Commuting: How much is too much?

Commuting: How much is too much?

While we probably all think we've ended up drawing the short straw when it comes to making our way into the office every day, after listening to a recent Radio 4 broadcast, it's safe to say that there are definitely some who are much worse off than the average commuter.

The programme focused on the trials and tribulations of the willies, which stands for Work in London, Live in Edinburgh. While this may be hard to believe, there are so many people making this debilitating eight hour, forty minute (if they're lucky) round journey that someone has genuinely felt the need to assign an acronym to them.

How they manage it is one question that instantly springs to mind, while another is why. After all, however good the money is, is it really worth the sacrifice of that much time on a train that you're never going to get back?

The price of the fare alone must be staggering, while the hours spent in transit could surely be put to much better use. As our recent infographic shows, the cost of commuting doesn't necessarily limit itself to just pounds and pence.

While the willies are an extreme example of what commuters are putting themselves through for the sake of their job, the situation for 'normal' travellers makes for reading that isn't much better in lifting spirits.

The real cost of the commute

According to research carried out by investing firm, we spend an average of £50,000 during our career on getting to and from work, while that figure rises to nearly £66,500 for Londoners.

While the capital was unsurprisingly the worst when it came to the commuting experience, with employees spending nearly an hour and a quarter travelling between their home and their workplace every day, the picture wasn't that much brighter elsewhere.

For Manchester staff, journey time was one hour and four minutes, while those in Bristol spent an hour on the move.

Furthermore, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), commuters tend be more at risk of experiencing anxiety, feel less satisfied with their lives, aren't as happy in general and tend to be of the opinion their daily activities are not worthwhile.

Is this the real cost of the commute? Surely our mental wellbeing should be of higher importance than any of the other issues we've discussed so far?

Around 60,000 people were questioned in the ONS study, suggesting its findings are a fair indication of the general opinions of the average travelling worker.

How can I spend less time commuting?

So, is there anything out there to spare the willies and other poor souls from the rigmarole of the commute?

The answer, we think, lies in free conference calling. Why spend time and money physically getting from A to B and back again when you can speak to everyone you need to simply by picking up the phone?

Granted, this can't be done 100 per cent of the time, but even if you just replace one in five journeys with a work from home day, you'd be saving around £10,000 over the course of your career.

Whether you're meeting with clients or colleagues, not all catchups have to be conducted on a face-to-face basis. With that in mind, you can save time, money and your own mental health.

Your productivity can greatly improve through conference calling. Without all the travelling around, you can go from meeting to meeting without even leaving your chair. Next time you work from home, make an effort to not let it affect your schedule and see how many meetings you participate in. We guarantee you'll feel the difference.

So, how much commuting is too much? If you're not already taking advantage of conference calling, then you probably already know the answer.