Work from home, hybrid system should be encouraged as traffic crawls are soul-destroying

FATIGUE. Stress. Burnout . . . And that’s before the workday has even started as commuters in the Klang Valley battle murderous traffic jams travelling from far-flung locations just to make it to the office.

In a thread on X (formerly Twitter) that has gone viral, an anonymous poster had requested for encouragement from other commuters who had to travel long distances to get to work, saying he was feeling tired and burnt out.

His query was shared by netizen @meinmokthar which elicited many sympathetic responses.  @arianaaamedium said her husband travels from Wangsa Maju to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), at a distance of 150km daily.

“He told me he remained strong because husbands must sacrifice a little to make a living for his family,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, @AceHana_ said in her past work, she would leave home at 5am and it took three hours for her to arrive at her workplace.

In an earlier study conducted by digital mapping company TomTom, it was found that drivers in Kuala Lumpur (KL) would have lost 159 hours last year on the road during peak hours in the city centre which could have been used to read 31 books instead.

Out of the 159 hours lost on the road, almost half – or 75 hours of it – was due to traffic jams.

Commuters would also have had to spend RM1,023 on petrol for these peak hour trips on their vehicles last year with about one-fifth or RM221 due to traffic jams.

As reported in the Malay Mail, KL drivers – because of traffic jams – would have spent an extra nine minutes more driving per 10km trip during the morning rush hour\ and 12 minutes more during the evening rush hour.

TomTom’s calculations are based on the assumption of KL drivers making a 10km trip during the busiest hour in the morning and cover the same distance during the busiest hour in the evening and totalled up over an assumed 230 working days per year.

Given the huge mental, physical and economic cost to such commutes, shouldn’t more companies encourage remote working? Set strict KPIs (key performance indicators) and targets for staff who wish to work from home.

It beggars belief that in this day and age of Zoom and Google meet, so many organisations are willing to waste precious human resources to traffic jams.

Both the Human Resources Ministry and Transport Ministry should also embark on campaigns to encourage remote working. The former should devise ways to improve productivity via remote working while the latter to alleviate the long-standing issue of KL traffic snarls.

It is not only a waste of precious human resources but having to endure long commutes daily really is soul-destroying. – Nov 22, 2023

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