In a survey of over 2,000 British workers by recruiter Randstad, the number of employees who work while they commute has risen from 4.8% in 2008 to 7.5% in 2013.
18% of British workers feel that the development of smartphones and tablets has made it easier for them to work while they travel, should they want or need to. But one in ten (9.2%) say that new technology has increased the pressure on them to get work done on their journey to and from work.
While working on a laptop, smartphone or tablet is how 7.5% of Britain’s workforce spend their time on their journeys to and from work, listening to music is by far the most popular commuting activity. Nearly a third (31.6%) of commuters listen to music on the radio while a quarter (25%) listen to their own music while travelling, while 7.1% use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Mark Bull, UK CEO of Randstad, said: “Time is the vital currency of commuting: how much of it you spend—and how you spend it—reveals a great deal about how much you think it is worth. Many commuters choose to relax and unwind from work while travelling in order to maximise their work/life balance, however, a growing number of savvy Brits are using their commute to extend their working day and become more productive.
“In a tough economic environment, employees are under pressure to demonstrate their value to their employer and committed high-flyers are out to impress. This is manifesting itself as more employees work outside normal hours while they’re commuting. The growth of new technologies such as smartphones and tablets means it’s easier than ever to work around the clock. Our analysis shows the average Brit already feels they’re spread too thin by having to work the equivalent of a six and a half day week. Working on the move looks like a smart way of using downtime to increase productivity and improve your work / life balance to get home as soon as possible rather than staying in the office longer.”
The research also found the average British worker commutes for a total of 41 minutes each day and has to travel a total of just under 17 miles on their daily trip to and from work. British commuters are spending marginally less time (2.3%) on the move than they were before the economic downturn began to take hold. In 2008, the average British commute took a total of 42 minutes each day.
The car is Britain’s favourite method of transport of choice when it comes to commuting. 53% of Brits use a car to get to and from work. The train, underground or tube is the next most popular with 10.6% choosing this method. The bus is the third most popular with 10.2%.