If your employees are looking stressed at the very start of the day, their commute to work might be to blame.
A recent study from the University of Montreal’s School of Industrial Relations shows that some of the stress your employees are facing might not be related to their job at all but to their commute to work – and that includes the length, distance, and means of travel.
Annie Barreck, the study’s author stressed on the correlation between commuting stress factors and the likelihood of suffering from burnout.
“But their importance varies according to the individual, the conditions in which their trips take place, and the place where the individual works,” she added.
She valued employee burnout on three dimensions: emotional burnout, cynicism and professional efficacy.
A commute of more than 20 minutes was found to increase the risk of burnout “significantly”. If this goes up to 35 minutes, you can expect a risk of employees showing increased cynicism towards their job.
It is of no surprise that the bigger the city, the more stressful the commute, especially for people commuting by car.
This stress spilled over to those travelling towards rural areas, or even suburban areas, more so, since rural regions are less well-served with public transport.
Compared to this, urban areas, which offer more variety and frequency of public transport, were less likely to stimulate burnout in employees.
Another factor affecting stress while commuting is the person’s sense of control over the situation. In this regard, carpooling lost out, given the lack of control over the wheel.
On the other hand. cyclists and walkers in the city felt increased sense of control over their commute, given the access to safety features such as cycle paths and pedestrian crossings.
“The effects of the duration of a commute on a person’s mental health vary according to the type of transport used and the profile of the area where the person works,” said Barreck.
“Managing employee commuting flexibly would increase employee efficiency and moreover enable organisations to attract or retain workers.
“In the current context of skill shortages, employers have everything to gain from facilitating the mental health of their employees,” suggested Barreck.