One year and seven months.
Remember that number. It’s important. That is how long the average British worker spends commuting over the course of their lives.
Perhaps you think that, spread across a lifetime, that number isn’t actually too bad. We’re not sure - it works out at 108 minutes spent commuting every day. That’s longer than Casablanca, or the first Terminator film. It’s a very long time to spend doing something that workers routinely describe as ‘the worst’ part of their day.
Commuting can be uncomfortable, tiring, soulless, and sweaty. It takes a mental and physical toll, and does little to contribute to work-life balance which is the most important reason why people stay in their current job.
Alongside the human cost, there is also a financial one: on average, a commuter will spend £135,000 over the course of their career.
Unsurprisingly, workers are now pushing back against having to commute and demanding flexible working. Flexible working can accommodate a whole range of definitions, but is mainly associated with working flexible hours or working from home; in both cases avoiding rush hour madness. Across the world, 70% of professionals work from home at least once a week.
Issues with working from home
Despite skeptical colleagues labeling this as ‘shirking from home’, working from home can raise productivity by 13% - almost equivalent to a whole extra day of work.
But, as anyone who has worked from home knows, there are significant downsides to it. At-home workers report feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is probably linked to the fact that the number of interactions we have per day determines how much we feel part of a community.
It is also difficult to have a sense of separation between work and home life when the physical spaces overlap. Because of concerns about looking like they are shirking, many at-home workers actually work longer hours than their colleagues in the office - in one survey, 1 in 4 at-home workers never took a lunch break.
In many cases, the negatives of working from home outweigh the benefits. One experiment studied employees working from home for nine months. Despite increased productivity (which, in this case, led to an increase in pay), and the removal of the dreaded commute, at the end of the study, half of the at-home workers chose to come back into the office simply because they felt lonely working at home.
Coworking Spaces as a Solution
En masse, corporates are turning to coworking as a way of giving workers what they want, from a sense of community to a workspace that fits their working needs
But the main reason for this shift is because flexible workspaces enable more flexible working. It’s a way of allowing workers to work remotely but still have access to a supportive community and an official, designated workspace.
But remember that one year and seven months? The almost two years of their lives that people waste through commuting? The simple existence of coworking and flexible workspaces can’t combat that all by themselves. In our eyes, the benefits of these spaces are greatly reduced if it still involves a two hour commute each day. It’s bad for people, it’s bad for organisations and it’s bad for the planet.
Added to this is the fact that everyone is not the same; different spaces will suit different people and meet different needs, while some environments will work better for certain jobs than others. The variety of the coworking market matches the variety of different people. But how is one employer supposed to tap into this diverse market?
But what if you could access all that variety easily? What if employers could offer workspaces near to their employees so they didn’t have to commute unnecessarily? What if you could see all the different workspaces in one place?
Desana brings together lots of different workspaces from big flexible workspace operators to independent co-working spaces. This network of workspaces is then made available to employees so that they can access the places that suit their needs. Desana gives employees easy access to lots of coworking spaces but organisations only have to deal with one invoice.
Our mission at Desana is to change the way the world works. Everything we do is underpinned by that one aim. We believe in coworking spaces because we believe that they offer the best solution to the problems of modern working life, but our ambition is greater than that. We want to give people back that year and seven months of their lives. By giving them this time, we hope they’ll be better rested, healthier and be able to do the things that they love with the people that they love. They might even get time to watch Casablanca.
If you are interested in finding out more about how Desana works, get in touch.