Commuting lowers life satisfaction, makes us unhappy and fat
According to analysis by the Office for National Statistics, commuters have lower life satisfaction, lower sense that their daily activities are worthwhile, lower levels of happiness and higher anxiety than non-commuters.
This assessment is supported by previous research done by Umea University in Sweden (as reported in the Slate) that found that ‘commuting makes us fat, causes stress, makes us feel lonely and literally causes pain in the neck’. Research by the same institute also found that a commute longer than 45 minutes for just one partner in a marriage makes the couple 40% more likely to divorce!
Other research has also suggested that higher earnings (one of perceived benefits of working in London) from a job that involves commuting do not compensate for lost time.
Daily commute gets longer and is more stressful than moving house
It also looks like that more and more of us are spending ever greater amount of time just travelling to and from work, further adding to our stress levels.
Research by the TUC in November 2016 showed that a staggering 3.7 million (one in seven) workers spent at least two hours travelling to and from work in 2015 – an increase of 900,000 people or a growth of one third over 2010 when just one in nine workers faced such a long commute.
In the South East, close to 625,000 workers spent more than two hours travelling to work – an increase of almost 168,000 or 37% since 2010.
Stress levels seem to be particularly high in the capital where another survey showed that 41% of commuters found their journeys increasingly stressful and agreed that commuting was more stressful than planning a holiday, being at work, moving house, dealing with money matters, or going to the dentist.
It’s little wonder then that nearly half of UK workers would turn down a dream job if it meant having to commute more than 30 minutes.