If it feels like your commute is longer than ever, then you’re probably right. The average American commuted just over 27 minutes each way in 2018 setting a new record high according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Washington Post reports the average American has added two minutes to their commute since 2009. Although that doesn’t sound like a big deal, little increases add up over time. Commuters now spend 20 minutes more commuting today than they did just ten years ago. Do the math and that’s 17 extra hours a year.
Take it back to the ’80s and the numbers are even more dramatic with an hour per week added to commute times. That means commuters spend 225 hours a year or nine full days on the road just getting back and forth to their jobs.
The reasons why commutes have grown are varied. Housing is more expensive closer to cities, which prices many workers out of the market. The only solution is to venture further into the suburbs and away from their jobs.
Adding to the longer distance many drive to get to work is increased congestion. The spending required to improve roads and handle more commuters is hard to find. This leaves roads outdated and unable to handle the volume of cars involved in the today’s daily commutes.
It might seem like merely an inconvenience, but long commutes do more than simply frustrate drivers and make you late for that morning meeting. People with long commutes have higher rates of obesity and high blood pressure. A long commute isn’t good for you health.
That commute isn’t good for business either. Workers with long commutes have higher rates of absenteeism. Slogging through bad weather is a lot less daunting when you’re not facing as much time behind the wheel.
One solution to the problem is remote work. Whether you’re full-time remote or maybe just get to work from home a few days, it reduces time on the road and helps increase employee satisfaction. It also saves money on gas and vehicle repairs while helping reduce congestion for those who do have to go into the office.
Rush hour traffic is worse than ever, but the possibility of working from home is one way to make the commute better for everyone.