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Short Employee Commutes and the Bottom Line

Employee Commutes

According to the U.S. Census Bureau the average employee commutes 25.4 minutes each way to work.

Why paying attention to the length of employee commutes can pay big dividends.

Looking for new office space? If so, you’ve probably spent a good deal of time compiling your wish list—from square footage and budget to corporate image and zip code.

But there’s another important factor that employers may overlook when searching for new office space:   the length of employee commutes. The fact is, daily commute times can affect employee satisfaction, corporate recruitment and retention efforts, and your company’s carbon footprint.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American commute is 25.4 minutes. Here in the Capital Region of NY, employee commute times average 17.4 minutes, although our region’s workforce commutes from as far as the Adirondacks, the Hudson Valley, western Massachusetts—and beyond. Employee commutes have become increasingly important to businesses nationwide for lots of reasons.

Shorter, easier employee commutes make for:

Happier employees

The less time your employees spend battling traffic and inclement weather, the happier they are. Studies show an employee’s commute has a huge impact on their mental and physical health, which can affect work quality. In addition, a long or expensive commute leaves an employee with less disposable and discretionary income, which may make employees feel unsatisfied with their pay.

More productive employees

Who pays for your employees’ missed workdays? In many cases, you do. And if you have to pay overtime or hire a replacement to ensure that an absent employee’s work gets done, you might even pay twice. In addition, long or difficult employee commutes can increase absenteeism and tardiness—and decrease your bottom line.

Happier employers

As if decreased employee absenteeism and increased productivity weren’t enough, shorter employee commutes can also boost your company’s recruitment and retention efforts. A long or difficult commute has been shown to increase corporate turnover rates and can dissuade prospective hires from accepting employment with your company.

A healthier planet

Looking to fulfill corporate sustainability initiatives or reduce your company’s carbon footprint? Locate your company in a central, easily accessible location. According to Stanford University’s carbon emissions calculator, a 25.4-mile commute generates more than 4,000 pounds of CO2 emissions a year*. When your company is near a bus line, train stop, or major roadway, you help employees get to work faster and take advantage of sustainable transportation options.

Before you scout your next office location, solicit input from current employees so you don’t risk losing them in the move. Consider conducting a brief employee survey to assess your employees’ commuting concerns. You might even map employee addresses to get a big-picture view of commute distances. However you determine your next move, it pays to be mindful of the time your employees spend commuting.

To see centrally located, easily accessible commercial properties here in the Capital Region of NY, give The Anderson Group a call. Contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or



* Varies by vehicle make and model.


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