Study Says Checking Email During Your Commute Counts as Work, So We All Deserve Raises


If you spend a lot of time checking work emails during your commute, you should probably be earning more money from your job, a new study suggests.

Research from the University of the West of England examined how the commuter routes of 5,000 train passengers into London would be affected by a WiFi upgrade, and concluded that since so many people spend their trip to work going through their inboxes anyway, that time should be considered part of the workday too, BBC News reports.

In the study, 54 percent of commuters used the train’s WiFi to send work emails, while some used their own cell phone data. They also noticed the types of emails being sent tended to depend on where commuters were going: those heading into work were tackling emails that needed responses when they got in, and those going home were finishing up their work from earlier in the day.

All in all, this means the workday is getting longer, and researchers say the prevalence of WiFi and the increased use of cell phones are to blame, causing people to end up doing work even when they’re out of the office.

Juliet Jain, Ph.D., who is part of the University’s Center for Transport and Society, wrote that because the boundaries between work and home are getting blurred, and so many people are checking email while commuting, counting that time as work could “ease commuter pressure on peak hours.” However, she notes that employers might want “more surveillance and accountability” for how workers are spending their time before getting to the office, BBC News reports.

The findings will presented next Thursday at the Royal Geographical Society.


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