People who commute for 30 minutes or more each day are more likely to feel stressed both at work and in their personal lives, new research has found.
This is according to private health firm VitalityHealth and suggests that people who work from home, such as limited company contractors, freelancers and other self-employed individuals, could be less likely to be stressed than their office-based counterparts.
Commuting and stress: What's the link?
VitalityHealth worked with scientists from the University of Cambridge, Mercer and RAND Europe to explore the impact that commuting had on workers' health, finding that people who spent an hour or more getting to and from work each day were 12 per cent more likely to report feelings of work-related stress.
Workers with longer commutes were also 33 per cent more likely to suffer from mental health issues such as depression compared to their counterparts who had a commute of under half an hour.
In fact, it was found that those who can get to work in less than 30 minutes could increase their productivity levels by the equivalent of seven days every year.
These findings therefore demonstrate that lengthy commutes can be detrimental to workers' performance, as well as their mental wellbeing.
Shaun Subel of VitalityHealth commented: "These results demonstrate the significance of the daily work routine in influencing individuals' health and productivity.
"Allowing [workers] the flexibility to avoid the rush hour commute where possible or fit their routine around other commitments can help reduce stress and promote healthier lifestyle choices and, importantly, this is shown to actually impact positively on productivity."
No commute, no stress?
As a result of the research findings, it is evident that erasing the commute from an individual's working day could significantly reduce their stress levels, and improve their overall wellbeing and productivity.
Limited company contractors, freelancers and other self-employed people who work from home are therefore in an ideal position to be more productive than their office-based counterparts, surely?
This can be the case, but it takes a certain level of self-discipline to be as productive as they can be.
There are more distractions at home than in the office, for example, and with no set routine or home time, people who are new to this way of working can find themselves carrying out work-related tasks at all times of day and night, increasing their stress levels as a consequence.
But by trying to come up with a proper working routine, as well as creating a workspace within the home that is free from distractions, limited company contractors can experience the full, stress-free benefits of not having to commute to and from work each day and can subsequently be more productive.
Why else are limited company contractors less likely to be stressed than traditional workers?
Workers who are made late due to delayed buses or overcrowded trains often find themselves having to make up time during their lunch hour or after work, meaning they don't get a proper break, which can increase their stress levels further.
Limited company contractors don't have this worry and can spend their breaks however they like, such as by catching up on housework, meeting friends, going to the gym or taking a stroll around their local park, all of which can leave them feeling refreshed with new motivation ready for their next few hours of work. This can also provide a boost to mental wellbeing, potentially helping to prevent the onset of stress and depression.
When it comes to the running of their limited company, there is also plenty of support and advice available to limited company contractors to help reduce their stress levels even further. PayStream's My PSC accountancy service provides help and advice to limited company contractors, ensuring that their limited company is being run in the most tax-efficient way while staying on the right side of HMRC. It also helps with the admin that's involved in running a limited company, giving workers access to an extra safe pair of hands.