Commuting to (and from) Work: 16 Disadvantages and Risks

Last Updated on February 14, 2024 by Lifevif Team and JC Franco

woman relaxing resting on seat in subway train

Taking the trip to and from work probably feels like a lot of wasted valuable time. We spend our lives believing that the commute is just a part of life, but it really isn’t. Many companies are realizing the value of remote working arrangements for employees. While the option to work at home is there, many people still commute to work.

If you could work from home instead of at the office, what would you choose to do with all the extra time? Perhaps a few compelling disadvantages and risks of commuting to work might make the decision a little easier for you. If you want to avoid the following potential risks and disadvantages in your life, think about cutting the commute out of your life and working remotely.

16 drawbacks and disadvantages of commuting to and from work:

1. Difficulty finding safe, nearby parking.

You drive all the way to work, only to spend a large portion of time hunting for parking that’s safe and affordable. Often, the only available parking is in a lot far away, so you have to walk part of the distance anyway. That’s not the end of the world – exercise does everyone good – but what if you are injured, late for work, carrying a lot of stuff with you? This can be inconvenient and frustrating. 

2. The expense of fuel, parking, and vehicle maintenance.

There are a lot of hidden expenses when it comes to commuting. If you drive yourself, there’s the cost of the car, the cost of fuel, maintenance costs, and then the cost of parking too. If you are taking public transport, there’s the cost of each form of transport you use, as well as the coffee and snacks you are bound to buy while on the route. 

3. Increased stress levels.

Stress is a killer. We all know that. Studies show that being stuck in traffic or trying to make your way to work in a busy environment can actually make stress levels spike. When you have high-stress levels, your life enjoyment is at risk, not to mention both your mental and physical health. 

4. Significant risk of being in an accident.

The moment you get into your car or head into public transport vehicles, you put yourself at significant risk of being in an accident. Accidents happen every single day on the roads. There’s a chance that one of those accidents might be yours one day. If you aren’t commuting, you’re at far less risk. 

5. Increased risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.

When in stressful or uncomfortable situations, the body’s blood pressure can rise. This can put you at a greater risk of a heart attack, especially if you experience this on a regular basis. 

6. You contribute to global pollution problems.

Whether you are driving a car, catching a bus, or hopping on a train, you are contributing to the global pollution issue. To do your bit for the environment, quit the commute, and start working from home. Or at least start working from home more often. 

7. Risk of being late for work (traffic jams).

Traffic jams and sometimes just busy roads can make you late for work. If you have a long commute already, this can be particularly frustrating. During peak times, many people actually commute for over an hour each day.  

businessman with a briefcase and glasses running in a city street

8. Increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

Sitting, whether it’s in a car or in any other form of public transport for long periods each and every day, can really take its toll on the body. If you experience backaches, neck pain, headaches, and more; chances are that is your body telling you that it’s not enjoying the daily commute. If you want to reduce your body aches and pains, reduce the amount of time you spend in a vehicle every day. 

9. Cuts into your personal time. 

Commuting to work is one thing; what about the commute back home? It is just as long. You might have to wake up early so that you can commute to work and get there on time, but what happens when you work a little late and then still have to face the commute home? It can be disheartening when the work commute cuts into your personal. You will lose quality time with your family and maybe even miss important celebrations with your friends. 

10. Public transport is unreliable.

If you commute to work with public transport, you might get frustrated with just how unreliable it can be. Imagine the bus or train that arrives late or the breakdown that makes you late for work or has you standing out in the freezing cold for an hour. The unreliability of public transport can provide more room for frustration in your life. 

11. Increased risk of catching the flu/viruses.

What makes us sick? It is exposure to other people and surfaces that causes us to pick up the flu or any other virus doing the rounds. While you are commuting, you are putting yourself at direct risk of catching something. The less time you spend commuting, the less chance there is of you getting sick. 

12. Arrive at work frustrated, angry, and resentful on occasion. 

If you have a particularly long and frustrating commute to work, it can really set a negative scene for the rest of the day. It is hard to be good-natured and productive if you are frustrated, angry, or resentful. 

13. Waste time that could be spent on work.

Do you think that you are effectively using all the hours you have available to you in the day? If you add up all the hours and minutes that you spend on commuting every month, you might find that there’s a lot of time-wasting going on. All of these hours could be spent actually being productive and working, if you didn’t have to commute.

Switch your commute hours for extra work hours, and you could earn more while improving and getting ahead at work. 

14. Higher possibility of being attacked or mugged.

Let’s talk about your personal safety for a bit. You aren’t going to be attacked nearly as easily in your home as you will on the street in your car or walking from one bus stop to the next. While commuting to work, you could be a victim of a smash and grab, pickpocketing, physical attack, or similar. If you want to reduce the risk of being attacked or mugged, reduce how much time you spend commuting to work. 

15. Increased anxiety.

How anxious do you feel in the mornings while on the way to work? If you’re traveling to work and are running out of time or have a big project looming, just the trip is enough to spike anxiety levels. When you have anxiety, you put your mental health and happiness at risk. Many people report feeling anxious for a time after arriving at work after a long commute. This can also affect productivity, and how satisfied one is with their job.

Businessman running late for work

16. Greater chance of depression.

If you spend a lot of time on the road, cut off from your family and loved ones with only strangers and the thoughts in your head for company, you might start to feel depressed. If you are already feeling depressed, the long commute that feels detached and cold might simply deepen those feelings. 

Last Word

Commuting to work for many is a necessary evil; but, also, for many of us, it can be just an option. If you can choose to cut back on the amount you commute, you could cut a lot of these risks and disadvantages out of your life. Consider the abovementioned points and decide what’s right for you.

JC Franco

JC Franco is a New York-based editor for Lifevif. He mainly focuses on content about faith, spirituality, personal growth, finance, and sports. He graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business, majoring in Marketing. He is a certified tennis instructor who teaches in the New York City Metropolitan area. In terms of finance, he has passed the Level I exam of the CFA program.