Commuting Just 20 Minutes To Work Leads To Exhaustion And Burnout, Study Finds

While most people say they hate their long commute to work, a new study has found that travelling for just 20 minutes a day to the office can lead to professional burnout as well as exhaustion.

In the study, the exhaustion referred to both the physical or emotional kind, as well as noting a heightened cynicism towards work and the world in general.

The severity of the burnout obviously depended on a number of factors, including distance, mode of transport, and location of the workplace.

The study, carried out in Canada, looked at data relating to just under 2,000 people who commuted to work, all aged between 17 and 69.

One of the people involved with the study, Dr Annie Barreck, of the University of Montreal, told reporters, “A correlation exists between commuting stress factors and the likelihood of suffering from burnout.”

She added that the level of burnout also very much depended on the mode of transport used, noting that BMI levels were also directly related.

As Dr Barreck said, “But their importance varies according to the individual, the conditions in which their trips take place, and the place where the individual works. For people travelling by car, the bigger the city, the more stressful the commute. People commuting towards rural areas, or even suburban areas, feel less stressed out.”

Another interesting statistic was the fact that drivers are less likely to get stressed out than passengers, “Carpooling reduces the passenger commuters’ sense of control, which causes them more stress before they have even arrived at work,” said Barreck.

She added that, “Public transit implies bus or train connections, and as rural regions are less well served, the risk of unforeseeable and uncontrollable delays is increased, causing stress that is carried over into the workplace.”

At the same time, the study suggested that even cyclists are at risk of burnout, despite all the exercise they get, mainly due to the ongoing feeling of insecurity. As Dr Barreck said, “Cyclists in the suburbs have a lesser sense of control than cyclists in the city. Cyclists and walkers in the city have access to safety features such as cycle paths and pedestrian crossings, which increases their sense of control over their commute.”

According to Dr Barreck, the onus is on employers to make the lives of their staff more bearable and less stressful.

Barreck concluded, “Managing employee commuting flexibly would increase employee efficiency and moreover enable organisations to attract or retain workers. In the current context of skill shortages, employers have everything to gain from facilitating the mental health of their employees.”

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