Researchers Reckon Your Commute Should Be Classed As Working Hours

By Kim Snaith on at

It seems a lot of us who use public transport to travel to and from work are using our time sat on the train/bus to deal with work emails and other work-related tasks. As a result, some researchers reckon that the working day structure needs to be looked at, with the commute time included as part of our standard working hours.

The study, carried out by the University of the West of England, reckons that 54% of commuters using a train's on-board wi-fi are doing so to send work emails. In a morning, that means getting a head start on what's waiting in your inbox, and on the way home, it means tying up any loose ends you didn't get around to before leaving the office.

What I'm more impressed with, though, is that so many people actually manage to successfully use train wi-fi. But the study  has already taken this into account apparently, with the clever people from UWE monitoring the impact of commuter routes with newly improved wi-fi connections, namely the routes between London and Birmingham, and London and Aylesbury.

Dr Juliet Jain, a researcher from the university's Centre for Transport and Society, reckons that if workplaces started counting the journey as work, it could "ease commuter pressure on peak hours". The ease of access that smartphones, tablets and laptops give us and the increasing number of workplace systems that are now going online and to 'the cloud' means it's easier than ever for people to take their work home with them. It means the lines between work and home are blurring, and because of that, Dr Jain believes workplace cultures need to change.

However, it's unlikely workplaces are going to either (a) make your work day shorter so it includes your commute or (b) suddenly start paying you for an extra two hours a day to cover your journey. It's more likely businesses will simply introduce new tools and training to enable us to better manage the work/life balance. [BBC]