Start the Day Right: RIDE TO WORK


In today’s series on ways to Start the Day Right we are looking at a study by the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University in Montreal…

In a research project titled ‘Cycling, car, or public transit: a study of stress and mood upon arrival at work’ by Stephane Brutus, Roshan Javadian and Alexandra Joelle Panaccio they followed 123 employees from a local IT consultancy; monitoring how they arrived at work by bike, car, or public transit; and then measured stress levels for each participant. To account for the natural fluctuation of stress and mood throughout the day, the assessment of the dependent variables was made within the first 45 minutes of arrival at work.

The survey questionnaire was completed online every day which was designed to access participants’ current mood, perceived commuting stress and method of travel. Probably a little unsurprisingly those who reports to cycle to work were generally less stressed then those who commuted by car. Further investigation tended to find that those who cycled to work also reported having a better day in general.

Lead investigator Stephane Brutus reported: "Recent research has shown that early morning stress and mood are strong predictors of their effect later in the day. They can shape how subsequent events are perceived, interpreted and acted upon for the rest of the day."

So, what does this mean for modern employers and employees?

A pretty simple observation suggests that as individual if you want a less stressed day there is benefit to get on your bike and ride to work. For companies, what’s your HR strategy in relation to this? Do you provide change room facilitates at work? When choosing office location perhaps it is beneficial to take into account bike paths as well as public transport routes? What about a bike purchase salary package as well as a car package?

Cited: Stéphane Brutus, Roshan Javadian, Alexandra Joelle Panaccio, (2017) "Cycling, car, or public transit: a study of stress and mood upon arrival at work", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 Issue: 1, pp.13-24, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-10-2015-0059

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