Long-Distance Commuters: Workplace Casualties in the War For Talent

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Aug 15, 2013

It is a fact that long commutes are killing peopleemotionally, physically and financially.

That doesn’t stop people from following a paycheck in this economy. And it doesn’t stop HR departments from sourcing and recruiting candidates from distant places but declining to offer flexible work options and/or relocation packages.

I know a Chief HR Officer who lives and works in a crowded metro area. He knows traffic is a nightmare but hires people who must travel two hours each way to the office.

His company doesn’t offer relocation.

Nobody telecommutes.

A slippery slope? Please …

When I asked him why he would make an offer to a candidate who has to commute from such a lengthy distance, he told me that the “war for talent” compels him to hire the best and the brightest whenever he has a chance.

I asked, “Would the best and the brightest really need to sit in a car to have this job? And wouldn’t you want to offer the best and the brightest the opportunity to have a life? How about a little flexibility?”

He responded, “We can’t allow one employee to telecommute while others don’t. It sets a precedent. Laurie, it’s a slippery slope.”

That guy is an idiot and should not be running a Human Resources department.

A lengthy commute is toxic

Here is what I am telling you:

  • No matter how much you love your job, a lengthy commute is toxic.
  • No responsible HR department would allow an employee to commute two hours each way. It’s risky, expensive and unsustainable.
  • There is no such thing as precedent or a slippery slope. You can always find a way to accommodate — and reward — talented employees.

It’s true that not all jobs can be done at home. But you can usually find local, talented people to fill your jobs. And if you want to hire the best and the brightest people — and an ideal candidate lives two hours away — you need to pony up. Workers should be capitalists, too.

It is time for the modern American worker to stop killing herself for a job.

Find more from Laurie Ruettimann at her blog, The Cynical Girlwhere this first appeared.