Commuting to work makes you ‘unhappy and anxious’, a study on the well-being of workers by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown.
The study of more than 60,000 people, including employees and the self-employed, found that commuters have a lower life satisfaction, particularly if they spend more than half-an-hour on a bus.
The research was based on data from the Annual Population Survey, where people were asked how long they travelled, where they worked, how satisfied they were with their life, and how anxious they had felt the previous working day.
The ONS said that other factors such as higher income or better housing may not fully compensate for the loss of general personal well-being associated with commuting.
The report found the worst effects of travelling to work were related with journey times of between an hour and 90 minutes. And those travelling by bus or coach had a lower sense that what they were doing was worthwhile than those travelling by car.
Compared with those who worked from or near home, commuters were found to be less happy and when compared with each other, for each extra minute they travelled commuters became less satisfied.
However, once the time reached three hours, the results levelled off.
The ONS said:
“Those with very long commutes have quite different experiences than those travelling less time. For example, people may be able to use their travel time more productively on a longer journey.”
This is good news for self-employed people and contractors, who are able to more easily dictate where they work.