Does daily commuting behavior matter to employee productivity?

This study is the first of its kind to explore the relationship between commuting behavior and employee productivity by drawing theories from multiple disciplines and providing empirical evidence from Australian cities. Relying on survey data collected from three major cities in Australia, this study finds that commuting distance is positively associated with absenteeism. This study also finds a positive association between active commuting (i.e., travel to work by walking or bicycling) and job performance in the middle-aged employees. The structural equation model further explored possible causal pathways from commuting to employee productivity, and the results reveal that commuting mode choices and commuting distance influence absenteeism and job performance through affecting commuting satisfaction and personal health, though commuting distance retains a direct impact on absenteeism after controlling for the indirect effects. In particular, the results suggest that the happy commuters are more productive, and the short-distance and active travel commuters are more likely to be the happy commuters. Overall, these findings support that commuting behaviors of employees influence their productivity at the workplace. Encourage active commuting not only improves the physical health of employees, but may also enhance their job performance, contributing to the economic benefits to employers and society.