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Why driving to work may drive you to quit

Traffic moves along 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan in January. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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When it comes to making a decision about where you work, pay and benefits rank high on the list. Seems commute time is also a deal breaker.  According to a recent survey from global staffing firm Robert Half, nearly a quarter of workers interviewed quit their jobs because of a grueling commute. 

More than 2,800 professionals were surveyed in 28 U.S. cities, with workers in Miami, New York, San Francisco and Chicago most likely to leave a job over a tough journey to and from work. Eighteen- to 34-year-olds have most often left a job due to the commute, and men are more likely to say bye-bye to a gig than women if getting to work becomes, well, work.  

There is some good news. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said their commute had improved in the last five years. Workers in Miami, Los Angeles, New York and Charlotte noted the greatest improvement. But there was a good chunk — 22 percent — of those surveyed who said their commute had worsened in the last five years, especially in Seattle, Denver, Austin and San Francisco.

And then there’s the question of what employers are doing to help with commute times. More than half of respondents who reported a decline in commuting conditions also said their place of work has done little to alleviate to-and-from-work woes. With the U.S. unemployment rate  at an 18-year low of 3.9 percent, Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, said inconvenient commutes could be a challenge for retaining talent:

“In today’s candidate-driven market, skilled workers can have multiple offers on the table. Professionals may not need to put up with a lengthy or stressful trip to the office if there are better options available.” One of those options, McDonald said, is working from home. 

Working remote is on the rise among full-time employees, according to Upwork’s Future Workforce Report. Nearly 63 percent of U.S. companies now have remote workers, and more than a third of full-time employees will work remotely within the next decade. Still, the report found that most companies don’t have remote work policies.

“Companies that refuse to support a remote workforce risk losing their best people and turning away tomorrow’s top talent,” Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel said in a press release.

So the next time you’re stuck on a long commute, use the time to think about the email you’ll send to your boss outlining why your plan to work from home will save the company money in the long run. 

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