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Author Topic: Should your daily commute be counted as work?  (Read 3062 times)
grahame
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« on: October 27, 2019, 05:50:55 pm »

From TheBBC

Quote
Big cities around the world are getting increasingly congested. In some Indian cities, the average commute time easily runs into several hours.

A lot of commuters spend their commutes working, answering emails and taking calls. They are often stressed and tired even before the workday officially starts. It can affect performance, health, and work-life balance.

So, how can employers make the daily commute less painful and more productive? Should it be counted as part of your workday?

#WorklifeIndia speaks to the co-founder of an on-demand commuting service, a human resources professional and a long-distance commuter.

Presenter: Devina Gupta
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Sixty3Closure
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2019, 07:38:40 pm »

I've always tried to take the view that so long as the work gets done I don't care where its done. Off course if a team member gets all their work done in a 10 hour week then probably need to think about their work load.

There's also an acceptance that you do the extra hours when its busy and enjoy the more relaxed pace when a project finishes. Most staff seem comfortable with this approach.

I had one manager who insisted if he couldn't see you you weren't working. Cue lots of us browsing the internet and doing personal stuff late into the evening waiting for him to go home. Not productive or a good work-life balance.

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johnneyw
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2019, 07:49:00 pm »

There surely comes a point when the commute time becomes so much that working from home, for perhaps just some of the week, is the less stressful, time consuming and expensive answer. After all, is working from your house any less practical or efficient than working from a train or bus?
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broadgage
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2019, 11:13:34 pm »

Back in the real world, working from home finds little support among both employees and employers in most industries.

Many employers feel that working from home is not "real work" if they can not see the worker at a desk.

Many employees fear that if THEY can work from home, that perhaps the work could be done by someone in Calcutta working from their home, for perhaps 10% of the salary.

These concerns are not of course universal, they are IME widespread.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2019, 08:32:59 am »

When I worked my own business from home I was very nervous about my house insurance as, like the car, it only seemed to cover domestic use.....
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2019, 09:13:08 am »

Back in the real world, working from home finds little support among both employees and employers in most industries.

Many employers feel that working from home is not "real work" if they can not see the worker at a desk.

Many employees fear that if THEY can work from home, that perhaps the work could be done by someone in Calcutta working from their home, for perhaps 10% of the salary.

These concerns are not of course universal, they are IME widespread.
I'm not sure what real world you are living in down in Somerset, but for many employers and employees, where practical, flexible home working is both positively encouraged and welcomed.

Employers like it because with each desk costing around £25k pa in the City of London (I was quoted this by a company I was working with only six months ago), if they have a desk to staff ratio of 75% or 80% they save a fortune.  They also like it because their staff like the flexibility to work from home once or twice a week.

Employees like it because it gives them more flexibility in terms of arranging dental appointments, the plumber calling, school drop off etc, and saves them the wear and tear of the daily commute once or twice a week, which can easily give them an extra four to six hours of time each week. But they still come in often enough not to feel isolated and to appreciate the travel free days in comparison to the commute. 
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2019, 02:41:18 pm »

I agree completely.  Several non-railway friends now work from home on a reasonably frequent basis, say once every two weeks, who 5-10 years ago would never have done so.  They all do jobs where the temptation to slack off when working from home is countered by the fact they’ll simply have to work harder or longer another time to do the work they need to do.

That might well be anecdotal, but a drop of over 5% in season ticket sales last year hints at just how common it is becoming.
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johnneyw
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2019, 06:18:08 pm »


That might well be anecdotal, but a drop of over 5% in season ticket sales last year hints at just how common it is becoming.

Perhaps in future, season tickets to accommodate these changes in working patterns may need to be looked at more.
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2019, 11:16:19 pm »

There's one aspect of this that can be difficult. I've come to the conclusion over my career that there is nothing quite like face to face discussion for teamwork, mentoring and many of the aspects of work that add to efficiency and better outcomes in a way that the bean counters cannot quantify.

Flexible working requires discipline, not only in not slacking when you are working at home on your own, but also ensuring that your fellow team members (and for those of us in the service sector, customers and clients) know when you are available to meet and discuss matters. People all working in their own little silos tapping away on their laptops not speaking to others is at the root of much sub-optimal service delivery, I'm afraid, and there seems remarkably poor appreciation of this.
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2019, 11:17:48 pm »

I wonder if train drivers will be able to work from home one day.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2019, 08:03:00 am »

I wonder if train drivers will be able to work from home one day.

Sooner than you think with the introduction of driverless trains.
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2019, 08:30:41 am »



Employers like it because with each desk costing around £25k pa in the City of London (I was quoted this by a company I was working with only six months ago), if they have a desk to staff ratio of 75% or 80% they save a fortune.  They also like it because their staff like the flexibility to work from home once or twice a week.



Perhaps employers shouldn’t be packed into the centre of London and a better national spread of places of work would break this ridiculous cycle of commuting that the southern half of the country has got into. Maybe the government could lead incentives for companies to move to other towns and cities, after all this is the era of mass communication.
I have a friend who spends most of his time working at home. He lives in Reading and works for a large multinational company, his section of which is on a car based office park in Frimley. He doesn’t drive, so a journey to work requires two trains and a walk or one train and a shuttle bus. He finds he does more work for much longer periods while working at home and is more motivated without disruption from others. He goes to the office so little that his pass didn’t work on the door the last time he went.
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JontyMort
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2019, 08:49:26 am »


Perhaps employers shouldn’t be packed into the centre of London and a better national spread of places of work would break this ridiculous cycle of commuting that the southern half of the country has got into. Maybe the government could lead incentives for companies to move to other towns and cities, after all this is the era of mass communication.
I have a friend who spends most of his time working at home. He lives in Reading and works for a large multinational company, his section of which is on a car based office park in Frimley. He doesn’t drive, so a journey to work requires two trains and a walk or one train and a shuttle bus. He finds he does more work for much longer periods while working at home and is more motivated without disruption from others. He goes to the office so little that his pass didn’t work on the door the last time he went.

Ah, so much worse than "gone but not forgotten" - always dread the "forgotten but not gone".
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stuving
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2019, 10:10:39 am »

Perhaps employers shouldn’t be packed into the centre of London and a better national spread of places of work would break this ridiculous cycle of commuting that the southern half of the country has got into. Maybe the government could lead incentives for companies to move to other towns and cities, after all this is the era of mass communication.

Don't employers have big incentives already? Their costs are higher, and employees have high costs too (in time as well as money) and expect to be paid more to cover them. Of course the money spent on buying a house is retained by the individual as capital (for as long as house prices stay this high ...), though that doesn't directly affect the employer. But there are reasons why businesses like to huddle together, studied in a subject I associate with Jane Jacobs (Cities and the Wealth of Nations) though I'm sure there's been a lot more since then (1985).

One disincentive to being based in the provinces (if that word's still allowed) is frequently having to visit other companies, bits of government, etc. in  London - reducing that effect is one of the better justifications of HS2 as good for said provinces.

For government offices (the ones that used to be big employers of clerks) we have of course been here before - the Location of Offices Bureau shipped them out (called dispersal). The Post Office Saving Bank, for example, went to Glasgow, changed its name, and computerised its operations all at once during the 60s. My father declined to move with it, as we were all at school at the time which would be disrupted, but did work on that computerisation.

Obviously I remember that, as also that by 1971 they had run out of dispersible offices - because I got a letter printed in the Guardian about it. It was part of one of those "I'll top that" sequences, and read:

"Recently a suggestion was made that the Location of Offices Bureau be disbanded. Could this be regarded as a reflection of the current situation situation situation?"

A friend of mine then went one step further - by cheating, obviously.
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Reading General
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2019, 12:07:55 pm »

An economy of agglomeration I think it’s known as. The same reason certain areas of cities do particular business, for example Tottenham Court Road in london used to be all electrical shops. I saw a documentary. London’s current economy happened of its own according to the documentary, so nothing to do with billions of pounds investment in the public transport system.

Public transport is a key mover in these type of economies so perhaps if, for example, Bristol still had its tramways and a pre-metro arrangement had been built in the past, companies might be more interested in gathering there. So as I read it, london gets the business because it has the best public transport and not much to do with economies of agglomeration.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 12:37:54 pm by Reading General » Logged
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