once or twice a week or adopting a flex schedule that puts you on the road when others have done their traveling for the day, thus minimizing time spent idling in traffic.

Stressed Before You're at Your Desk

Long commutes are more than unpleasant; they could be bad for your health. According to Slate, excessive traveling every day can be a contributing factor to obesity, neck pain, stress, and exhaustion. Sure, podcasts and a book can help pass the time – but wouldn't you rather be really putting that time to use or getting more sleep before going to work?

If you really feel like your commute is getting you down, take action. Whether it's talking to your boss about telecommuting, changing jobs to one that's close by, or taking the bus instead of driving, figure out what will instantly improve your daily life.

Your Time Is Precious

Even if you don't actively hate your commute, it might still be in danger of cutting into a sizable chunk of your day. Most of us have a limit to how much time we're willing to spend traveling to and from work.

Again, we can ease that feeling by finding things to fill the time, but it's also important to be spending enough time with family, friends and relaxing by ourselves. Cutting down on a commute can be a way to give yourself some breathing room.