With average commuting times continuing to increase around the U.S. each year, it's no surprise that more employees are looking more closely at how they can live closer to their work. A recent survey by Randstad US and Apartment Guide uncovers what factors most impact the decision to live near work.
Millennials in particular (69 percent) say they would quit working for a great employer if their location moved, their commute was significantly affected and they did not allow telecommuting/remote work options (57 percent of all those surveyed would).
More than one-third (37 percent) of employees admit that a longer commute means they spend less time on activities like going to the gym, seeing friends or family and hobbies. And more than half of 18 to 34-year-olds say this is true for them.
A long commute also limits socializing after work, with almost one-third (30 percent) often skipping work events that extend after hours because of a long commute. Younger workers do this even more, with almost half (47 percent) of 18 to 24-year-olds indicating a commute lessens their chance of hanging out after work.
Chris, a Boomer, explains why she chooses to live near her office:
“I've always lived close to work. It's a quality of life issue for me. A 10-15 minute commute versus 1-2 hours can relieve much daily stress, as well as provide more family and leisure time."
Distance to work isn't likely as much a factor as the traffic density and time it takes to make the commute, so checking Waze or other tools that estimate time with traffic at a certain time of day (like morning or evening rush hour) is often key when searching for your new apartment.
Erin, a Millennial renter, shares:
“I do not think distance is important, as long as your commute is something doable for you. For example, if I had to sit in traffic to go one mile, I would hate it. But my commute goes against traffic, so it is a breeze for me."
Commutes can add a lot of stress to employees' lives, especially for younger workers. In fact, 42 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds say their current commute negatively affects their mood and productivity at work.
Outside of the stress, there are also safety issues often associated with long commutes as well. Many people feel they need to use their commutes to respond to messages or emails so they don't fall behind on work.
A startling 20 percent of employees said they've gotten into a car accident while performing work duties (on the phone, answering an email, texting a colleague or boss, etc.) during their drive home. This figure jumps to 33 percent for Gen Z workers.
An increasing number of employers continue to embrace telecommuting and flexible work schedules to help employees reduce stress from commuting and time spent getting to and from work.
More than half (57 percent) of Americans surveyed said it's important to them to live in close proximity to their work, specifically to lessen their environmental impact or carbon footprint. Slightly more females (61 percent) and Millennials (68 percent) said this is something they agree with when picking a place to live.
While most employees prefer to live near work, the increasing cost of living and high rent price tags in many urban areas mean that some people can't afford to be quite so close to their office.
Almost one-quarter of employees (24 percent) say they live further from their jobs because they can't afford to live nearby. This is nearly double for Gen Z workers (18 to 22-years old) with almost half (43 percent) having to find a place to live further away because they need cheaper rents to make their budgets work.
Many people also have to take on roommates in order to afford where they live.
Many factors play into finding the right place to call home, so weighing the pros and cons of paying less for a longer commute are important when trying to find the right rental. Location and housing type are two factors that renters are least likely to compromise on in their search.
Research findings are based on an OmniPulse survey fielded by national polling firm Research Now on behalf of Randstad US and Apartment Guide. The survey was fielded from April 8-12, 2019. It included 1,211 employed people between the ages of 18 and 45+ who are either homeowners or renters of a house, room or apartment and a nationally representative sample balanced on age, gender and region.