It’s no secret—no one likes a long commute. According to recent studies, long commutes are more than a nuisance; they’re harmful to our productivity and our health. And in New York City, where the average journey from home to work is over 40 minutes, countless workers experience the strain.
If most or all of your employees endure a long NYC commute, your business may face hidden costs that impact its bottom line. But when armed with the right knowledge, you can make sensible choices for your employees and company.
How your employees’ NYC commute impacts your business
There’s a common misconception that commuter considerations and perks are characteristics of progressive companies and startups. That’s far from the truth. Here are three reasons why companies of all sizes and industries should prioritize short employee commutes when deciding where to open an office in New York City.
Here are three reasons why companies of all sizes and industries should prioritize short employee commutes when deciding where to open an office in New York City.
1. You’ll lose the battle for top talent
To recruit and retain top talent, you need an easy commute for your employees. A staggering 41 percent of respondents from a Paychex survey admitted that they left a job because their work commutes were too long. What’s more, a separate study conducted by TheLadders found that 47 percent of job seekers are more inclined to apply for a position with “a convenient, easy commute.”
If your next office location is situated in a neighborhood notorious for rough commutes, you should calculate the potential cost of employee churn, recruiting, and new talent onboarding before signing the lease.
Some reports say the cost of replacing a salaried employee can be as much as twice their pay. It’s even more expensive for executive-level talent; from recruiting to hiring, it can cost up to 213 percent to replace an executive.
2. Sitting in traffic will make your employees far less productive
The 2019 Urban Mobility Report analyzed traffic patterns and conditions across hundreds of American urban cities. The report found that long commute times cost the U.S. $90 billion per year in lost productivity. What’s more, less productive employees are more likely to disengage from their work, which can cost your business around 34% of that employee’s salary.
On the other hand, astudy by VitalityHealth, the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe and Mercer, found that those who commuted to work in 30 minutes or less gained around 168 hours (or seven days’ worth) of productive time every year.
Although the average NYC commute is a little over 40 minutes, the high volume of public transportation options can help your employees reclaim their time and boost their productivity. Interestingly, an NRDC study found that people prefer to commute via public transportation than driving.
If it’s impossible for you to eliminate your workforce’s lengthy NYC commute, consider looking at office spaces that are near main NYC public transportation hubs.
3. You’ll pay more for employee health care
Long commutes can create a myriad of physical and mental health issues, including high blood pressure, back problems, and depression.
The numbers are staggering. In VitalityHealth’s study, they found that those with long commutes suffer from physical and mental health issues far more than those with shorter commutes. For instance, “33 percent [are] more likely to suffer from depression, 37 percent [are] more likely to have financial worries, 12 percent [are] more likely to report multiple aspects of work-related stress, 46 percent [are] more likely to get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, and 21 percent [are] more likely to be obese.” And that’s even before you consider other factors, such as the increased exposure to pollution.
33 percent [are] more likely to suffer from depression, 37 percent [are] more likely to have financial worries, 12 percent [are] more likely to report multiple aspects of work-related stress, 46 percent [are] more likely to get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep each night, and 21 percent [are] more likely to be obese.Vitality Health
With businesses typically covering around 70 percent of employee health care costs, an increase in doctor visits, procedures, and prescriptions may result in higher expenses for your company.
Commuting to popular Manhattan neighborhoods
New York has one of the largest subway systems in the world, so employees who are commuting from New Jersey or Queens won’t have a hard time getting into the city. Though eliminating a long commute for your entire team is ideal, it may be unrealistic in your case. As we mentioned earlier, Americans overwhelmingly despise traffic and would prefer to take public transportation when it’s convenient.
With that in mind, here are some commuting options to consider if you open your office in one of these popular Manhattan neighborhoods.
Silicon Alley: Silicon Alley encompasses neighborhoods around the southern part of Manhattan. Tech, finance, and professional services companies typically open shop here. Because Silicon Alley has some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in NYC, major subway and bus lines weave through these neighborhoods.
Financial District: Many of the financial institutions are located in the aptly named Financial District. The Wall Street stations service those working in or near the New York Stock Exchange while the Fulton Street Subway Station runs directly to the very end of Lower Manhattan. The New Jersey PATH train and several ferries that service Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Jersey City make it easy to commute to and from this area.
Midtown: While some smaller agencies have taken flight to downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, most of the bigger agencies are still in Midtown, whether it be on Madison Avenue or farther west. Commuting to the west side can be tricky since most of the trains don’t run as close to the Hudson River as some commuters would like. Still, the crosstown buses on major streets, such as 34thSt or 42ndSt, provide better commuting options.
There is also now service by the 7 train which helps those commuting west of 8thAvenue with entrances on both 34thStreet and 35thStreet.
This, of course, is just scratching the surface. But in general, the NYC commute is easier than most other major areas in the U.S. because of its robust public transportation infrastructure.
Finding office space in New York City
Understanding the commuting experience in and around New York City will make choosing the best office location for your employees much easier. There’s a lot to gain from prioritizing an easy commute, but a lot to lose if you don’t.
If you’re considering opening your new office in New York City, WeWork office spaces are a great choice. WeWork offers dynamic office solutions with locations across the city and located near major transportation hubs to alleviate your team’s NYC commute concerns.