NFI Research Result: Commuting to Work

Chuck Martin

Almost half of executives and managers listen to news/talk radio during their daily work commute.

The majority (71%) of senior executives and managers spend up to an hour a day commuting to and from work. Forty-one percent commute less than half an hour and 31 percent commute between a half hour and an hour.

Business leaders spend the majority of their time driving (81%) to and from work. Besides driving, the top things in which they do while commuting are listening to news/talk radio (47%), thinking (36%), listening to music radio (32%) and using a phone (31%).

Senior executives have a shorter commute to and from work than managers. Twenty-one percent of senior executives commute more than one hour compared to 37 percent of managers. More senior executives listen to news/talk radio and more managers listen to music radio. 

Those working in large and small companies spend similar times commuting to work. The majority spend their time driving, listening to news/talk radio and thinking. Of those working in large companies, 21 percent spend their time listening to audio books compared to 12 percent of those in small companies.

An earlier study about commuting to work that we conducted in 2007 showed similar results.

On a typical workday, I spend the following total amount of time daily commuting to and from work:

0-30 minutes 39.5%
31-60 minutes 31.1%
1-2 hours 21.6%
2-3 hours 5.4%
3-4 hours 1.8%

I spend my time commuting (check all that apply)

Driving 80.8%
Listening to radio (news/talk) 47.3%
Thinking 35.9%
Listening to radio (music) 31.7%
Using a phone 30.5%
Listening to music 24.0%
Listening to audio books 14.4%
Email (reading/writing) 9.6%
Talking 9.6%
Using a handheld device 9.6%
Relaxing 8.4%
Reading 7.2%
Working 6.6%
Listening to podcasts 4.8%
Sleeping 4.2%
Texting 4.2%
Writing 1.8%

Select responses from NFI Research members:

  • “I usually take a train that allows me to talk, read, think, work, or write. When I occasionally drive, I listen to the radio or think.”
  • “I go to/from work at earlier/later than normal commute times.  This time is very important for planning, thinking, getting prepared for work in the morning and for relaxing and changing my state of mind to return to my family in the evening.”
    Thank you for your input!
  • “Rather than think about work (before I get there), I use my commuting time listening to music I enjoy so that I can relax.  This helps me deal with the stress of the work day.”

Chuck Martin is CEO of NFI Research and author of SMARTS
Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.

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