Long commute to work? Here's how to make it less stressful
- Read Time: 19 min
26,9 minutes! One Way! That is how long the average commute for the American working population was in 2017 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Almost an hour in total. And a whopping 142,5 million of the total US workforce needs to suffer that daily commute. Honestly, how many times have you heard the words "I love my daily commute" being uttered by someone who has a long commute?
And we get it. Public transport being what it is, as much as we appreciate it, wish it was always on time, never crowded, reliable like a swiss watch, and always contained newly showered fresh fellow passengers, we know that will never happen.
Not to mention the horrors of traffic jams at rush hour, which can seriously affect even the most balanced persons' mental health. The travel time to and from work can quickly turn into a scene from the movie Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas, perfectly depicting a commuter who loses it big time. Sure he had some other issues eating away at him but plenty of time boiling over it in the traffic jams.
- 1. Rethink your commute
- Drive, Public Transport, Cycling, Walk, or Electric scoot to Work?
- Productive, Enjoyable, Relaxing, or Fun?
- Consider Switching to an Electric Scooter Instead of Walking or Cycling
- 2. Before and after travelling to work!
- 3. 10 things you can do if you go by public transport
- 4. What to do when you must take your car to work
- How Should You Approach Making Your Employees Take A Long Commute?
1. Rethink your commute
But your daily commute needs not to be such a harrowing daily experience. There are solutions to be considered, in order to make the commute time a more pleasant experience.
After all, however you commute, it is time spent traveling. It can either be and feel like a waste of time or, it can be more productive and even fun.
Drive, Public Transport, Cycling, Walk, or Electric scoot to Work?
At the top of the list is how you commute. Roughly a quarter of Americans have a shorter commute. Around 15 minutes one way. Easy to take the car then. However, there are options that will benefit your well being as well as the environment and emissions. The first one that comes to mind is the bicycle.
In some parts of the world, the bike is extremely popular as a means of transport to and from work. Visit Copenhagen and Amsterdam and you will be amazed at the amounts of bicycles in the cities. And once you do try it out, the infrastructure created to make it easier for bikers to move around soon makes the idea of taking the car the more cumbersome choice.
It won't save you much commuting time taking the car if we are talking 5-10 miles (8-16 km) or even longer distances. Considering traffic jams, traffic lights, parking, etc. It is quite amazing how far and fast you can travel on a bike in inner cities.
As an avid recreational biker, I find myself biking longer and longer distances the more I bike. The one thing that will happen is that you will be sweating. And that might be an issue for some people. Arriving ready for your workday needing a shower is maybe not optimal.
Public transportation is another brilliant option. If it is available. Not all cities have a subway system and even if, the nearest station can still be a 15 minute walk from your home.
Buses are probably the least favorite of public transport. Notoriously unreliable to arrive on time. Many times standing room only. Drivers who don't know how to operate the brake pedal but rather think it is an on-off button, which means you have to be ready, have good legs and balance lest you fall over your fellow passenger. Not to mention the guy next to you smelling of sweat and garlic.
Walking is obviously also an option, albeit one that quickly loses its appeal if distances are more than a couple of miles.
What if.....what if... there was a better way than the car? Equally fast, more economical, more environmentally friendly, more fun, and won't make you sweat. Impossible you say?
Then you have not seen or tested what is available on the electric scooter market. Commuting shorter distances fast and effective is now possible due to the arrival and developments of electric kick scooters on the market.
The morning commute can definitely be a fun part of the journey and add to your job satisfaction. The electric kick scooter is definitely a game changer since it offers so much at a very low price. Many of them are capable of top speeds above 25 mph (40 kph), have long range, are portable, and easy to operate.
If you look at places like New York or San Fransisco, the various kick scooters available on the market today will kick most cars butt. There is no chance to compete with the agility, speed, and cost effectiveness of the e-scooters when dealing with traffic jams and public transit.
They are crazy fun to ride as well, and you won't break a sweat. Even for longer commutes, there are options that have so much battery power, they will bring you there & back on a single charge.
So commuting can actually feel more like leisure time if you choose the right e-scooter for you. We've made it easy for you and summarized the best electric scooters for commuting making sure you pick the best one for your commute.
Factoring in the purchase price of the average e-scooter, the maintenance, and electricity bill for charging it, the car will always lose. However you calculate, there is no chance to commute cheaper and more effectively even if you are carpooling. Below are some examples of the how varied e-scooter can be from simpel city commuter to a long range commuting model.
Productive, Enjoyable, Relaxing, or Fun?
Depending on what type of person you are, you will probably regard your daily commute from different perspectives. If you can commute passively, meaning riding on a train, bus, or subway and not have to drive, you have different options.
In reality, time is our most valuable asset and using it wisely and effectively is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary results. It is that little "extra" that does it.
Some people want to enjoy their time in a more relaxing way. Maybe listen to a podcast or audiobook, especially if the commute is long distance. Or spend time on social media.
And some people want to enjoy their commute in a fun way. Simple as that. Driving a car is fun and convenient. But if traffic jams are good at anything, it is to destroy that fun part of driving your car.
The electric kick scooter is definitely to be considered as the solution for those who want to enjoy their commute. Gliding along at good speeds and not have to be bogged down by mass transit quagmires is a kick.
Consider Switching to an Electric Scooter Instead of Walking or Cycling
It is very simple. Once you go electric you won't go back. Let's face it. If you can walk to work then obviously that is tough to beat. You're the "greenest" and healthiest of all commuters. But it quickly becomes a bit of a project if distances go up.
It takes the average person 45 minutes to walk 3,1 miles (5 km) and a slower walker will need 60 minutes. After all, who can spend 3-4 hours walking back and forth to work every day if it is 5 miles or longer?
So your workplace needs to be around the corner or on the next block for that option to be viable.
Biking is definitely a brilliant option. Great for cardio and also great for the environment. However, there are drawbacks. Even at a modest pace, you will build up a sweat. Arriving at work as if you've been to a gym class is not optimal. If you live in a hillier area, the bike might also be a proper workout session going uphill.
Compared to walking, a 3,1 mile ( 5 km ) bike ride on a flat surface takes around 15 minutes. Push a bit and you can do it around 10 minutes or under. So the time saved compared to walking is quite significant on the bike.
And until the arrival of the electric kick scooter, there was nothing that could be faster and "greener" than the bike. But now there is.
It is such a clever and brilliant device that arguing against it quickly becomes a futile exercise. They are quicker than all bikers on the planet except for the professional bikers on the Tours. You will need monster legs in order to pedal at 20 mph (32 kph) consistently for 45 minutes or so.
They are also quiet and emissions friendly which takes away two elements of nuisance that has driven many people slightly mad. Fumes and loud exhaust noise. Ever visited Rome? The sheer noise of the petrol scooters can be deafening. Not to mention the smog.
And they are fun to ride, in a way that must be experienced. Reaching for your kick scooter quickly puts a smile on your face. You find yourself doing errands and going to places you normally would avoid due to distances, parking issues, bad or non existent public transport. But now all of a sudden, you figure, "hey, I can quickly get to where I want on my kick scooter". And without breaking a sweat.
2. Before and after travelling to work!
Preparation is key. A lot of stress is due to not having prepared properly even before going to work. Having a morning routine or a "system" will remove a lot of stress factors. Getting up in time and allowing your body to wake up properly is part of that.
Have a Morning Routine
Having a morning routine or a "system" will remove a lot of stress factors. Getting up in time and allowing your body to wake up properly is part of that.
Have a place in your home where your "work things" are gathered and easy to locate. It can be the laptop or cellphone charger or car keys or your work bag. Knowing they are at the same place every time is key.
Prepare Your Things
Prepare your reading or listening material so you can hit play without having to look for it.
If you want to be productive on your journey, make sure you have all things required. If it is notes, tasklists, or memos organized and easy to access.
Leave a Little Earlier
Make it a habit to leave 15 minutes earlier than you think you need.
In a survey done recently amongst US commuters, 76% felt guilty about arriving just minutes after the start of the workday. To make matters worse, managers typically don't care about commuters excuses, especially not traffic related ones.
It is so easy to give yourself a better chance by leaving earlier. Become "extra" ordinary at arriving on time or even before.
Arrive Prepared, and Freshen Up
Arriving at work short of breath and throwing yourself at your workstation is another stress factor. Arriving slightly sooner gives you a chance to freshen up, get a breather and maybe a nice first cup of coffee.
After all, no high performing individual, whether it is sports or music or something similar, shows up just in time, runs out on the court and starts serving for the US open. Or comes to the studio and starts laying down solos or vocals without warming up and preparing properly.
No it's all about getting in the "zone" and find that balance. Having to spend the rest of the day "catching" up because of a stressful start is demoralizing.
3. 10 things you can do if you go by public transport.
1. Plan the Day Ahead
Writing down a "Top 5 things to do list" is a very effective way to start your day. The trick is to put the thing you least like to do at the top of the list. The one thing that you have been pushing off. Start working on it and only stop when the task is completed or if you cant finish it due to circumstances beyond your control. Then proceed to nr 2 on the list the same way and so on. Do this every day and you will be amazed at the results.
Task oriented people will do this naturally as it makes sense to them. If you want to become more effective you might want to copy some of that modus operandi.
2. Read the News
Keeps you updated on current affairs and will make sure you are not the one going; "duh"? when your colleagues discuss them over a cup of coffee.
Keeping tabs on world events is never a bad idea, I always spend some time in the morning updating myself on world events, then I dive into my own niche interest reading news about gadgets, cars and you can probably guess the rest!
3. Talk to Someone
Talking to your fellow passengers and getting to know them can be a very interesting thing to do. There are many stories out there of people who have connected and started a relationship on a public transport. Who knows, your next business partner or maybe a spouse could be sitting next to you.
4. Read a Book
Read that book you've been wanting to read for such a long time. Sorry, there are no ecuses for not reading books. I've heard them all. Most common one; "I don't have time". Nope, won't buy that. You'd be surprised how many books you can read in a year by reading 10 minutes here and there. Before you know it the book is at an end and you need to get to the next one.
Only when you start dong this regularly will you notice it to be true. Looking at a 500 pages thick book makes most think it is too much and will take forever to get through. Yes if you have to read it in one chunk, then it might be a while. But if you take 10-20 minutes everyday, it is quick.
5. Get Done with Little Tasks
Get done with tasks you might have to do once at work anyway. If you can do work on your laptop, why not do it on the commute and make it one less thing to do at work later in the day?
Or take care of any personal minor tasks you need to do after work anyways, nowadays a lot of things are doable through you phone. Order your grocery shopping, pay a bill, sign up for that thing you need to do in the evening otherwise.
6. Listen to a Podcast
If you don't want to read and that's not your thing, then podcasts might be the thing for you. Get through any topics or shows conveniently while travelling. Smart.
And when it comes to podcasts you are as spoiled for choice as in the movie or series industry, it has become widely popular over the years and I bet you can find topics for just about any interest.
7. Listen to music
Listen to music. Whatever you need, to get through the day better. Some want calm and relaxing music and some wants something more energizing. Music is fuel for the spirit and we as humans can't live without it.
8. Take an Online Class
Learn a new language or something else through an online class. Again, the "extra"ordinary people seem to find time to put that little "extra" into their daily routines and in so, getting an advantage. Today there are so many options available that there really can't be any excuses.
Meditate. Getting in the "zone" as mentioned above is a huge part of successful people's routines. Closing your eyes and learn to block out distractions takes discipline and practice. The more you can do it, the more balanced and energized you will become.
If you are driving a car to work, you obviously can't close your eyes but you can still meditate on focusing on your breathing and, practice not getting annoyed or irritated by anything or anybody. This my friends, takes a lot of work when considering the driving standards and behaviors on the roads.
10. Take a Nap
And if you can, take a nap. Studies show that 20 minutes of sleep in the afternoon provides more rest than 20 minutes more sleep in the morning.
The cognitive benefits of a nap are scientifically established. Give your body and mind that extra boost if you can.
4. What to do when you must take your car to work
Some people seem to think the car is an indestructible machine that can endure any type of treatment. And when it cries enough, they are left standing at the roadside scratching their heads.
Fact is, cars are much more sensitive than people realize.
Maintain the Car well
It is therefore very important to maintain it properly and do regular check ups on all fluids. Water, oil, brakeoil, tire pressures etc. Do you have a cambelt or camchain? A belt needs replacing at x amount of miles. A chain most often not. If the belt goes. Adios engine. Expensive.
Some people don't seem to understand how the automatic climate control ( ACC ) works. They shut it off (for some strange reason) and drive around like that. Well, do that long enough and the whole system will stop working and break down. Very expensive to repair. It is an automated system which should be on all year around. Just set the desired temperature and the car will do the rest. It will not engage the cooling (AC) until it needs to. So even in wintertime it should be set on automode.
Have a tailored environment
The car is actually an extension of your home, or so it should be. Keeping it clean, tidy and fresh smelling should be a given. Yet, some cars when you visit them inside, makes you wonder if it is a home for rats or people.
Who wants to travel like that?
If you can't be bothered cleaning your car yourself, there are plenty of options everywhere to get it fixed at an extremely low cost. Get someone to recondition it for you once a week or fortnight for 20-30 US dollars.
Spending all that time in the car should be as pleasant as possible.
Your Commute is not a race
Travel time to work will not be cut in half by you zig-zagging between lanes and driving in a stop go fashion. There is no better way adding stress to your work day and stomach than getting frustrated behind the wheel and starting to drive like a getaway driver.
And you know this. You have seen others do it, only to arrive at the same stoplight as them 10 minutes down the road. Self control is the name of the game here. Why risk speeding tickets or even worse, injury and damage to yourself or other people?
Music & Podcast
Listening to music or an audiobook or podcast, is another great way to improve your car journey. But make sure it is your music. This way you don't have to flip channels and get annoyed at the music the radiochannels are offering.
If you’re an Employer, How Should You Approach Making Your Employees Take A Long Commute?
As an employer, some interesting facts below when your employees have a long commute.
The University of the West of England found in a study conducted in 2017 that "every extra minute of commute time reduces job satisfaction, leisure time satisfaction, and mental health."
Ford Motor Company did a study of European commuters in 2015 that found 63% of people are late to work once a month due to traffic, and nearly all commuters leave for work early to avoid traffic jams.
In 2006, Daniel Kahneman led a study that found people feel more negative emotions during their morning commutes than any other activity they engage in the rest of that day.
In 2017, Mercer conducted a study that found people with longer commutes are more likely to suffer from depression, having financial concerns, reported feeling stressed by work, and....to be overweight and less likely to get seven hours of sleep every night.
And finally, in 2019, a study of Australian commuters, found that those with longer commutes took more unplanned absence from work than those with shorter commutes. And, those with shorter commutes were also more "relaxed, enthusiastic, calm and productive.
For many, commuting is a neccesseray evil to be endured in order to put bread on the table. But it needs not be the worst part of the day. By thinking through how you commute and maybe more importantly, how you would want to commute, you can turn it into a positive.
For many, the simple solution can be the electric kick scooter. If you don't have a very long commute and don't live in a place where there is a lot of rain, snow or other obstacles not suited for the e-scooter, it can be the next best thing to flying.
Simple, practical, fast cheap and fun is definitely possible thanks to the electric kick scooter.
They are here to stay and will be a part of how we move around for the foreseeable future.
Once you go kick electric, you won't go back.