Adopting a flextime commuting program may help reduce employees' stress.
Commuting to work is an unavoidable part of many people's job. Unfortunately, an employee's daily commute to work can be a source of significant stress. This stress can in turn cause real problems with employee attitude, absenteeism and health. To help combat these problems, some businesses have adopted a flextime program. Flextime is a program that allows for flexible starting and quitting times. Thus employees on a flextime program avoid rush hour traffic by coming to work earlier (or later) and leaving earlier than (or later than) the normal quitting time. Although this program would seem to help alleviate commuting stress for employees, no research has actually tested the program's effectiveness. Therefore, two researchers designed a study to test whether flextime is effective at reducing employees' commuting stress.
What was the research about?
The study involved 123 full-time employed commuters from
. The researchers chose Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta
residents because Atlanta has the
longest average commute (34.7 miles) of any city in the world; making it a very
stressful city to commute in. All of the
participants completed an online survey that measured how much stress they felt
during their commute, how much time urgency they felt during their commute, and
how satisfied they were with their commute.
The researchers then compared responses between participants who were
taking part in a flextime program and those who were not. The results showed that participants taking
part in a flextime program reported feeling less stress and less time urgency
during their commute. There was no
difference, however, in how much satisfaction both groups felt with their
Why should it matter to me?
If commuting to work is a source of significant stress, then you may want to look into trying a flextime program. Although this program means adjusting your work schedule, the reduction in stress may be worth it. Alternatively, if you are a manager who is worried about employee stress due to commuting, a flextime program may be worth considering.
Source: Lucas, Jennifer, & Heady, Ronald B. (2002). Flextime commuters and their driver stress, feelings of time urgency, and commute satisfaction. Journal of Business and Psychology, 16, 565-571.