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1 in 4 Korean Workers Spend over 90 Minutes for Commuting
Average Commuting Time -- 62 Minutes
One in four Korean workers are stuck in the bus or subway for over 90 minutes for everyday commuting. Average commuting time is 62 minutes and there are even 8% of people who commute for 2 hours a day.

This result was from the survey that Regus, a global workplace solutions provider, had proceeded on 15,000 business contacts in 75 countries between February 2010 and March 2010 about commuting time and related variables.

According to Regus, long-distance commuting is still the norm in spite of progress in flexible working practices such as home-working. The respondents who answered that their commuting time took more than 90 minutes were 20% globally and 23% in Korea. It was analyzed that 21% and 11% respectively in UK and the USA were belonging to this long-distance commuter group. Particularly, the rate appeared to be higher for big city residents – two in ten commuters in big cities such as New York and Boston commute more than 90 minutes between home and workplace.

In the meanwhile, the top three countries with high respondent rate for over 90 minutes of commuting time were India 26%, China, 31%, and Japan, 32%. On the other hand, the countries with the lowest rate were Germany, 16%, Spain, 12%, and Canada, 8%.

Commuting time and related economic cost;
Cost burden increasing in proportion to commuting time
Further pain commuters are forced to face is in the cost of travel. Indeed the survey result shows that Korean workers with higher response rate on over 90-minute commuting time are appeared to waste much more time and expenses for commuting compared to UK and USA.

Regarding the question about the proportion of commuting cost within the yearly salary, on average 7% of commuters globally spend 10% or more of their salary on commuting. Looking at it by the country, in the USA the average spend for commuting is 2.5% of yearly salary and 2.9% in the UK, but it was exceptionally high at 4% in Korea. Nevertheless 13% of respondents in USA, 12% in the UK and 15% in Korea spend over 5% of their yearly take-home salary to fund their commute. Also, 6% of respondents in the UK and 8% in Korea spend more than 10% of their salary for commuting. San Francisco is the city where the smallest number of respondents (2%) spend 10% or over of their salary on commuting.

For instance, to quantify the commuting cost of a Korean worker who spends more than 10% of his/her salary assuming yearly take-home salary of ₩40,000,000, the worker spends over ₩330,000 a month and ₩15,000 a day (based on 260 working days).

Commuting time and related health problem;
Declining health concerned due to long-distance commuting
In addition to time and cost burdens, long-distance commuting significantly affects health status of workers. With medical research indicating that long commuting-induced stress can be responsible for raised blood pressure, musculoskeletal disorders, increased hostility and adverse effects on cognitive performance. According to an article The Argus of the UK, the stress of commuting reported to be reducing life expectancy of Brighton and Hove inhabitants by a whole year. This means much effort to reduce commuting-induced stress for healthier life is required.

Effort to reduce time, cost and stress
Within the context with this, the “SmartWork” program propelled by the Korean government recently is estimated as a positive alternative to reduce economic and physical harms induced by long-time commuting. The program allows people to work freely by working at home or mobile working or working at dedicated smartwork center. For the companies without the ability to implement its own smart work center, they can alternatively consider to outsource the office to workplace solution providers. It is expected to reduce the economic and physical harms while significantly improving work efficiency by building flexible working environment in terms of time and place at such perfect facilities.

Jessy Takashi Kure, Vice President North Asia, pointed out, “As traffic congestion in cities, particularly in developing nations, increases, it is disappointing to see that too many workers are still jamming the roads in the rush hour when they could be spending their time more enjoyably or more productively elsewhere.” He advised, “To tackle the damaging effects of commuting on staff health and morale, savvy businesses are introducing more flexibility in their working practices. And as a part of such effort, case of utilizing workplace solutions are getting more increased that allow their staff to work closer to home. Remote working and flexi-time can provide a much needed break in the weekly commuting routine and also translate into office space and maintenance savings.”

About Regus

Regus is the world’s leading global provider of innovative workspace solutions, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios. Regus delivers a new way to work, whether it’s from home, on the road or from an office. Clients such as Google, GlaxoSmithKline, and Nokia join thousands of growing small and medium businesses that benefit from outsourcing their office and workplace needs to Regus, allowing them to focus on their core business.

Over 650,000 clients a day benefit from Regus facilities spread across a global footprint of more than, 1000 locations in 450 cities and 85 countries, which allow individuals and companies to work wherever, however and whenever they want to. For more information please visit:
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Press contacts
Desiree Park

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