Americans spend a lot of time in their cars traveling to and from work. In 2018, the average American commute exceeded 27 minutes one way—a record high, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s 225 hours, or nine days, spent commuting in just one year.
And although commute times plummeted in 2020 as workers across the globe went remote, we’re now seeing a number of employees adopting a hybrid or full return-to-office work regimen. With this in mind, it’s important that business leaders take employees’ commute times into consideration when finding a space that suits their employees.
The Impact of Long Commutes on Employees
There’s little good that comes from spending more time in the car. In fact, longer commutes are bad for workers and their families. More time spent sitting means less physical activity, which has been linked to higher rates of obesity and high blood pressure. One study showed that an increased commute had the same effect on employee satisfaction as a 19% pay cut.
But long commutes don’t only impact the commuter. Increased time spent commuting is also correlated with higher rates of divorce. Beyond its impacts on parents, research shows that children of fathers with longer commutes tend to have more social and emotional problems.
From employee wellness and productivity standpoints, longer commutes offer no benefit. Employees who spend more time in their cars tend to have higher rates of worker absenteeism. Employers who require workers to be in the office should pay close attention to how that policy impacts their employees.
5 Tips For Finding a Space that Suits Your Employees
The COVID-19 pandemic has made a significant impact on employees’ use of transportation.
Many workers who have access to reliable public transportation are still hesitant to adopt its use. Currently, only 50% of transit riders nationwide have returned to buses, trams, and subways.
However, bike commutes have increased in popularity largely due to people taking physical fitness more seriously, as well as the environmental impact of car commutes. This resurgence in caution and environmental concern will persist, though it may have unintended consequences. If fewer people are driving to the office, more may be incentivized to drive solo rather than carpool.
As an employer, you should remain conscious of how your space suits your employees. Follow these five tips when researching new real estate.
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Proximity to Major Highways
This will help cut down commute time not only for your employees, but for your visiting customers and partners as well. Allegro can assist this analysis by developing drive time analyses for your workforce and calculate average drive times location by location.
Tip 2: Increase Availability of Parking Facilities
While searching for a new space or upon lease renewal, consider negotiating ample parking space (both car and bike) for your commuting employees—especially if most of your team doesn’t take public transportation. Parking costs for employees and visitors should be part of any lease negotiation. The team at Allegro works to make sure these terms are always part of every location review.
Tip 3: Utilize Parking Management Software
In markets with extreme parking congestion and for firms with large work forces, a helpful tool is parking management software. Some of the best parking management software programs available can help increase parking space by up to 40%. This will help you navigate the return to the office while reducing carbon emissions via an easy-to-use, real-time availability tracker.
Tip 4: Choose a Location Near Public Transportation
Make it easier on your employees to take public transit to the office; it’s good for them and your business. First, proximity to public transit increases property value. Second, it removes the need to provide private parking spaces, and you are more likely to attract and retain top talent. The team at Allegro can help map, using GIS, public transit options for both bus and train.
Tip 5: Find a Space Near Electric Charging Stations
It’s predicted that by 2025, there will be more than 18 million electric cars in the United States, thus increasing the need for charging stations. As that number grows, ensure employees who drive electric cars have easy access to charging stations. Allegro continually monitors the availability of these amenities at buildings.
Although employee commuting may look different after the pandemic, it should still remain a major consideration when choosing a space that best fits your employees and their needs. A less stressful commuting experience for your workers means greater productivity and ROI for your company.
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