Many employees are expected to return to the office this fall, which means a return to commuting.
Although the negative mental health impact that long commutes can have on workers has been cited in support of more remote policies, some companies are starting to make the opposite claim.
However, the question remains, why is there a need to commute?
“From a longer-term perspective, it’s more of, why do we need to commute, irrespective of the mode of transportation?” said Adam Segal, co-founder and CEO at real estate technology company Cove. “That’s lost time. Whether it’s bike, train or car, it’s still potentially time I’m not doing something else.”
Segal added that employees need an actual reason to commute when they return to the office after over a year of enjoying extra time in the mornings.
One way to address this is offering workers a middle-ground in the form of a workplace closer to their homes, or a hub-and-spoke model as it is known as.
In fact, analysis from real estate firm Redfin, indicates that there is increased demand for homes outside of cities, mainly due to the overall lower cost of living in these areas.
“The difficulty with hub-and-spoke is, it’s not usually about the office, it’s usually about the people,” said Kevin Kelly, executive vice president at Savills. “(At the spoke), you’re getting a minimal portion of the workforce. Yes, you’re reducing commute times, but you’re locating in a suburban geography with larger homes, which lends itself to more work-from-home.”