Nearly six months ago, the coronavirus pandemic halted normalcy as we knew it, forcing most Americans to say goodbye to the routines that had rooted their days for so long. The sudden and drastic nature of the pandemic’s onset made most of these goodbyes low-spirited, as physical interactions amongst coworkers became non-existent, the resources of the office were off-limits, and all things physical were forced virtual. Since March, cancellations and postponements have been frequent, expected, and often followed by some feeling of despair, all except perhaps one: the cancellation of the daily commute.
A 2019 survey made one thing very clear: people hate their commutes. In fact, Americans are so displeased by their daily commute that 22% of surveyors would elect to be single for a year, and 14% of D.C.’s drivers would receive an unwanted tattoo if it meant eliminating their drives to and from work. When the average American wastes $1,400 in idling gas money while sitting in an average of 42 hours of traffic each year, it is no surprise that 49% of Americans resent the daily drive. Thus, you might imagine the merriment of most Americans when the novel pandemic eliminated commutes overnight, making gridlocked mornings and evenings a thing of the past.
While most people are pleased to inch closer to a post-pandemic world, the commute is one element that 32% of Americans would like to leave in the past. However, your post-pandemic commute might be the most painless of them all as trends are accelerating and emerging to create a future commute that is less congested and safer for both you and the environment. Here are the top three changes to anticipate in your post-pandemic commute:
FLEXIBLE WORKING PRACTICES
The rigidity of the 9-5 office job was beginning to see cracks even before the pandemic, as flexible working trends began to slowly take shape. A global study by Weston Williamson & Partners showed a 2-5% decline in commuting before the pandemic, as 60% of professionals already worked partially from home or adjusted their schedule to commute after rush hour. Furthermore, a survey by Deloitte cited that flexibility in terms of scheduling and location was the third most important attractants of young workers in 2018. These flexible working practices will accelerate exponentially after the pandemic, as most companies will prioritize de-densifying their office spaces for a safer return to work. Flexible practices might include allowing employees to adjust their working schedules to allow for a more socially distant commute on public transportation and into the office, void of a rush-hour gridlock.
Furthermore, the remote-working policies that have been created or expanded due to the pandemic will likely stick. It is estimated that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. Time at the office will still be vital – teams thrive when co-located – but opportunities for partial remote work will likely be seized. As a result, there will be less of a rush hour as more workers will adopt different start and end times; plus, more remote working opportunities will result in fewer vehicles on the road.
CLEANER & MORE FREQUENT PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
Public transportation in the post-pandemic world will be safer and more accessible than ever. In fact, Washington D.C.’s Metro service is finalizing the largest service change in its 44 year history to accommodate more trains, more stations, more buses, and more hours. In short, public transportation services will likely exceed pre-pandemic levels, giving commuters more options than ever before to ride. Beyond the point that public transportation is much less of a super-spreader of the coronavirus than originally believed, your post-pandemic commute will be cleaner than before. Most public transportation systems are sanitizing more frequently with stronger cleaning agents than before and will continue to do so even in the post-pandemic world. With an increase in service and cleaning, expect your post-pandemic rides on public transit to have more options, more space, and more sanitization.
A NEW ROUTE
Your post-pandemic commute might not only be shorter and cleaner but might take on an entirely new route altogether. Lauren Gilchrist, Senior Vice President at JLL, predicts companies will “consider satellite office strategies [and] additional suburban locations.” Working remotely does not strictly equate to working from home. Consequently, a post-pandemic world will see more companies looking for a flexible office space solution that will allow for drop-in style remote working at a satellite office. Especially if metropolitan employees choose to move out of dense urban communities, companies will likely follow their employees. Instead of having a single large office, companies will begin to utilize multiple smaller offices with more of them in suburban locations.
If you were one of the many Americans with a dreaded morning commute – fear no more. With more locations to work from, more work schedules, and more public transit options, your post-pandemic commute will be safer and more accommodating than before.
Who knows – your post-pandemic world might just lead you to a WaveOffice location, offering flexible office space. With move-in ready suites and no long-term commitments, WaveOffice provides companies an instant office solution with the flexibility needed for success in the post-pandemic world.
For more information about WaveOffice, contact Tim Whitebread, firstname.lastname@example.org.