Spending more time with your loved ones and less in commuter travel has been found to boost not only personal but also professional relationships.
According to a study conducted by Regus, a global provider of flexible workplace solutions, one of the best gifts one can give a loved one is time spent with them.
“People around the world wish they had more time to devote to relationships and family. Meanwhile, employers want to boost workforce productivity. These two goals sound incompatible yet they are not,” says Alexandre Duffar, the Area Director East Africa for Regus.
“There are measures to reconcile the two – giving employees more flexibility over their schedules and offering them options for working closer to home,” he adds.
Referring to the fast-approaching Valentine’s Day celebrations as the best timing for this initiative, Duffar said:
“The time saved can help people find the perfect gift after research last year found that many people get it wrong when it comes to Valentine’s Day. According to the survey, there was a marked discrepancy between the present people intended to give and the one their partner wanted to receive. Only 20 per cent of people, for example wanted flowers. In fact, the best way to put a smile on the face of a loved one is to spend a little more time with them – not just on Valentine’s Day, but other times too.”
Duffar contends that a sharp increase in motor traffic on Kigali’s roads in the recent past means more time and money is spent on commuting by office workers and motorists.
“The rise in vehicle ownership in Rwanda has caused major traffic problems and most motorists are now losing about Rwf200,000 every month, because the time used to travel from Kisementi to Downtown has increased from 20 minutes to 40 minutes during peak hours,” Duffar says.
According to a recent survey of business people by Regus, 96 per cent of respondents said they preferred to spend more time with their families to commuting.
With less time and money spent on commuting, it leaves more room for romance and other important things in life, the survey showed.
Businesses that offer flexible work options register huge benefits, according to the survey.
Less time spent in the car was also found to have environmental benefits, with 47 per cent of correspondents holding that a shorter drive to work enables firms to reduce their carbon footprint.
Among the other negative effects linked to long hours at the office and lengthy commutes were; stress, loneliness, and exhaustion – factors that were all found to have a negative impact on both romantic and professional relationships.
A similar study in Sweden found that couples in which one partner commutes long distances to work are more likely to divorce.