Is Your Commute Wearing You Out? | Articles & Tips | WNYJobs.com | Buffalo

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 Is Your Commute Wearing You Out?

By Joe Stein

Western New York is generally known for having a good work commute situation.  This is not the case for everyone, however, in the area.  The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the average one-way commute (in the country) to be approximately 25 minutes.  I am sure most of us know people who have much longer commutes than this average.

One of the most underrated elements of job satisfaction is the work commute.  For some reason, the commute usually does not get placed in the mix when a person thinks about or discusses how they feel about their job, but it does play a large role.  If you think about it, if you have a commute of 45 minutes to one hour each way you are spending a lot of time each day driving instead of what you really want to do. I am sure there are lots of things you can do (family, hobbies, exercise, etc.) if you had all of that extra time back. 

If your commute has you down or is wearing you out physically and/or mentally, there are a number of things you can do.  You don’t have to just accept it as an inevitable part of your work life.

If you would like to stay with your current employer, you can have a discussion with them regarding your commute and how it is impacting your work-life balance.
There are at least a couple of options that could be considered to make the situation better for you.

 -  Work from Home – This option depends not only on the openness of your employer, but also the type of work that you do.  If you are an auto mechanic or a patient nurse, working from home is probably not an option.  If you have a position, however, that is primarily administrative (such as billing or data entry) then it may be something to consider.  The continued evolution of technology is creating more work from home opportunities every year. This does not even have to be an everyday type of accommodation, since even a couple of days a week relief from a long commute can be positively impactful.

 -  Adjust Your Schedule – We all know the prime time periods for commuting.  If you are able to adjust your schedule to come in a little bit earlier and leave before traffic builds up coming home, your commute can be significantly reduced.  This may be all you need to right your work-life balance.

 -  Internally Transfer – If you work for a company with multiple locations, you may have the option to move to a job closer to where you live.  The situation may have changed since you accepted your job, and perhaps, there are now openings at a closer location, you have moved, or new facilities have now opened.  This may especially be the case in a retail or service situation, where multiple locations are most likely to occur.  You may decide this is much more preferable than changing companies, since you would be able to maintain your service time and stay with the organization you already know.

As mentioned earlier, however, not all job situations allow for these types of commute alternatives.  In these circumstances, the work commute should be one of the considerations that is given significant consideration. Before you begin your search, determine what commute is manageable for you.  This should be done both in terms of mileage (after all…that is wear and tear on your vehicle) and time.  This will allow you to focus on open positions that are within your specific geographic guidelines.  If you have any question regarding whether the commute will work for you, then not only map it out online, but actually make the drive.  Try doing the commute during prime congestion time to accurately assess how long it will take for you to do.

During the phone screen or interview, it should be acceptable to bring up commute when discussing why you want to make a switch.  This is especially true if you have the 45+ minute type of commute I referenced earlier.  My suggestion would be to use the commute as a reason why you were looking for a new job, and then transition the answer to how excited you are regarding the position that you are being interviewed for.

One of the most underrated considerations that an employee or Job Seeker should consider is the work commute.  Time is a precious resource that we all have a limited amount of to use.  Any person can use more of it to spend on the activities that mean the most to us, rather than driving in traffic.  If your commute is wearing you out, perhaps now is the time to find a new job closer to where you live.

As always, best of luck in your job search.