User Friendly Commuting

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By the end of the day I am tired, distracted, and I just want to get home! If everyone else is feeling like me, I have to imagine that rush hour is the most dangerous time to be on the road. In fact, HR Zone says,

Accidents peak in the evening rush hour – car users are at most risk of being killed and injured between 4 and 6 pm than at any other time during the week

This article from HR Zone (more exerpts below) suggests employers try to eliminate the negative impact of everyone working the “9-5″ by staggering work times and having employees work from home for part of the week. I have even heard of employees working 10 hour days to eliminate an entire day of commuting.

“The additional burden of having to commute in the dark could be the ‘straw that breaks the camel’s back’.

“There is another way. If employers will allow a level of smarter working they may well see an improvement in staff wellbeing, and even an increase in productivity.”

“By signing up to commute smart day, employers will not only be helping their staff stay safe, they will also be doing their bit to protect the environment and will be giving their staff greater control over their working lives by offering them more choice over the hours they work.”

The benefits of smarter working are not only for the staff themselves, Work Wise UK says it will also have a beneficial knock-on effect of reducing traffic congestion and public transport over-crowding by extending the rush hour, reducing peak demand.

Kevin Clinton, RoSPA head of road safety, said: “The clocks going back signal an increase in road accidents. Deteriorating weather conditions combined with dark evenings mean bad news for road users and pedestrians. We support commute smart day as it aims to reduce the need to travel, ultimately cutting down on death and injury on our roads at this particularly dangerous time of the year.”

“The need to work from nine to five, five days a week, is an anachronism in this modern 24/7 global world: there is no need for it,” said Flaxton.

“The realisation of the damage our working patterns are causing the environment further underlines the need for us to have a workplace revolution so that we can minimise the impact of human activity on the environment.

I agree with the points made here. At the same, I’m not sure how much difference it can really make. There is only so much flexibility in when to fit in an 8 hour work day, and sooner or later everyone needs to get to and from work. The danger of staggering work times is that it will create perpetual rush hour (which is already starting to happen in overcrowded metro areas). I’m not sure what the solution is here. More money spent on trains and light rail would be a good start.