The journey to work - exploring difficulties, solutions and the impact of ageing

A study was conducted in the UK, as part of the New Dynamics of Ageing Working Late project, of the journey to work among 1215 older workers (age groups 45-49, 50-55, 56-60 and 60+). The aim was to identify problems or concerns that they might have with their commute, strategies that have been adopted to address them, and the role that employers can play to assist them. Follow-up interviews with 36 employees identified many strategies for assisting with the problems of journeys to work, ranging from car share and using public transport to flexible working and working some days from home. Further interviews with a sample of 12 mainly larger companies showed that employers feel a responsibility for their workers’ commute, with some offering schemes to assist them, such as adjusting work shift timings to facilitate easier parking. The research suggests that the journey to work presents difficulties for a significant minority of those aged over 45, including issues with cost, stress, health, fatigue and journey time. It may be possible to reduce the impact of these difficulties on employee decisions to change jobs or retire by assisting them to adopt mitigating strategies. It does not appear that the likelihood of experiencing a problem with the journey to work increases as the employee approaches retirement; therefore, any mitigating strategy is likely to help employees of all ages. These strategies have been disseminated to a wider audience through an online resource at www.workinglate.org.