“Road Wage” Survey Shows More Than 5,000,000 Employed Adults Have Called Into Work Sick Because They Could Not Face Commute

(Graphic: Business Wire)

CHELMSFORD, Mass.--()--A new survey commissioned by The Workforce Institute™ at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by Harris Interactive reveals that more than 5,000,000 employed American adults have called into work sick because they couldn’t face their commute1. The survey examines how Americans commute to and from work; how their commutes impact their job satisfaction; and what they’d do if they didn’t have to spend so much time in the car.

News Facts

  • Four percent of adults who commute to work have called in sick to work because they couldn’t face their commute. These kinds of unscheduled absences cost organizations 8.7 percent of payroll each year as discussed in a recent survey conducted by Mercer and sponsored by Kronos®.
  • Few adults who commute to work – just six percent – are paid for the time they spend commuting.
  • Round-trip commuting times vary, but most take less than hours with 45 percent of adults who commute to work spending less than 30 minutes; 32 percent spending 30-59 minutes; and 16 percent spending one to less than two hours.
  • Everyone has their nightmare commuting story. Seven percent of adults who commute to work said their longest commute clocked in at five hours or more; 30 percent said it was more than two hours; and 31 percent said it was one to less than two hours.
  • For many adults who commute to work – 48 percent – commuting has a significant impact on job satisfaction, and 32 percent said they took the commute into consideration when they chose their current job. Fifteen percent said they would change jobs to shorten their commute, and 11 percent feel their commute negatively impacts their work-life balance.
  • Only 14 percent of adults who commute to work have the option of working from home, but among those who don’t have this option, 27 percent said they feel that given the necessary technology, they could do so effectively.
  • Despite various initiatives to encourage more environmentally friendly commuting practices, the vast majority of adults who commute to work – 83 percent – still travel to work by car alone. Eleven percent use public transportation; 10 percent walk; and nine percent carpool.
  • The radio is still king when it comes to commuting. Seventy-six percent of employed adult commuters listen to music on the radio or their own listening device. Twenty-two percent enjoy the quiet time; 18 percent talk on the phone or text; and 11 percent talk to their fellow passengers. Only seven percent of people read a book or magazine, while four percent do work.
  • If they didn’t have to spend time commuting, the vast majority of adults who commute to work would be in bed. Fifty percent said they would sleep later; 42 percent said they would relax; 33 percent said they would spend time with family; and 28 percent said they would exercise.

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute, Kronos®

“Managers should be mindful of the time their employees spend commuting as our survey shows it has a significant impact on job satisfaction. Where possible, putting policies in place to allow employees to travel during non-peak hours or work from home can increase employee satisfaction without a negative impact on the bottom line.”

  • John-Anthony C. Meza, vice president, Workforce Readiness, Corporate Voices for Working Families

“When you have people who are commuting to work for two, three, or four plus hours, that is a lot of unpaid time spent in transit. Choosing a job where the commute is minimal can lead to greater job satisfaction and also enable the employee to spend more time with their family, pursue higher education, or any number of other things that lead to a better work-life balance.”

Supporting Resources

Survey Methodology

This “Road Wage” survey was conducted online within the U.S. between March 2 and 4, 2011 among 2,042 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,077 commute to work, by Harris Interactive on behalf of Kronos via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About The Workforce Institute

The Workforce Institute was founded by Kronos Incorporated in 2006 as a think tank to provide research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute's research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit www.workforceinstitute.org.

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is the global leader in workforce management solutions that enable organizations to control labor costs, minimize compliance risk, and improve workforce productivity. Tens of thousands of organizations in 60 countries — including more than half of the Fortune 1000® — use Kronos time and attendance, scheduling, absence management, HR and payroll, hiring, and labor analytics applications. To learn how Kronos uniquely delivers complete automation and high-quality information in an easy-to-use solution, visit www.kronos.com.

© 2011 Kronos Incorporated. All rights reserved. Kronos is a registered trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

1 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics March 4, 2011 Employment Situation Summary which shows total nonfarm payroll at 128, 999, 000 (not seasonally adjusted): http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm

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Kronos Incorporated
Laura Souza, 978-947-4777


Kronos Incorporated
Laura Souza, 978-947-4777