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Half of workers wouldn't take a job with an hour's commute

Is the death knell sounding for the lengthy commute to work? Not according to the last national census, which revealed that the average UK commuting time was 54 minutes, up from 45 minutes a decade before.

But acceptance of the situation could be coming to an end if a poll undertaken by the Manchester-based recruiting firm The Candidate has identified a new trend.

Almost half of the respondents in its survey said that 60 minutes - just 6 minutes more than the national average - was the maximum commuting time that they would put up with getting to work.

Around half also said that commuting times were more important than the quality of the job on offer.

More than nine out of ten people said they would not commute to work if took them more than 90 minutes.

Stressed and demotivated

The average commuting time into London is 74 minutes, followed by the South East and East of England, both at 56 minutes.

Long commutes are associated with a more stressed and demotivated workforce, so lengthening times will not be welcomed by employers.

While commutes are getting longer, census data also suggests that fewer people are regularly commuting now (81 per cent) than in 2001 (86 per cent).

If workers want to spend less time travelling to and from work, employers can help to reduce pressure on them by being more open about flexible working and homeworking arrangements.

Last year 4.2 million people worked from home for at least half of their working time, the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998.

But 1.8 million UK workers spent 3 hours or more commuting for work each day.

Acas publications and services

Extensive advice for employers on homeworking and flexible working is given in pdf icon Homeworking - a guide for employers and employees [272kb] and the pdf icon Advisory booklet - Flexible working and work-life balance [176kb] respectively. Also check out Acas' Policy Discussion Paper: pdf icon Agile but fragile: The changing face of UK homeworking – what works best for whom? [150kb]

Acas experts can visit your workplace and help you develop effective flexible-working policies; see Workshops, projects and business solutions or call the customer services team on 0300 123 1150 for details.

Acas also runs practical training courses on Flexible working and Work/life balance, including developing family-friendly policies in the workplace.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.


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