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Companies hit by commuting stress

Workers are lacking energy and motivation at work because of the stress of using public transport, report finds

COMPANIES need to do more to help workers deal with the stress of commuting, a report has found.

The study, based on interviews with staff and human resources directors, said French firms tended to consider commuting as private time and therefore ignored it as a work-related stress factor.

Human resources and risk management firm Technologia said firms needed to realise that the daily struggle on public transport had a severe impact on productivity and motivation.

The report found some Paris workplaces imposed a culture of fear on staff by forcing them to be at their desk at a certain time. Employees surveyed said they left their home with hours to spare to allow for delays and overcrowding on the RER train network - and they arrived at work tired and angry.

The study concluded that companies should be more flexible about arrival times and should promote car-sharing schemes where possible.

Public transport providers should all provide real-time journey information on their website so that employers can check delays for themselves and workers do not have to justify their late arrival each time.

Companies that move offices should look at journey times before deciding on a new location and should discuss remote working from home with any staff inconvenienced by the move. Firms based in areas that are poorly served by public transport should club together and put on a shared shuttle bus service for workers.

Technologia is also calling for government work health and safety body INRS to set up a special taskforce looking at the impact public transport has on stress.

A separate report out today has warned of a growing number of cases of repetitive strain injury among office workers.

Government health watchdog INVS said 40,000 people a year are treated for work-related back, neck, wrist and elbow pains - at a cost to the
social security system of €800m. Many people with early stages of RSI do not seek medical attention.

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