Guest Blog: A good work-life balance means cutting the commute, not the hours - By Richard Morris - Regus

It’s official: we in the UK are working longer hours than ever before[1]. And while more hours at work don’t necessarily diminish people’s sense of well-being, what does matter is choice. All-important is the sense of having some flexibility over when, where and how long we work, allowing us to juggle work, family and leisure. We all feel better if we have some control over our schedules and time allocation.  

One of the most serious impediments to work-life balance is “time crunch”, a problem that the OECD referred to in its report on work-life balance.[2] It’s the feeling that there are not enough hours in the day, that you’re always running to catch up. Most of us know the feeling too well, but for a good work-life balance, time crunch should be occasional, not daily. 

One antidote to time crunch is to reduce time wasted. Time management courses help, but more fruitful is to cut commuting time. Instead of dragging staff into a central office every day, employers can help them explore options for working closer to home.  

Encouragingly, our research also revealed a rising awareness among employers of the benefits of cutting the daily commute, with nearly three quarters of those polled (73%) reporting that being allowed to work remotely had improved their work-life balance.  

The average commute in the UK is now 30 minutes a day each way,[3] but in some UK cities it can infamously be hours. Letting employees use work locations closer to home not only liberates more time for work or family, it also helps to reduce the stress and powerlessness associated with commuting – the minute-by-minute awareness of one’s time being crunched.

Richard Morris UK CEO at Global Workspace Provider Regus

[1] “Smart Business, Smart Surroundings,” Regus, 2015

[2] “How’s Life? Measuring Wellbeing”. OECD, 2011.

[3] “The Ideal Workplace Environment,” Regus. 2014.