Is your commute driving you crazy? Here is one creative solution


No one likes sitting in a traffic jam, but turns out a long commute to work affects more than just your sanity – it kills productivity and engagement. Here’s how one company solved this issue.

Did you know that most Australians spend 151 hours a year sitting in traffic? And that’s not even the worst of it. According to GPS company TomTom, in the time you spend during your commute, waiting to roll forward a few metres, you could be earning an average of $3310.

This is a growing issue for many Australians – two million people now spend an average of 90 minutes a day commuting to and from work. This number is up from 1.3 million in 2002.

Why it’s good to be flexible

What would you rather do with the time you spend getting to work? What if you could work flexibly to avoid sitting in peak hour traffic? Turns out, the time it takes employees to commute to work actually has a huge effect on how long they will stay at a company.

One company trying accommodate staff commute times is IT firm Unisys. According to a recent internal poll, one in three Unisys employees commute for more than an hour to get to work. In response, the company has introduced a new model of flexible work in which employees are required to work a minimum of three days a week in the office between core hours of 10am to 3pm; the rest of their hours can be worked remotely or flexibly. More than 60 per cent of employees say skipping rush hour traffic is the greatest advantage to their flexible working scheme.

“Four years ago the focus was on ensuring our staff that had children and family obligations had the ability to manage those commitments,” says Tony Lehner, senior director of HR, Unisys Asia Pacific. “Fast forward to today and flexible work has evolved because staff want to be more productive.”

Since the policy was implemented, 71 per cent of Unisys staff say that the flexible work model offered is one of their main reasons for staying with the company. 

The right mix of flexibility and collaboration

“We’ve worked out a model that suits working in a big city and works for the business and employees,” says Lehner. “We know that there is value in working both remotely and in the office; staff get the freedom to manage their own time, but they still have opportunity to connect and collaborate with their teams.”

5 tips for a successful flexible work policy to support your business: 

  1. Ask your employees: Find out what frustrates them or what they value and use that as a starting point. Make them part of the solution and continue this communication to address changing needs or issues.
  2. Trust your colleagues: Respect that others might choose to work different hours to you; shut down negative chatter immediately.
  3. Manage teams and individuals by outcomes: Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking more hours spent at a desk equals greater productivity.
  4. Managers set and lead the team culture: Demonstrate what behaviour is or isn’t acceptable.
  5. Encourage productivity, not long hours: Encourage individuals to be self-disciplined. Employees shouldn’t be working long hours for the sake of it. Be sure to take down-time – and let your colleagues have down time, too. 
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Is your commute driving you crazy? Here is one creative solution


No one likes sitting in a traffic jam, but turns out a long commute to work affects more than just your sanity – it kills productivity and engagement. Here’s how one company solved this issue.

Did you know that most Australians spend 151 hours a year sitting in traffic? And that’s not even the worst of it. According to GPS company TomTom, in the time you spend during your commute, waiting to roll forward a few metres, you could be earning an average of $3310.

This is a growing issue for many Australians – two million people now spend an average of 90 minutes a day commuting to and from work. This number is up from 1.3 million in 2002.

Why it’s good to be flexible

What would you rather do with the time you spend getting to work? What if you could work flexibly to avoid sitting in peak hour traffic? Turns out, the time it takes employees to commute to work actually has a huge effect on how long they will stay at a company.

One company trying accommodate staff commute times is IT firm Unisys. According to a recent internal poll, one in three Unisys employees commute for more than an hour to get to work. In response, the company has introduced a new model of flexible work in which employees are required to work a minimum of three days a week in the office between core hours of 10am to 3pm; the rest of their hours can be worked remotely or flexibly. More than 60 per cent of employees say skipping rush hour traffic is the greatest advantage to their flexible working scheme.

“Four years ago the focus was on ensuring our staff that had children and family obligations had the ability to manage those commitments,” says Tony Lehner, senior director of HR, Unisys Asia Pacific. “Fast forward to today and flexible work has evolved because staff want to be more productive.”

Since the policy was implemented, 71 per cent of Unisys staff say that the flexible work model offered is one of their main reasons for staying with the company. 

The right mix of flexibility and collaboration

“We’ve worked out a model that suits working in a big city and works for the business and employees,” says Lehner. “We know that there is value in working both remotely and in the office; staff get the freedom to manage their own time, but they still have opportunity to connect and collaborate with their teams.”

5 tips for a successful flexible work policy to support your business: 

  1. Ask your employees: Find out what frustrates them or what they value and use that as a starting point. Make them part of the solution and continue this communication to address changing needs or issues.
  2. Trust your colleagues: Respect that others might choose to work different hours to you; shut down negative chatter immediately.
  3. Manage teams and individuals by outcomes: Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking more hours spent at a desk equals greater productivity.
  4. Managers set and lead the team culture: Demonstrate what behaviour is or isn’t acceptable.
  5. Encourage productivity, not long hours: Encourage individuals to be self-disciplined. Employees shouldn’t be working long hours for the sake of it. Be sure to take down-time – and let your colleagues have down time, too. 
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