By Cindy Krischer Goodman
Carla Vertesch winces when she speaks about the day she left work later than usual and endured nearly two hours of traffic.
Late to after-care, she found her daughter in tears, last child remaining. Her daughter begged her never to come that late again. The next day, Vertesch went into her office and negotiated an arrangement to leave work earlier, giving her a two-hour window for a commute that should take 45 minutes.
With clogged highways and a rebounding economy, commuters are once again negotiating with bosses and changing jobs to cut back on the time they spend on the road.
According to transportation consultant Alan Pisarski, as of 2014, the average American spends 25.8 minutes each way driving to work, but at peak hours and on congested roadways, most of us find it takes double or triple that time. For those who battle traffic, the commute to work has become an increasing factor in work/life satisfaction.
Research shows that the longer a person’s commute, the more profound the effects on personal well-being and life satisfaction.
Spending hours in a car, day after day can be a drain on productivity and happiness. To improve work/life balance, attorney Patricia Ferran looked at her options. “Driving an hour each way made my day feel longer, and I wanted more free time,” she says. In her job for a year, Ferran set out to find a new one, narrowing her choices to law firms who were hiring at similar salaries and were within 10 miles of her home. She also searched for law firms with cases mostly in area courts. She found one about 10 minutes from her home: “Now I can sleep more and go out at night with friends because I’m not as tired.”