Some workers are super commuting to avoid relocating amid a push for employees to return to offices
- More employers are pushing for workers to return to the office, at least on a hybrid schedule.
- Instead of relocating to be near their office, some workers are super commuting a few days a week.
A majority of workers would rather take a pay cut than be forced to return to the office, in large part because of the time cost of commuting. But some workers, forced to appear in person at the office, have taken commuting to the extreme — super commuting to the office hours away by plane.
More and more companies like Meta, Amazon, Apple, Google, and even Zoom have been pushing employees to return to the office for at least part of the week. For some workers, especially ones who were hired remotely, a return to office would ostensibly mean relocating.
Employees have gotten creative to avoid uprooting their lives and in some cases, to avoid paying higher rent.
Hybrid work schedules can make a commute that would otherwise be considered very extreme more appealing. While taking a flight to and from work every single day of the week might be unsustainable, commuting long hours just a few days a week to a far-away office might seem doable.
Boeing CEO David Calhoun set an extreme — and much-criticized — example of extreme commuting. The CEO traveled to Boeing headquarters in Virginia by private jet from two different homes, one in New Hampshire and one in South Carolina, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Brian West, Boeing's CFO, also did not relocate — instead, the company opened an office five minutes away from West's home in Connecticut.
Meanwhile, just 30% of Boeing's job postings allow for remote working. Unlike Calhoun and West, few workers have the privilege of taking a private jet to work or getting their company to bring the office to them.
Frank Croasdale commutes two to three times a month to his physical therapy practice in California from his family's home in Austin, Texas, he told the Wall Street Journal. He sees patients during his trips, stays at a rented studio apartment, and oversees the practice from home the rest of the time. He told the Journal that the arrangement saves him and his family $1,500 a month — the family pays lower taxes in Texas, and Croasdale estimates that he earns significantly more as a physical therapist in California than he would in Austin.
For interns, which by nature is temporary work and are often not well-paid, an extreme commute might make more financial sense than relocating.
Sophia Celentano, an intern at Ogilvy, was required to be in the office just once a week. Rather than finding a place to live by the office, she decided to commute by plane once a week from her parent's home in Charleston to the company's office in New Jersey.
Celentano told Insider that she would wake up at 3:30 a.m. to get ready for work, leave for the airport around 4:30 a.m., and arrive at her gate at 5:15 a.m. in time for boarding. After the two-hour flight, she would call an Uber to the office, work a standard 9 to 5 day, then carpool with coworkers to the train station to take the train to the airport, arriving home around 11 p.m.
Rather than spending thousands of dollars a month on rent, Celentano said she spends about $100 per round-trip flight and $100 on Ubers each week — roughly $800 per month.
Do you have an extreme commute? Are you being affected by return-to-office policies and considering an extreme commute? Email this reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story.
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