Extreme Commuting

I just saw a segment on "Sunday Morning" about extreme commuting and how long and/or complicated commutes sap employees' productivity.

Does anyone on the Forum have employees with extreme commutes who cannot telework due to the nature of their jobs, and do you think it has any affect?  What about in the winter months?

Would you knowingly hire someone who has a two-hour commute each way?

Can you legally ask applicants about their commute?


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • This is a hard question. At what point do you dictate to an employee what they can and can't do with their own time. So long as they are working the hours and getting the work done ..... Personally, commuting 4 hours a day would take too much of a toll on my health and personal life, but I would want it to be my decision!

  • I have spent my time with huge commutes myself.  I loved it because I could plan my day, think things through on the way to work and evaluate the day on my way home.  I am in agreement with Barbie, it should be the employee's decision.  There are no legal barriers that I know of that prevent questions regarding commuting time.  I would avoid direct discussions regarding where an employee lives.

  • Barbie has a valid point.

    If I had an applicant for a nonexempt job who obviously has a long or difficult commute, I would work our tardiness policy into the conversation during the interview so they could see that excessive lateness could be a problem here.  Then it would be the applicant's decision whether to pursue the job.

  • I agree with DRJOETTE about avoiding questions about where an employee lives, length of commute, etc.  Asking about those kinds of things can lead to unwanted info about child care or elder care arrangements that are close to home.  I do think it's a good idea to bring up tardiness and expectations for attendance in addition to discussing the company's position on flextime (if there is any!).
  • The company I work for relocated last year. The new location is slightly over two hours away from the original location.  The company relocated many of us but there are two employees who could not relocate and made the decision to commute.  They are service technicians so they are unable to telecommute.  The impact of them commuting is severe.  They are both now habitually late, the absenteeism level is higher in the 9 months at our new location than the previous two years combined.  If they have a personal appointment they will take the whole day off instead of extending their lunch or using one hour of PTO or similar. It also seems that if an employee has a runny nose or headache they are a lot more likely skip work all together rather than sit in traffic for two hours.  Of course I don't know that to be a fact, but that seems to be the tendency.  The focus has shifted from beat the competition to beat the traffic which is unfortunate.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

     I think legally all you can do is ask if there is any problem with keeping the hours that the company works, maintain a company policy regarding attendance and consistently apply throughout.


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