Based on my own experience with the joy that is the New York City subway system, schlepping to and from work can easily be the most exhausting part of the day. I’m not alone in this.
According to multiple studies that examine the impact of commuting on workers’ wellbeing, journeying to work is the antithesis of a good time. It eats into time we could spend cooking, working out, sleeping and connecting with friends and family, which helps explain why longer commutes increase the likelihood of all sorts of sad outcomes, from divorce to health issues.
In the face of this sensible commute-aversion, however, is a select subgroup of the population that actually likes it, at least according to a survey administered by the Canadian government. Based on those numbers, 38 percent of commuters reported that they enjoy commuting. Astoundingly, 3 percent said commuting was the best part of their day.
In a recent article, The Atlantic takes a closer look at these commute-loving freaks. Here are a few takeaways:
Having a car helps. Public transit is stressful, but then again so is traffic. Still, according to the survey, the ability to drive to work improves the chance that you’ll like the experience. While 39 percent of drivers said they enjoyed their commutes, only 23 percent of workers who took public transit reported the same.
A high-level of self control is a booster. A recent study suggests individuals with lower levels of self-control are more mentally drained from commuting than their more self-controlled peers. The Atlantic spoke with Jon Jachimowicz, one of the study’s lead authors, about this phenomenon. He hypothesized that in part, this is likely because individuals with higher levels of self-control use their commutes to plan for the work day ahead. Those with lower levels, meanwhile, use the commute to zone out or listen to music. Therefore, when they get to work, they’re unprepared and the whole day gets off to a less-than-great start.
Biking (or walking) to work trumps all. It’s weird that some people, even if it’s only a sliver of the population, actively look forward to their commutes, right? Yes, it is, although this phenomenon makes far more sense once you consider that for some lucky individuals, commuting means walking or biking to work. The Canadian government survey backs this up: 19 percent of workers who biked to work designated commuting as the most enjoyable part of their day, vs. 2 percent of drivers.
All of which begs the question -- what do these numbers look like for someone who takes a ferry to work? A ski-lift? A private jet?