Despite the rise in telecommuting and flexible working, a huge number of people (more than 40% of the total U.S. population!) have some form of commute each day, and the majority of those commuters drive alone to their jobs. With productivity and efficiency always top of mind for today's crunched workers, that can feel like a lot of wasted time. So what are today's workers doing to liven up their commute? We asked some of our customers for their personal commuting habits to see how to make the most out of the necessary evil of commuting.
The long haul
So how long are people spending in the car or on the train, exactly? The number varies, and even a short distance can mask a very long commute in terms of time. Some of our customers had commutes as long as an hour to an hour-and-a-half—which is even on the short side when compared to average commutes in cities like Los Angeles. So what do our long-haulers do to pass the time?
The most popular responses were to listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks, though some lucky commuters have a spouse or family member along, providing company for the ride.
How to make the long haul productive: Podcasts and audiobooks are actually a great way to turn hours of idle time into a fun or educational experience. Whether you're listening to the latest best-seller for pleasure or soaking up a professional podcast, these forms of entertainment can keep your brain sharp and flexible and your traffic temper tamped down.
Braving public transportation
In larger cities, public transportation isn't just the smart way to get to work—it's the only viable way to get to work. It also means dealing with other people in large numbers. "I take public transportation," says customer Michele R. "Crazy is pretty much par for the course." So how do users of public transportation cope with the crazy?
As it turns out, similarly to our long-haul commuters: with music and audiobooks. But one perk to public transportation that other commuters don't have? Several of our customers catch a little shut-eye on the train or bus!
How to make the most out of your train time: Podcasts and audiobooks are just as great of an option on the train as they are for your automobile commute. But letting someone else take the wheel gives commuters the opportunity to organize for the day ahead (or the next day) by creating to-do lists, prioritizing the coming day's work, or even tidying your inbox.
Just a quick jaunt
What about the lucky workers who have a relatively quick commute? Well, if your normally idyllic trip to the other side of town hasn't been completely thrown into chaos by the President's caravan (an experience several of our readers have had), then you can take it easy and be at work in no time, right? There are still good ways to spend that short amount of time.
For our quick-trippers, podcasts were still popular, and it sounds like there's a lot of in-car karaoke enthusiasts out there! That's a great way to inject some energy into your day!
How to turn a little time into a productivity booster: Short drives provide a great opportunity to get yourself prepared for the day, whether that's through listening to the morning news briefs so you know what's going on or whether it's swinging through the drive-through to get a cup of coffee (one of our favorite productivity tools), no moment is wasted in the search for the productive day!
There are many other ways to make your commute productive, and for some, it's seen as a time to unwind, reset and refresh—and that's also a great way to keep you ready to go when it's time to be on the clock! Check back soon for the second half of our commuter blog, where we address some of the (uh-oh) crazier things that happen when you're just trying to make it to work on time and in one piece.