What is a Reasonable Commute to Work?

what is a reasonable commute to work

How is My Commute Home

Oh, commutes! Unfortunately, not everyone can (or wants to) work from home so a good majority of us have to deal with some kind of commute to work. But, what is a reasonable commute to work?

There are several factors to look at when making a decision about a potential job, with your overall commute being an important one. Here’s our take on what a reasonable commute to work is. 

Why Does the Length of the Commute Matter?

There are a countless number of reasons why your overall commute time to and from work matters. 

It doesn’t just mean you have to head out to work earlier than you normally would. It might also mean that a chunk of your paycheck goes to fixing your car or that you miss your kids evening soccer game because of the time it takes to get back home. The list goes on and on!

What is a Reasonable Commute to Work?

Generally speaking, we believe that driving (or riding) for anything less than 30 minutes is a reasonable commute time to work. 

That’s only an hour out of your day which will give you 15 hours to work with outside of a typical 8 hour workday (plus the 1 hour of commute time). 

Any longer than that and you are starting to tread into a work/commute schedule that will eat into your everyday life and begin to take a toll on your health.

How to decide if a specific commute is right for you

1. Look at the price-to-pay ratio

First and foremost, you have to consider the amount you’re being paid against how much you spend fueling and maintaining your vehicle (or other transportation expenses).

If you’re only making $12 an hour, accepting a half-hour commute is a bad choice. By the time you calculate the amount of gas you have to buy each day, the higher frequency of tire replacements, oil changes, and other maintenance tasks, you’ll notice that you’re spending way more than you should just to get to work. 

On the other hand, a job that is paying considerable wages, let’s say $35 an hour, will pay for a half-hour, or even an hour-long commute. You can also lower your commuting costs by purchasing a vehicle with better mileage or asking for transportation assistance when they offer you the job. 

2. Look at how long your shifts are 

Unfortunately, you can’t look at your commute as personal time; although, employers want you to. It is time spent going to work, and it should be seen as such. 

So, how long is your shift? If you have a 15-minute commute for a standard 8 hour shift, that’s just 8 ½ hours you’re spending on work (not including prep time such as getting dressed). However, if the commute is an hour long, you’re now spending 10 hours on work. 

If you are only working part time (half days) it’s even more important to calculate how long that total time on work will be.

This is a personal choice you have to make based on how much you value your time, but we wouldn’t recommend traveling for more than half an hour for even a high-paying job. 

If a job is truly paying a lot of money, it might be worth moving closer if at all possible. For low-paying jobs, ten to fifteen-minute commutes are where we would suggest drawing the line.

“The average one-way commute for Americans is 27.6 minutes. New York City, NY, has the longest average commute time in the U.S. at 34.7 minutes. Since 1980, the average American commute time has increased by 27% (From 21.7 minutes to 27.6 minutes). The average American commutes 41 miles a day to and from work.”

— Zippia

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Wrapping Up | Work Commute

While remote work has become a more popular choice for employers today, many still have to head into the office making this a tough decision they have to weigh out. 

It’s not as simple as saying “don’t accept more than a 15-minute commute”. There are a number of factors that have to be considered. How much is the job paying compared to what you’re spending on fuel and maintenance? How long are the shifts once you arrive? Etc.

Ideally, you’ll want a job that gives you the best of both worlds; something that pays well, but you don’t have to travel too far to get there. 

Start by taking stock of the opportunities in your local area and try to find a position that pays well enough to support the life you want while also keeping your commute to a minimum.

We hope this helps and wish you the best of luck in finding that perfect job close to home!

Title: What is a reasonable commute time to work?

Category: Job Search

Tags: what is a reasonable commute to work, how is my commute to work, how is my commute home, what’s my drive time to work, acceptable distance to travel to work, drive time to work

Co-Author: Becky is a contributor for theJub. She’s a writing and talent acquisition specialist who loves to apply her skills through creative writing and editing.

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