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The best of both worlds

09 January 2014

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Chatting to friends who came back to the island from London for Christmas, we got onto the subject of commuting. Two hours of their day, every Monday to Friday, is taken up by travelling to and from their offices in London – that’s 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month or 440 hours a year (taking four weeks’ holiday into account) – and two hours a day is considered quite reasonable in London terms.

Aly-Sutton

Now, I know that London varies a great deal from the Isle of Man, but compare that with my commute: this morning, for example, it took me 10 minutes to get to work and I live four miles away from my office. En route I passed fields full of sheep, a farmer out in his tractor, and I saw the sun rising slowly over Douglas.

But it's not just about having a nice view. Recent research conducted by the TUC found that a long commute provides "potential for extreme stress, chronic fatigue and an increased likelihood of developing indicators that might lead to a heart attack". Over in the US, research shows that 40% of commuters who travel for more than three hours a day worry for much of the working day, whilst people with long commutes tend to be more tired and experience "less happiness". Scary stuff.

The mode of transport makes a difference, too. Those who walk, run or cycle feel more connected to their surroundings and their community, which in turn can reduce the risk of strokes, cancer, sleep problems and depression. Not only that, but they reap the benefits of exercise. As well as helping to keep you physically healthy, exercise can boost creativity and the ability to problem-solve – skills we all need to keep our minds nimble and help us to achieve in our careers. (No wonder these people are the only ones to report that they actively enjoy commuting to work!)

Here, you get the best of both worlds: the stimulation of working in a world-class centre of business, coupled with the ability to enjoy a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. Whether it's being able to squeeze in a lunchtime visit to see your children (as my friend does), or going for a bike ride to keep fit, you can both flourish professionally and maintain a great work-life balance here on the Isle of Man.

So whilst my time in the office may be as productive and hectic as anyone else's, I can rest assured that my journey there is probably one of the nicest and shortest commutes in the world.

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