by Ethan Greenfieldon Jan 10, 2023.
Getting up early in the morning to get ready for work is never pleasant. When you need to get up an hour earlier just because you have to travel a long distance to work, however, it is a whole other level of irksome.
Long commutes can cause so much annoyance and stress that they can take a tremendous toll on mental and physical health – not to mention what a heavy toll they take on personal life. If only you didn’t have to spend hours on the road traveling to and from work, you could sleep more, spend more time with family and friends, have more time for your hobbies and interests, etc.
When you begin considering this, you may start thinking of moving closer to work. And indeed, what better way to save some valuable time than to move closer to your workplace?
Yet, things are not so simple – you may love your current home, your current neighborhood may be great for your kids, houses near your workplace may be very expensive, etc.
So, should you move closer to work or commute? Here are some tips and insights to help you make the right decision for you and your family:
Is it worth it to move closer to work?
When considering the idea of moving for a shorter work commute, you need to take several important factors into account:
Your partner’s workplace
If you’re married – or living with a partner – and your spouse or partner goes to work as well, moving closer to your workplace may mean moving further away from theirs. In such a case, it will make little sense to relocate.
If, on the other hand, moving closer to your workplace will result in a shorter work commute for your spouse or partner too, then the move will definitely be worth it.
See also: What to do if you want to move but your spouse doesn’t?
Your kids’ education and well-being
If you have children, you need to consider how a move will affect their schooling and their everyday lives:
- Will your kids have to change schools? Will they need to travel longer to school? Do they love their current school? Is it a good one? Will your children be able to attend a better school?
- Is your new community family-friendly? Will your kids be able to make friends, play freely, and have fun? Will they be safe and happy in your new area?
There is no doubt that you’ll want to do what’s best for your children, so the answers to the above questions will determine whether moving closer to work is a good idea or not.
See also: How does moving affect children?
How long you expect to remain at your current job
If you don’t really like your current job or don’t see yourself working the same job for years, you shouldn’t even think of relocating for a shorter commute – there is no point moving closer to work only to quit that work in a year or so.
See also: What to consider when relocating for a job?
The opportunities in your new area
Moving closer to your workplace will take you to a different part of town, so you need to consider what living in that area will mean for you and your family.
Is the neighborhood safe and prosperous? Are there good amenities in the area? Is there easy access to medical care, child care, and any other services you may need? How good is the infrastructure? What are the entertainment and recreational options? Will you and your family members have more – or less – opportunities to practice your hobbies and pursue your interests?
If moving closer to work will make your life easier and more enjoyable, then it is certainly worth it. If the opposite is true, however, it may be wiser to put up with a longer commute than to sacrifice your living situation.
How much you love your current home
If you’re living in your dream home, it will make no sense to leave it just for a shorter commute. And even if it’s not really a “dream house”, it may be spacious and lovely and well suited to your needs and to your lifestyle – and you may not be able to afford such a large and comfortable place close to your workplace (which is likely located in the city proper where homes are smaller and more expensive than in the suburbs).
On the other hand, if you don’t like your current house, moving closer to work may give you a chance to create a better home for yourself and your family.
The financial aspects of moving closer to work
As much as you may want to live closer to your workplace, if it is located in an expensive area, you may simply not be able to afford a home there.
In different circumstances, however, moving closer to work may make financial sense – you may be able to save a lot of money on transportation costs and car maintenance, a shorter commute may help increase your productivity, so you may start making more money, living in a more convenient location may have a positive impact on your family budget, etc.
The possibility for remote work
Depending on your job, you may be able to work remotely and may not need to go to your workplace every day. If so, a long commute several times a week may not be a big problem and relocating closer to work may not be necessary.
It all depends on the specific circumstances in your case – so, when asking yourself “Should I move closer to work?”, you need to consider all the above factors and carefully weigh the benefits of living close to work against the drawbacks of moving out of your current home.
Benefits of moving closer to work
No matter how you look at it, living close to work has a number of indisputable advantages:
The biggest and most obvious advantage of moving closer to work is the time you’re going to save.
Let’s say your commuting time is 40 minutes one way. This means that you spend 80 minutes on the road every workday of your life – and that’s in the best case scenario when there are no traffic jams, road accidents, closed roads, problems with your vehicle, etc.
If you calculate the hours you spend traveling to and from work for a year, the number will be truly staggering – over 300 hours of lost time!
Just imagine what you could do with all that time! You might stay in bed longer in the morning, develop the morning routine you always wished you had, spend more time with your family after work, hang out with friends, pursue a favorite hobby, etc. You might finally have the time to read a book, catch a movie, or take your kids to the zoo – do the things you enjoy doing and be there for your family.
In a word – when you move closer to work, you will have some extra time (the time that you would have spent on the road) for the people and the things you love.
Better mental and physical health
A long commute does not only steal your time – it also impacts your health. By moving closer to work you can significantly improve your emotional and physical well-being:
1) There will be less stress
Long commutes cause a lot of stress:
- Waking up early and rushing around to leave for work on time is quite stressful;
- Traffic jams, crowded buses, and angry drivers can really grate on your nerves;
- Worrying about being late for work causes a lot of anxiety.
You will avoid all of this when you live close to work. In the mornings, you will arrive at work calm and well rested, will be more productive, and will relate more positively to your co-workers. In the evenings, you will have more time and energy for your family and your favorite activities. You won’t be drained by long commutes and there will be no feelings of irritation, frustration, or anxiety caused by crazy traffic and constant rushing – you will have peace of mind and your emotional well-being will improve greatly.
2) There will be fewer risks to your health
Long commutes pose a number of health risks:
- Traffic problems can cause your blood pressure levels to rise dramatically;
- Slouching behind the wheel for too long can put a lot of strain on your neck and on your back;
- Driving in bad weather – or in crazy traffic – can lead to an accident;
- You can easily catch an airborne virus when using public transportation.
A shorter commute will significantly reduce all these risks to your health.
3) There will be more opportunities to exercise
Long commutes absorb so much time and energy that you may have none left for exercise.
Living close to work will leave you more opportunities to hit the gym. Besides, you may be able to walk or bike to your workplace. Your commute to work will actually contribute to your physical health, not detract from it.
4) You will be able to eat more healthily
Long commutes often result in an unhealthy diet. When you’re in a hurry to leave for work in the morning and come back home late in the evening, you don’t have enough time – or energy, or motivation – to prepare healthy meals. So, you may often go for the convenient option – fast food that gives you energy quickly but adds unnecessary calories to your diet and raises the risk of heart disease and other health problems.
If you live close to work, you’ll be much more likely to eat healthily.
All in all, shortening your commute will have a very positive effect on your well-being.
Last but not least, moving closer to work can help you save money:
- You will be spending less on fuel;
- There will be less wear and tear on your vehicle, so you’ll be spending less on car maintenance and repairs;
- You may be able to walk or bike to your workplace which will mean zero transportation costs.
Moving closer to work can improve your overall quality of life – and it can be beneficial not only for you, but also for your family. Yet, it may not always be the best choice – if living far away from work means living in a better home, better neighborhood, better school district, etc., the long commute may be worth it.
Weigh the pros and cons of moving for a shorter work commute and choose wisely, so you don’t have any regrets later. And if you decide to move closer to work, be sure to follow our tips for a smooth and successful relocation. Good luck!