The commute to work: pros and cons of commuting

Jan 19, 2024

Employee cycling during their commute to work.

You’ll soon see the benefits when you view your commute to work as a buffer between your work and personal life. Taking this time out of your day to focus on yourself will improve your health, add routine to your day, and give you more time to invest in your interests.

But some forms of transport are better suited to a healthy daily commute than others.

In this article, you’ll learn how to make the most of commuting to work.

💡 Companies that use Bolt Business can pay for employee travel in the Bolt app. Find out how to get management approval for Bolt Business.

What’s the average commute to work time?

The average commute time to work in Europe is around 23 minutes (one way) and 46 minutes in total. 

Across Europe, workers in Cyprus spend the least amount of time commuting. Meanwhile, the longest commutes are in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the UK. 

Here’s a list of the average commute time to work across European countries:

  • Cyprus: 19 minutes
  • Czech Republic: 27 minutes
  • Estonia: 20-23 minutes
  • France: 26 minutes
  • Germany: 26 minutes
  • Italy: 21 minutes
  • Lithuania: 20-23 minutes
  • Malta: 26 minutes
  • Netherlands: 27 minutes
  • Norway: 27 minutes
  • Portugal: 21 minutes
  • Slovakia: 20-23 minutes
  • Spain: 25 minutes
  • Sweden: 26 minutes
  • UK: 27 minutes

The average length of the daily commute is very similar in Africa, too:

Commuting time can significantly impact your daily routine, so always consider this when you apply for a new job or move home.

💡 Bolt Business is available in all of the countries listed above. If you want to reduce the time you spend commuting, and invest more time in yourself, download the Bolt app and create a Work Profile.

What’s the cost of commuting to work?

Unless you walk, commuting to work will hit your daily finances on varying levels. 

Depending on your mode of transport, you may have to pay for:

  • Fuel;
  • Public transport tickets;
  • Parking fees;
  • Rental fees for micromobility or car-sharing;
  • Tolls. 

Most of the above relate to driving. And if you drive to work, you’ll also need to factor in maintenance costs, repairs, and depreciation — although a car allowance may help to cover these costs. 

Many people see the cost of commuting to work as a necessary financial burden. In the UK, the average worker spends £3,454 on their commute yearly (€4,013). And in South Africa, the cheapest form of transport for the commute is by train (€28). The most expensive commute method is driving a car (€28-€106) — roughly €1,272 over a year. 

Rather than accepting these expenses, it’s worth looking into how you can reduce your outgoings. 

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Spend some days working from home (if your role allows you to do this);
  • Park further away from the office and walk;
  • Log how much you spend commuting to work.

By commuting to work with a Bolt Work Profile, you can track how much you spend on your daily commute. Having visibility of your outgoings makes it easier to see how you can save money. 

6 benefits of commuting to work

When you view your daily commute as an opportunity, the benefits it can bring to your professional and personal life increase.

1. Time for yourself

Only some people get the chance to separate themselves from the distractions of work and home life. But commuting to work is an opportunity to invest some time in yourself. But when you look at your commute from a new perspective, you might start looking forward to your commute. 

2. Add routine to your day

A daily routine allows you to develop healthy habits, increase productivity, and plan your day more wisely.

3. Use the time to develop a healthy lifestyle

Making more time for yourself and adding routine to your day feed into a healthy lifestyle. Rather than thinking of your daily commute as lost time, you can:

  • Take an active commute for exercise;
  • Listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks;
  • Read a book, magazine, or newspaper.

4. Separates your time between work and home

Commuting time is sometimes called a ‘liminal space’ where you’re not at work or home.

Having this time before and after work, free from commitments, gives you time to prepare for the working day or decompress on your way home. 

5. Collaborate and socialise with colleagues

Whether you and your colleagues walk, get a work taxi, or ride the same train together, there are considerable benefits to commuting with others. 

Getting to know the people you work with outside of your workplace brings you closer on a personal level. And this can lead to new ideas and chances to collaborate at work. 

6. Supports your mental health

As you’ve seen, you can turn your commute to work into an opportunity to make time for yourself. And this is great for your mental health. 

Turning your commute into a buffer between work and personal life gives you more time to decompress. And using the time to read a book, listen to a podcast, or get active, will increase your sense of fulfilment.  

Bolt Drive rental packages

3 downsides of the daily commute

Many of the downsides to commuting to work are associated with driving. As you’ll now see.

1. Set your alarm earlier

Commuting to work, as opposed to working from home, means getting out of bed earlier — especially if you have a longer commute. Or if you want to beat the traffic. 

2. May drain your finances

When you drive to work, you must pay for fuel, insurance, and parking. Then, in the long term, you’ll have to deal with maintenance, repairs, and depreciation. 

Walking or riding your own bike saves you from these expenses.

3. Congestion

The daily commute may be a drain on not only your financial expenses but also your time. 

And sitting in traffic is often listed as one of the worst parts of commuting. 

In one sense, it’s only a problem if you drive. After all, you’re sitting in a car, unable to go anywhere. But all these vehicles — often only carrying a single occupant — delay commuters travelling by bus.

While walking and cycling may take longer than driving (in some cases), your commuting time remains consistent — after all, your journey time doesn’t depend on the level of traffic.

Pros and cons of a long commute to work

You have a long commute if your daily commute goes over an hour. And that means you’ll potentially experience some different pros and cons.

Pros of a long commute to work

If you’re happy travelling a long distance to work, then you can experience more benefits than if you were to travel a shorter distance:

  • More time to invest in yourself;
  • More time to switch off after work;
  • Potentially saving money if your workplace is in an area with a high cost of living;
  • You can choose from more places to live.

Cons of a long commute to work

Over a year, your commuting time will add up, and this can lead to some downsides:

  • You need to leave for work earlier;
  • You put yourself at more risk of being late;
  • May come with a higher financial outlay; 
  • You get less time with friends and family;
  • It’s harder to use a more active form of travel (walking or cycling).

What’s the best way to commute to work?

Finding the best way to commute to work depends on your goals. If you’re looking for a new way to commute, you most likely want to achieve one of the following:

  • Save money;
  • Look after your physical and mental health;
  • Have more time to read or listen to a podcast.

When you’re planning how to travel to work, here’s some inspiration. 👇


Walking ticks all three of the boxes above. If you can walk to work, then it’s the best way to travel. If walking to work from home isn’t possible, try adding walking as part of your commute — like walking to the train station.

Riding a bike or scooter

If you currently drive or take public transport, cycling to work will save you money — whether you invest in your own bike or use Bolt scooters or e-bikes.

Cycling also turns your commute into a chance to exercise — great for your physical and mental health. People who commute by bike have fewer sick days


If you live too far from your workplace to walk or cycle, ride-hailing services like Bolt are a reliable, sustainable, and cost-effective alternative to driving your car.

Using the Work Profile in the Bolt app gives you a clear view of how much you spend on your daily commute.

The benefit ride-hailing has over public transport is that you can set your schedule. You can book a ride when you need one or schedule a ride for a specific time up to 72 hours in advance.

  • Easily track your spending;
  • No need to park;
  • Use your travel time to relax.

Employee using Bolt's ride-hailing service to commute to work.

Public transport

If you live within a city, you should have various public transport options like buses, metros, or a tram network. When you commute into a city from the suburbs, the train is an option if you live near a station.


Driving is at the bottom of the list. But for some people, it’s the only option because of how far they live from their workplace. 

A cost-saving alternative to driving your own vehicle is Bolt Drive. You only pay for the rental time and distance travelled, which covers fuel, insurance, and parking. Turning to Bolt Drive can cut your commuting costs while giving you all the benefits of driving.

If driving is your only option, find colleagues who live along your route and start a carpool. This initiative will save you money, cut emissions, and allow you to chat with colleagues. 

Commuting to work vs. Working from home 

When you work from home, there’s no clear end to the working day — and you’re still in your working environment. This can make it harder to switch off after a day of work.

Commuting to work

This may be surprising to some, but commuting to work offers plenty of benefits:

  • You have time to prepare yourself for work;
  • There’s a clear divide between your work and personal life;
  • You can use the time to get active, listen to something, or switch off completely (depending on how you commute).

But there are some potential downsides to commuting:

  • If you have a long way to travel, then it can become time-consuming;
  • The costs of commuting can soon add up — especially if you drive;
  • It can increase your carbon footprint (depending on how you commute).

Working from home

If your job allows you to work from home, there are plenty of positives:

  • You may save money;
  • You can create a more flexible work schedule;
  • You’ll potentially have more time to spend with family.

But while working from home suits some people, many are soon to experience the downsides:

  • Experience isolation;
  • Fewer opportunities to collaborate with colleagues;
  • There’s no boundary between your work and personal life — making it harder to switch off from work.

Inspiration for your daily commute

How you commute to work determines what you can do during that time (you can’t read a book while you drive, for example). But here’s some inspiration for your next commute. 👇

Get active

Finding time for exercise can be challenging. But your daily commute could give you the time you’ve been looking for. 

Walking and cycling to work offer great health benefits:

  • Reduces your risk of heart disease;
  • Keeps you at a healthy weight;
  • Boosts your mood.

And if you work at a desk, getting active during your commute helps maintain good posture and keep blood circulating around your body.

If you drive to an office job where you sit at a desk for 8 hours, you should aim to find time to get active every day.

A person taking an active commute to work on a Bolt e-bike.

Disconnect from work

Many people see their commute as a chance to catch up on some emails, make some work calls, or finish some small tasks. But you’ll benefit more by using this time to switch off from work.

Try to keep work separate from your daily commute and consider this time a transition between your personal and work life. 

Read a book

Few forms of commute allow you to read a book. But if you travel by public transport or get a work ride with Bolt, you’ll work through your reading list much sooner.

Get some book recommendations from the Bolt team.

Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Turning on a podcast or audiobook during your commute gives you time to catch up with current events, learn something new, or disconnect from work altogether. 

These are some of our favourites:

Commute to work FAQs

What is a reasonable commute time to work?

A reasonable commute comes down to your personal preference, where you live, and your mode of transport. If you spend less than an hour commuting daily, you’re within the average commute time. Ultimately, you have a reasonable commute to work if it doesn’t interfere with your quality of life.

Is commuting worth it?

Commuting adds a sense of structure to your day, clearly defining your working period. The time you spend on your daily commute also allows you to exercise, listen to music, or read a book.

Is it good to commute to work?

Commuting to work gives you time when you’re free from work or personal commitments. You can use this time to read a book, listen to music, exercise, or do nothing. 

What does “commute to office” mean?

Your commute is a regular journey you make between your home and workplace. You can use any means of travel to make the trip, including walking, driving, cycling, ride-hailing, or public transport. 

What is a normal commute to work?

Most people spend up to one hour commuting daily, which includes the journey on either side of the working day.

How far should you commute to work?

A generally accepted time for commuting is between 30 minutes and 1 hour. If you’re driving, you can do around 40 miles in this period — depending on traffic. A train could cover between 45 and 100 kilometres in this time, depending on the route and number of stops — giving you room to live further away from your office.

Commute to work with a Bolt Work Profile

The commute to work has a bad reputation. But as you’ve seen in this article, when you reframe your perspective, that time before and after work becomes valuable. It can eventually even become the highlight of your day. 

With the Bolt app, you can travel for work in 45+ countries and 500 cities. And wherever you are, you can use the Bolt Work Profile to:

  • Order a convenient work ride; 
  • Add a company payment method; 
  • Track how much you spend on your daily commute.

Download the Bolt app and create your Work Profile!

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