In a story appearing on the Personnel Today website, researchers with the University of West England (UWE) assert that with the advent of the smartphone, the commute should be considered as part of the workday. It is because of better access to Wi-Fi on trains that workers are using their travel time to handle work tasks.
The research conducted by UWE canvased approximately 5,000 participants who used rail travel in the UK. The findings of the study were presented at the Royal Geographical Society on August 30th.
For many of those surveyed, they view the commute time to deal with work issues so that they can get a head start on the day. This also ensures that they can actually relax when they return home. Dr. Juliet Jain from UWE is particularly interested in tracking how this type of work time might be tracked as it becomes more the norm rather than the exception. “It may ease commuter pressure on peak hours and allow for more comfort and flexibility around working times”, Jain said. She also voiced concern that it may also mean more surveillance of worker accountability and productivity by employers in the end.
According to Jamie Kerr, parliamentary affairs officer for the Institute of Directors seemed to agree with Dr. Jain and the UWE researchers. “This increasing flexibility has the potential to radically shift the work-life balance for the better,” he said, “but it also leaves open the door to stress and lower productivity.” When workers are at work and when they knock off for the day is bound to become more flexible as the world of work continues to change may require a bit more accountability and research on workers and employers alike.