No one likes long work commutes. They’re a waste of time: there’s so much more important stuff you could be getting on with. They’re expensive: you can’t earn any money while you’re commuting yet it’s still part of the job. And they’re boring: there are only so many mornings you can spend reading, listening to music or playing on your phone before the monotony grinds you down.
You might think work commutes are just one of those parts of life that you have to accept. But they’re not. There is an alternative that will save you time, money and frustration.
The average commute time is 27 minutes
According to the decennial Census and the American Community Survey, the average American spends just over 27 minutes travelling to work then another 27 minutes going home. That works out at a staggering nine days a year spent on the road.
It’s common for RDHs to work multiple shifts at different practices. If you work a morning shift in one practice then an afternoon shift in another, it’s likely you spend even more time on the road than the average commuter. Just think about what you could do with all that time wasted over the year.
You could spend it on an exotic vacation, having fun with your family or becoming a better RDH to improve your work opportunities. There are countless more enjoyable or productive ways you could spend that time.
You don’t have to group all the minutes together over the course of a year to see how pointless long commutes are. There are plenty of better ways you could even spend those minutes each morning.
Imagine a world where it only takes you ten minutes to get to work instead of almost half an hour. With that extra 20 minutes each day, you could improve your health by doing an early morning workout instead of rushing to the bus stop. You could nourish your body with a leisurely breakfast at the table with your family instead of forcing down a granola bar as you jump into your car. Or you could spend that time working and earning money instead of just spending it on travel.
How commutes affect your life
You might be surprised that your work commute affects parts of your life beyond your morning routine. A study carried out by the University of West England revealed that increasing your daily commute by just 20 minutes has the same negative impact on job satisfaction as receiving a 19% pay cut.
Just think how devastated you would be if you lost almost ⅕ of your salary. That’s exactly how you’d feel if you had to travel to a dental practice an extra 20 minutes away for work each day. The negative impact doesn’t plateau after the 20-minute park. Every single minute spent commuting resulted in a lower rating of job satisfaction and leisure time. This means the longer you travel to work, the less satisfied you are with your work and personal life.
It’s not surprising, really. The longer you spend commuting to work, the less time you have to spend socialising and looking after yourself. A study carried out on 34,000 workers discovered that people with long work commutes are 33% more likely to be depressed, 21% more likely to be obese and 12% more likely to suffer from work-related stress. Considering that many dental hygienists find the job to be stressful, it’s wise to keep your commute down to a minimum.
Chris Bailey, a person involved in the study, explained that when people are short of time and are forced to choose between work and a healthy lifestyle, they choose work. If someone is struggling to pay the bills, taking the time to exercise, meet up with friends and eat right isn’t going to keep the lights on.
The study also revealed that 37% of people with long commutes are more likely to have financial worries. This is likely a result of the increased transport or gas prices associated with having to travel further. Some people are happy to travel further if they’re going to get paid more. But you need to take into consideration the costs of getting there to see if it’s financially worth it.
You can choose how long your work commute is if you take control of your career and become an independent contractor hygienist. Cloud Dentistry understands how no one wants to spend any more time on the road than they need to. And to help you find lucrative local positions, there’s a feature in the platform that lets you look for dental work within your area.
You can choose your starting point then set a radius of how far you’re happy to travel to discover the available opportunities which tie in with your requirements. With almost 13,000 dental practices listed on the website, you’ll have a great selection to choose from, no matter how far you’re willing to travel.
The longer to travel to and from the dental practice, the more tired you are and the less time you’ve got to spend helping people with their oral health. If you drive to work, staying focused on the road will zap your mental energy, leaving you feeling groggy when you arrive at the practice. Even if you take public transport to work, it’s likely you spend your commute scrolling through your phone or thinking about work, two activities which will also drain you mentally and mean you can’t perform at your best when you arrive at the practice.
Do yourself and your patients a favor — keep your commute down to a minimum. This way you’ll have more time to spend looking after your wellbeing so you can help your patients take care of theirs.