If the rest of the world follows the example of the Swedish city of Gothenburg, the long commute and work weeks that many face may become a thing of the past. The year-long study will have one group of city employees working for 6.5 hours, while another works for the traditional eight hours a day. A car factory in Gothenburg has already experimented with this model with great results.
It is hoped that if other employees follow this model, it will result in greater efficiency and productivity, as well as a reduction in sick days. 3C Contact Services, the leading provider of outsourced call center services, feels that employers in North America could learn a lot from this model.
Unfortunately, employees aren’t lucky enough to live in Gothenburg and the average executive can expect to work up to 10 hours a day. And that doesn’t include their commute time, with commuters in the Greater Toronto Area, where 3C is located, typically facing an 80-minute commute to and from work every day—one of the longest commutes in North America! And even in other cities in North America, commute times can range from 20 to 45 minutes.
Gas prices will soon be twice what they are today. With more and more employees spending their limited budget on gas to commute to and from work, this will doubtlessly lead to more frustration amongst employees. And taking public transit can be an expensive prospect as well, not to mention the unpleasantness of overcrowded buses and trains.
The job market isn’t like it was 30 or 40 years ago, where if you lost your job on Monday, you’d have a new one by Friday. More and more job seekers are being forced to take jobs farther from home, which leads to spending more on gas or transit, and jobs with smaller wages. Many households report that they spend much of their budget on fuel and car insurance.
With more and more cars on the road, this leads to gridlock, road rage, and increased anxiety amongst commuters. Even taking transit doesn’t help, since buses experience this same gridlock and trains can break down or experience other issues. Taking a toll route, such as the 407 in the Toronto area, can save some time, but unfortunately, this takes a significant bite out of household budgets as well.
Most importantly, more time spent commuting means there’ less of a life/work balance, a mishandling of which can put a strain on families.
The year-long experiment involving city employees in Gothenburg only started in April 2014, so it will remain to be seen how it pans out. But with the car factory in the same city reporting positive results, 3C Contact Services believes that perhaps employers in North America should consider taking a similar approach.