The Commute: A Secret Priority

When we interview candidates we will often ask them: “What are the 3 most important things in your next job?” They rarely include the commute. I guess it seems petty. It makes them seem like they are not a career-minded, driven professional. Such considerations are for candidates that are less committed. It would be kind of like saying, “I don’t want to get up too early,” or “I don’t want to work too hard.”

If you get to know that same candidate for a little while they will often confide in you: “I don’t want to commute more than X minutes each way.”

Disclaimer: It has been years since I have commuted to work. When I started my business I worked from my home office for a couple of years before taking an office two miles from my house. I ride my bike to work.

Anyone that has spent two hours a day in the car knows the deal. It is the worst possible type of unproductive down time.

The train is no bargain either. I have friends that swear that they love their train ride because they read or listen to music. Bullshit. I was on the Long Island Railroad for years. I understand the need to make the best of things, but nobody really loves the train.

I suppose that there could be a job out there that would warrant a big commute… I just can’t imagine what that job could be. Pro surfer? Center fielder for the Mets?

There is a big opportunity for companies that recognize this. Employee retention, satisfaction and productivity can all be improved by allowing (even encouraging) flexible schedules and work from home options.

Employees that work from home 1-2 days a week are much less likely to jump ship to a company that does not offer this option.

I would say that roughly 40% of the companies that we represent offer some kind of flex / work from home option.

Since the focus on improved productivity and lower expenses are not likely to decrease in the years ahead, the smart money says that this will become even more prevalent.


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