Are Southern California bosses doing enough to cut stress, cost of nation’s ‘longest’ commutes? – Daily News

on Nov18
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Instead of moving Southern California jobs to where housing is more affordable, or building more homes near the region’s employment hubs, how about using more non-traditional work arrangements to ease a host of stress creators?

No metro area in the nation had more office workers lamenting a commute that was “too long” than those in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to a new poll. But a tandem study of local employers suggests bosses are making only “average” responses to this nationwide workplace challenge.

Pollsters for the Robert Half employment agency found 65% of local office workers polled said their commute was “too long,” the biggest share among 28 cities studied. But this “longest” commute wasn’t just about the time spent, apparently. The survey found an average L.A.-O.C. commute of 53 minutes, No. 9 of the 28 regions.

The key variable seems to be the tension created by going to work. Local commuters rated the stress level of their trips as 6.1 on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being most stressful. That ranked No. 4 among the 28 regions surveyed.

Bosses, modest help

What’s most surprising within all the getting-to-work data is that L.A.-O.C. bosses look roughly typical in their efforts to fight this major employee headache, if Robert Half’s polling of employers is correct.

Survey results show 43% of L.A.-O.C. bosses allowing flexible scheduling to help workers avoid high traffic times. But that’s only a mid-range 15th out of 28 cities studied and equal to the 43% found nationally. Can’t more be done?

Yes, 35% of local bosses allow telecommuting to cut down on trips to the office. But that share, too, isn’t so great: It ranks No. 20 of 28 and below the 40% found nationally. And another poll found L.A.-O.C. workers are the nation’s No. 1 fans of working out of the office.

L.A.-O.C.’s implementation of other tools that can cut commuting’s pain also rank roughly middle-of-the-pack, odd for a place with well-above-average transportation challenges and anxieties.

The poll shows 27% of bosses connect employees interested in carpooling (No. 12 of 28) vs. 26% nationally; 19% subsidize parking costs (No. 8 of 28) vs. 18% nationally; 18% subsidize fuel costs (No. 6 of 28) vs. 15% nationally; 12% offer fuel delivery services (No. 21 of 28) vs. 13% nationally; and 11% provide shuttles to and from public transportation (No. 26 of 28), well below the 18% found nationally.

Thus, knowing how bad local commutes can be, you can see one reason why 50% of L.A.-O.C. workers say they’re severely burnt out — worst in U.S.

Pricey commutes

Don’t forget commuting stress hits the wallet, too.

The folks at LendingTree looked at commuting and employment data for 100 major U.S. cities to gauge daily to-and-from work costs as measured by wages made by those commuters. Basically, how much you could have made if you weren’t stuck in traffic.

And by this math, Irvine residents suffer the fourth-costliest commutes among the nation’s largest cities: an annual cost of $9,818 for an average daily trek of 26.8 minutes, the 34th longest commute of the 100 big cities tracked.

Yes, Irvine’s median income is $80,944, third-highest nationally, putting that lofty commuting cost at 12.1% of paychecks citywide and ranking it the 28th biggest financial burden among the big cities.

Still, the median results from the Top 100 cities: $4,692 annual cost for a 24.7-minute commute. Commuting costs in these big cities run 11% of a $42,721 median income.

Then look at Southern California. Riverside’s $6,079 annual commuting costs were 14.6% of citywide incomes — the nation’s eighth-largest burden. In Los Angeles, a $6,108 annual cost was 14.5% of citywide incomes — the ninth-biggest burden.

Long Beach’s $6,515 annual cost was 14.1% of local incomes — the No. 13 biggest burden out of the 100 largest cities. Anaheim’s $5,200 cost was 12.6% of incomes, the No. 21 burden. Santa Ana? $3,927 cost was 12.2% of income — No. 27 burden.

These costs help explain why many Southern Californians will spend their hard-earned cash on congestion-fighting options like toll roads. Or environmentally friendly vehicles that allow solo drivers carpool-lane access. Or take the region’s limited mass-transit options.

Otherwise, local workers may be losing money getting to wherever they make money.

 



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