my employer moved our office to an inconvenient location

A reader writes:

My employer moved our office over the summer. Our former location was very central and convenient (there was a subway stop literally in our building). The new location, while only a mile and a half away from the old location, is much less convenient because public transportation in the area is very limited. The move was entirely motivated by money; although I don’t know the exact figures, our bookkeeper is less than discreet and has intimated that they will be saving hundreds of thousands in rent each year.

During the warm seasons, I bike to work and my commute has been mostly unchanged. However, now that I’ve begun my winter commute, it takes up to an hour and 15 minutes each way to get to work using public transportation (it used to take 30-40 minutes). A month ago, I communicated to my managers that the new commute is a hassle, and they approved a change to my schedule so that I come in half an hour later and take a shortened lunch. Looking at the big picture though, it’s still an extra 3.5 hours each week of my time that I’m sacrificing for this commute; if anything, my schedule change has been convenient to my office since most of my colleagues come into work later than I do. Every day I do this longer commute, my conviction solidifies that this cannot work long-term.

I’ve thought of three options that would work for me: a) I leave half an hour earlier from work each day; b) my employers subsidy part of the cost of parking (I live 6.5 miles away from the office and have a car, but parking costs $300 per month), or c) I work a compressed schedule four days a week. I have yet to present any proposal to my bosses; they are your classic hands-off managers and I feel like I need to get it right if I have any hope of a positive outcome.

One last note: I’m a new mom just back from maternity leave (unpaid, for what it’s worth). Although I agree with the cardinal rule of not dragging personal issues into work, the fact that I’m losing precious time with my 5-month-old to a longer commute that only serves to line my employers’ pockets… is it appropriate to point this out (the baby thing, not the money thing)? I would have an issue with the commute whatever my personal circumstances, but this obviously raises the stakes for me.

Hmmmm.

To some extent, this is just an unfortunate thing that sometimes happens to people; offices move, and commutes change as a result. Many, many employers would take the stance that they’re not responsible for your commute, and that while they regret that the move lengthened it, there’s nothing they can (will) do about it.

And even if they’re sympathetic, there’s a good chance that they’ll feel that they can’t make accommodations for you without needing to offer the same thing to others — and collectively, that can have a bigger impact than what you’re probably envisioning when thinking of it just for you.

That said, if you’re a high performer and your manager wants to keep you happy (and keep you in general), it’s still worth raising and seeing if something can be worked out. In many cases, managers are willing to work out arrangements like this for high performers, because they want to retain them.

So the question for you: How valued are you? If you’re pretty valued, then ask.

As for what to ask for, I don’t think any of your three options are crazy to propose, but the parking subsidy is the most reasonable. The other two options have you working fewer hours or fewer days, and a parking subsidy isn’t nearly as significant a change as those.

Keep in mind though that once you ask, if you get a no, you really can’t keep pushing at that point. Continuing to push would come across as tone-deaf (especially because, as I said above, to some extent this is a normal thing that sometimes just happens with offices, and you don’t want to seem like you think it’s an outrage).

I would not mention the baby, because you’d still have this same concern even without the baby and because — rightly or wrongly — you risk that reflecting poorly on you (by appearing to inappropriately inject family issues into a schedule that others are apparently okay with).

I also wouldn’t mention the fact that the move was motivated by money. That’s not going to sway them (and saving money is usually a good reason for such decisions, and in this case it might involve saving people’s jobs, for all I know). That part of your stance seems to be giving your complaint a particularly bitter undertone, and I can pretty much guarantee you that your manager will find that part of it misplaced.

But it’s not outlandish to raise it once and see what happens. Good luck!

{ 367 comments… read them below }

  1. Katie the Fed

    “’I’m losing precious time with my 5-month-old to a longer commute that only serves to line my employers’ pockets”

    Ummmm no. Please don’t do this. 1) it makes it sound like people without babies have less important concerns and 2) it’s immaterial to the discussion at hand – you’re expected to be at work regardless.

    Another solution you might want to propose is a shuttle service from the subway stop. If there are enough people with similar concerns it would probably be a great solution.

    Also, while it may seem this move is only to “line your employer’s pocket” it just may be that it’s enabling them to keep more people employed, so I wouldn’t get too wrapped around the axle about things that aren’t your concern.

    1. Ann Furthermore

      Agreed. When I had a child a bit later in life (at 41) I vowed I would never use the, “You don’t have kids so you just can’t understand line,” on anyone, especially in a work-related situation. For the most part I’ve kept that promise. There are some things that this applies to — like I swear you can tell the difference between different types of crying (being hurt or scared vs just having a tantrum) but before I had a child I never believed it. Ha. But for the most part I find that sentiment to be a bit sanctimonious and off-putting.

      The shuttle option is a great idea. Like someone else said below, even if the OP gets the parking subsidy, she’ll likely still have to deal with the hassles of traffic and bad weather.

      And I also don’t get why anyone would be resentful about their employer trying to save money. It’s one of my biggest frustrations…we’re all bombarded with emails about doing whatever we can to save money — to the point where many of us just buy our own office supplies to avoid being interrogated when we want to order something not on the approved list — but directors and executives fly all over creation at the drop of a hat, and in business class (just to name one example). Something constructive like moving a short distance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars instead of cutting people’s jobs is not only reasonable, but shows that the company wants to preserve people’s jobs. Not everyone is so lucky to have an employer like that.

      1. Jamie

        like I swear you can tell the difference between different types of crying (being hurt or scared vs just having a tantrum) but before I had a child I never believed it.

        It’s the same with cats. Non-cat owners just hear “meow” but people who live with cats know the difference between the meows that mean they are annoyed that dinner is a few minute late hitting the bowl and the ones that mean you need to play with me right NOW, and when something is wrong.

        With cats and babies it really is amazing how you can tell the difference without being able to really articulate how you can tell.

        If only my end users were as easy to read!

        1. LBK

          Cat meows and baby cries are more similar than you might think – I read an article a while back suggesting that cats actually purposely mimic human baby sounds because it triggers our parental instincts and makes us be more attentive. They are truly evil, manipulative, adorable, fluffy little masterminds.

            1. KJR

              Luckily neither of my newborns figured out how to sit on my chest and stare at me for said morning feeding!! Or continuously tap me on the arm like water dripping from a faucet.

              1. bkanon

                My long-hair does the arm tapping. He’s learned to move from gently poking my arm to tapping me on the face if I don’t get up fast enough. If I *really* push him, he purrs at top volume and sticks his whiskers up my nose. He thinks it’s hilarious.

                1. Melissa

                  My dog does the tapping thing, first on my arm, then my chest, sometimes my face. The difference is she’s 56 pounds of muscle, so sometimes it’s a little harder than she intended lol.

              2. Dmented Kitty

                Oh wow. Maybe I’m a tiger mom? None of my cats demand food before the waking hour. I’ve strictly followed a routine (not a schedule) — and they seem to have caught on. The routine consists of “start of day” wet food feedings, which is usually after I get out of the bedroom — whether I’ve finished showering or decide to just get coffee right after I get out of bed, or even if I wake at 11AM on weekends. They never go out of the way to go “yow! yow! bat! bat! feeds me nao!” mode when I’m in bed. They know nothing comes of it, even if I just walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Nope — ignore.

                They start anticipating food when they hear the bedroom door open and hear me walk out — they start sitting around their feeding areas. Noise ensues when I start pulling stuff out the fridge.

                My mom isn’t like this — she always tosses morsels out once a kitty begs. I learned from that — my house, my meal terms (the other stuff, cats still rule).

                1. Dmented Kitty

                  FWIW they used to yowl when I locked them out of the bedroom due to 4AM chasing sessions and me waking up seriously wanting to strangle everyone, but I have earplugs, and while it’s heartbreaking to hear them meow (my cat meowed for quite a bit during the first night, I can tell as she could only chirp by morning), I steeled myself and after a couple nights she learned to overcome her separation anxiety, and that has made both our lives better.

          1. Raine

            Oh yeah, I’m not a mother but I’m both an aunt and a cat owner, and there absolutely are different baby cries and different types of cat meows. In addition to her sweet love-me meows, her feed-me meows, her wailing-at-the-door-for-me-to-come-home meows, and her annoyed MAO!-no-I-don’t-want-to-move-from-the-bathmat meows, she’s recently also taken up a sharp snap of a meow that is cut so short it’s almost a bark and usually accompanied with an attempt to swat me in a new I’M NOT KIDDING MORE FOOD NOW meow.

            1. Nyxalinth

              Yes, this. and for my cat, add meows that man “OMG you’re making toast why are you making toast you’ll summon the evil toast monster!” seriously, she loudly carries on at length when I make toast!

              1. HRC in NJ

                Mine has the “I’m gonna puke” meow, usually while walking backwards. I don’t know why a cat never walks forward when about to puke.

                1. Pennalynn Lott

                  If you walk forward while puking, you’ll walk into the puke. Smart kitty knows that if she pukes while moving *away* from the puke, she’ll likely not get any on her.

                2. Maggie

                  I just visualized my last cat puke experience and you’re quite right! I never thought of that before.

              2. Tiffy the Fed... Contractor

                That’s a very useful meow to have. I like plenty of warning when vomit is going to enter my presence.

                1. HR Manager

                  Is it a ‘meow’ or that weird gurgling/hacking/coughing sound? That’s what my cats do when they are about to puke, but it’s never close to being a cute or pitiful meow. More like ‘watch out…I’m gonna’ blow [chunks]’

                2. Monodon monoceros

                  HR Manager, it’s usually a loud, yowling meow, followed by the horking (never tried to write that word before) sounds.

                3. NoPantsFridays

                  My cat does the loud, howling pre-puke meow too! I thought it was just her. Good to know other cats do it too lol. And it’s definitely very different from the “I would like food” meow, the “I WANT FOOD NOW” meow, and the “I want to go out” meow.

                4. HR Manager

                  You all are making me jealous. My kitty just does the hork and ‘splurt’ – no warning. :-/

            2. Cath in Canada

              My two have very specific meows that start when I open a can of tuna and end only when they get a little taste of it. It’s a heartbreaking “if I don’t get some of that I might actually just lie down and die” noise. The one time I opened a can of tuna and one of them didn’t make that noise, I panicked and wanted to take her to the vet. My husband talked me out of it – he said, “I am NOT going to tell the vet that we brought him a cat because she seems otherwise perfectly normal but ‘she didn’t make the tuna noise!'”

              I’m thinking of putting a little bit of tuna on top of the Roomba, to determine whether cats’ love of tuna is powerful enough to overcome their fear of Roombas. I predict that it will be. And yes, I will video this experiment.

          2. Celeste

            So true. My elderly cat with dementia has this cry in the night that is as pitiful as it is baby-like. There is no way for my recalibrated-by-baby consciousness to sleep through it.

        2. Kelly L.

          I used to know this whole array of growls for my dog. She had a sort of low monotone grrr for hungry/needing to go out, an annoyed growl-bark for the mailman, and a lion-roar for when she was actually honest-to-god pissed off (only heard it ONCE!).

          1. KJR

            I second this! I told my husband the other day when we heard our little schnauzer outside barking, “she’s stuck. Can you go out and get her?” He thought I was nuts because I hadn’t actually looked outside. It was her “I’m stuck!” bark.

            1. Kelly L.

              Oh, and I forgot the purr-grr. She would make this little rumble when she was happy and getting pets.

          2. Monodon monoceros

            My dog totally has a different whine for “I’m bored and just want to go outside” versus “If I don’t go outside RIGHT NOW there’s going to be trouble for everyone”

          3. Not So NewReader

            My dog has a specific cry for, “my toy/chewy has gone under a piece of furniture and I cannot reach it, so YOU need to get it, noooow.”

        3. potty-trained cat

          I had a cat that was potty trained (sat up on the toilet for #1 and #2), and I could always tell when he was about to use it by the type of meow!

        4. Helka

          Gosh, yes. Everyone tells me my elderly tortie just sounds angry all the time (she has a very strident and rusty “nyet” as her basic meow) but I can definitely tell the difference between affectionately creaky chirps, disgruntlement, hunger, and discomfort.

          1. Diet Coke Addict

            I wonder if this is a tortie thing because my young tortie just yells, constantly, stridently, all the time. Dinner time, walking around the house, playing, wanting pets, middle of the night, waking up from a nap, constantly.

            1. Elizabeth

              Our part-Siamese does that. We swear that he sings Klingon opera at about 3am in the kitchen (all hard surfaces, so it echos nicely).

        5. Bea W

          I can’t tell you what a crying baby wants or all the different meows, but I believe it. That’s because I have the same experience with my pets. You learn their language being around them every day.

      2. Carrington Barr

        “But for the most part I find that sentiment to be a bit sanctimonious and off-putting.”

        It is, and there’s a name for it: being a sanctimommy.

      3. Lia

        If you live 6.5 miles away from work it would NEVER, EVER, take you that long to get there unless you’re walking at the slowest pace of life. The end.

    2. AnonForThis

      I will say that there are valid emotional reasons to make changes to your work schedule because of children. I went back when my little one was 4.5 months and a few weeks in realized I couldn’t do full-time work with her. I negotiated going to part time by taking off Wednesdays (I didn’t do Mon or Fri to make sure it didn’t look like I was trying to take long weekends).

      It was/is hard. I was seriously crying every day at work and was having a very difficult time being the normally productive person I am. Although I’m a heavily emotional person to begin with…

      If this is the primary concern, it might be worth mentioning in the least emotional way you can, but it seems like this is an add-on to the other challenges, not necessarily the primary issue.

      1. Katie the Fed

        It’s not so much whether the reasons are valid or not – it’s that they have no place in a discussion about work schedules. You’re hired to be at work and do a job. The discussion needs to be about that, not about the emotional reasons this is a burden.

        1. AnonForThis

          I guess I can’t be that black and white with work and home life. I understand work is work, but things at home were causing me to not be as productive as I needed and, due to that, I knew I needed to change my work schedule/time away from home. Kind of a round-a-bout cycle… I couldn’t talk about my reasons for changing my schedule without explaining why I needed to.

          1. RobM

            The thing is, those reasons are important to you but might not be to the people you work with or the people you work for. If I talked all the time about my needs due to childcare then I would expect that to breed resentment among other workers who managed to take care of that business without needing to “make a fuss about it” at work, and I would certainly expect it to annoy those who didn’t have children. It sends a message and the message is “I think my problems are more important than everyone else’s”.

          2. Monodon monoceros

            I can understand this, but for me it’s about not making about the kids. Plenty of people without kids have demands outside of work that may make it difficult for them to focus 100% from time to time. No one’s reason is more important than anyone else’s, so that’s why I think it’s important to make sure it’s not about the kids- it’s just something in your life.

            1. Person of Interest

              +1. I don’t have kids but I have many competing demands on my time outside of work that are just as valid and create exactly the same problems that the OP has in terms of balancing time between work, commuting, and other activities. I have negotiated with employers from time to time for flexible schedule to accommodate when I need to be on a non-work phone call, go to a mid-day meeting for my board, get to a rehearsal early, etc. Please don’t try to argue that having children makes your time more valuable than someone else’s.

              1. Jamie

                I don’t think AnonForThis said that at all. She said she had issues when going back to work and in her case it was about her kid, so she said she wouldn’t have been able to explain why she was requesting the change in schedule without bringing it up. I totally get that – but it in no way invalidates any other reason people might have for needing accommodations.

                At some point in everyone’s life we’ll have to deal with something disruptive. Be it child issues, health problems, care of an elderly parent, or any of a million other things. Legally you don’t have to tell your employer a damn thing aside from “it’s personal” but they also don’t have to give you more than legally required accommodations.

                Some employers are cool with not knowing and will give people flex time they need and that’s great – but sometimes letting your boss know you are taking your mom to chemo two days a week and would really appreciate some flexibility in your schedule. Maybe the boss doesn’t mind you working later other days so you don’t have to use FMLA or PTO. And if it’s someone who needs some flexibility due to other issues at home, including kids, if someone is comfortable with their boss and can have that discussion it’s their call.

                Not a good idea to act entitled to it, or tell everyone like you brokered some sweetheart deal – but needing some flexibility and discussing that with one’s boss is light years away from arguing that having children makes one’s time more valuable.

                1. AnonForThis

                  Thank you, Jamie. You said it better. I don’t think my child is a better reason than someone needing to care for a parent, go thru medical procedures or even to spend time with your cat or crochet miniature versions of jungle cats… Whatever makes people happy and emotionally satisfied in work and personal life is what I was after. You have to weigh the pros and cons from both sides of the equation and figure out what makes sense.

                  For the OP it sounds like they might just need to the employear to be a little more acknowledging of the personal challenges the move has caused. And also see if they can offer some recourse either in parking fees or an adjusted schedule. But all this won’t matter if at the end of the day they are still unhappy.

    3. BRR

      I love the shuttle suggestion. I know a lot of employers in my area do that. I wonder if this move is an inconvenience to everybody or just some?

    4. Purr purr purr

      I think the shuttle is a great idea too! Even better if the company is able to find other companies in the area who would also benefit from it so that they can share costs.

  2. fposte

    I don’t understand the resentment about the move saving the organization money–that seems to me to be the best reason for moving (aside from phenomenal success requiring a bigger space, I guess). If I could save money by moving my unit I’d do it in a shot, because otherwise the first place to look for savings is personnel.

      1. Schmitt

        Jamie, it’s so good to see you around again! And while I /think/ your avatar is a kitty in an armchair, all /I/ can see is a hulking football player Hello Kitty….

        Now you can’t unsee it, amIrite?

        1. Jamie

          Thanks – I’m finally able to come up for air just in time to gear up for year-end which is my busiest time. :)

          And yes, now I can’t unsee it! And now I see armchair, too…but she’s actually wearing a coat with (faux) fur-lined hood…very regal. Or it was before she looked like Mike Ditka in a Lazyboy!! :)

          1. ECH

            Oh, I thought she had her head in a bubble …

            (For what it’s worth, every time I see Hello Kitty, I think of you, Jamie!)

    1. Diet Coke Addict

      Hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in rent savings alone is no small potatoes, either–that’s a big savings and a good one. Not all things that are good for the company are good for every single employee, and while some of them are unreasonable (no, the company should not force everyone to bring their own toilet paper for $750 savings yearly), some of them are reasonable–and this move seems to be Reasonable.

      1. BRR

        Yeah, I read an article about how people try and skip a latte for savings and while it does add up they mentioned trying to save on bigger things like buying a cheaper house or car. It’s likely a significant saving.

    2. MousyNon

      I’m with you. I’d rather a longer commute to save the company money if it meant avoiding layoffs, certainly.

    3. TotesMaGoats

      Exactly this. We rent one floor of a building and if I could save hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent, then I’d be able to hire more people.

    4. neverjaunty

      That is absolutely true, but it’s also smart to figure out how to deal with the impact of the move on the employees, even if it costs a little money. Paid parking is a no-brainer.

      1. TL -

        Yeah, but it depends on the city they’re in and the employees they have. A mile and a half really isn’t a big deal in terms of location – if most of their employees drive (and already pay for parking) or if they’re mostly on X line of public transportation, which became more convenient, but the OP is on Y line, which became less convenient, maybe the overall impact was quite minimal.

        1. neverjaunty

          $300 for parking is a big bite, particularly when the new location has less convenient public transit and an unreliable shuttle. There are certainly lots of ways to handle it; I’m just nothing that cushioning the impact of a new location is probably a smart choice for the business, versus “Be thankful we saved money so we don’t have to fire some of you.”

          1. TL -

            Chances are the parking prices were the same or more expensive in the old location; if they were already paying for parking, it might not have been as big of an impact.

            And, though the OP has made it clear downthread that it’s not the case here, inconvenient to the line she takes doesn’t mean inconvenient to the public transit system in general. Certainly, in my city, there are places it’s not easy for me to get to from my house that are easy for other people to get to from their houses, using the same transit system.

    5. Adam

      If I were to guess it might be suspicions about what the organization intends to do with said savings. I don’t know how upfront the OP’s employer is about their budget (I’ve worked in places where it’s never discussed openly) and that often leads to speculation about where money is going and usually not in a positive manner. Depends on the mood of the staff really.

      1. Lily in NYC

        I am so confused by this comment. Companies trying to save money do not usually do it for nefarious reasons.

        1. Adam

          Not so much that the staff thinks any money saved will be spent on underhanded things or go directly into the higher-ups’ pockets (unless you work for a notoriously crappy employer), but more that said savings will only be shuttled into other avenues than what the staff thinks they should, like higher wages for employees, etc.

          Admittedly staff rarely know the whole story when it comes to how the company handles its finances, but I have worked at a company where they made some head scratching moves with their money only to layoff a ton of employees not long after, so while personally I know that the ones in charge have a better understanding then I do, I also know they’re still people and are subject to blunders too.

          1. Snarky McSnarker

            It’s hard to be on board with removing the plasticware, plates, napkins and milk/cream from the kitchens to “save money” when your employer announces shortly after they’ve hired a private jet to make regular trips between two office, and the one-way trip costs twice that of flying commercial. Everyone benefited from the stock in the kitchens. Only a handful of execs benefit from the jet service that will cost us more money than just making people take one of the commercial commuter flights between the two cities, flight time between which is 30 minutes. So we’re actually talking a distance that makes other forms of transportation feasible on top of being well serviced by commuter flights. SMH.

        2. Phoenix

          I think I understand the sentiment – if employees’ lives are made more difficult by a cost-savings measure, it’s helpful to morale for employees to know if the money saved is being used to make sure they keep their jobs, or if it’s being used to increase executive salaries and bonuses.

    6. Red Emma

      I totally get why the OP resents the move. Her life just became significantly harder, due to a decision she was no part of and from which she will likely receive no benefit. (Does anybody think even one of those hundreds of thousands of dollars will find their way into the OP’s paycheck?) Her company just told her that they value profit over people. The OP is working to make herself a living, not to make somebody else richer.

      1. esra

        Speaking as someone laid off twice this year, if the move prevents them from having to lay people off, she will certainly benefit.

      2. AnonyMouse

        I do understand that perspective, but on the other hand, we don’t know what the company’s finances are like and, like other posters have pointed out, saving hundreds of thousands a year could mean they won’t have to lay people off (so more job security for the OP) or it could mean they could hire more staff and reduce burnout/make it possible for people to, say, stay late less frequently and spend more time with their families. Saving the company money isn’t inherently a bad thing, even if it does inconvenience some people – and I think providing her with a parking subsidy would be reasonable, but mentioning that she resents her employers for trying to save hundreds of thousands on rent probably isn’t.

      3. MK

        That’s rather a melodramatic way of putting it, don’t you think? For all you know, the company might use the extra money to give raises they otherwise couldn’t afford or hire more people and reduce the workload or simply avoid lay offs. Also, there may well be other employees who find the new location much more convenient; why should the company value the OP more than them?

        1. Original Poster

          There is *no one* at our company who finds the move more convenient. Across the board, everyone’s commutes have gotten worse. Except for the bosses, who drive to work and now pay less for parking than they used to.

          1. Bea W

            “Everyone’s” commutes have suffered except the bosses? Aren’t other people who drive in the same boat with the bosses? No one else lives in an area that is either neutrally or more convenient to the public transit in that area? No one at all? I get that you are unhappy with the move, and possibly unhappy with you employer in general, since you’re painting them as Scrooge McDuck and Co lining their pockets at everyone’s expense, but absolute statements come across as hyperbole, and that’s not going to help your case.

            1. Original Poster

              I understand how my statement can seem like hyperbole, but I’m talking about an office with less than 15 employees. I can safely say that only those who drive have had their commutes improved by this move.

              1. Original Poster

                (That said, I obviously have no intention of pointing this out to my employers to make my case!)

      4. RobM

        I think most of us would actually find it strange if an employer counted our pay out into our hands note by note and said every now and again “This one’s your share of the stationary we saved money on by switching to a new supplier” or “The next 5 notes are courtesy of that new contract we won last week”.

        1. HeyNonnyNonny

          Strange? Yes. But not unwelcome! I’m just picturing them coming down the long line of cubicles with these tiny bonuses…

        2. Adam

          And suddenly I’m reminded of an old newspaper comic strip (I think it was Cathy) where the character was sitting at the desk of an IRS agent and burst into tears over how much they had to pay. The agent looked at their computer and went “Congratulations! Your tax payment will be buying Kleenex boxes for the desks of all IRS employees!”

          While certainly in jest, it was that strip that made me suddenly kind of wary of knowing exactly where my money went.

        3. Portia de Belmont

          My first attorney boss occasionally did exactly that! “This week’s paycheck was brought to you by Clients X, Y, and especially Z, who finally paid his bill”. Made me laugh out loud every time he did it.

      5. Elsajeni

        But by the same token, the company is run to make a profit, not to make the OP and her coworkers happy. That doesn’t mean that the company shouldn’t consider their employees’ happiness at all, but it’s not going to be their primary concern.

        1. aebhel

          Sure, but the fact that the company has no obligation to make the OP happy…kind of implies that she has no obligation to be happy about it, doesn’t it?

          I mean, I wouldn’t bring up that resentment in a discussion with the boss, but I can certainly understand it. I’d be annoyed too if I suddenly had to add a significant chunk of time to my commute or fork out an extravagant amount of money for parking.

          1. Elsajeni

            Oh, sure. I’m responding purely to the comment about “working to make herself a living, not to make someone else richer,” because… I mean, we pretty much all are working to make someone else richer. (Those of us who work at for-profit companies that we don’t own, anyway.) That may not be our motivation for working, but it’s the reason our jobs exist. I felt the comment I was replying to was suggesting that a company prioritizing cost and profit concerns over employee happiness would always, inherently, be wrong; that’s what I disagree with.

    7. Anonasaurus Rex

      I think it depends on where you work. Where I used to work, at the start of this most recent recession, the company did some things to save money, and they supposedly saved a lot of it. We had a year with no raises, no bonuses, and a hiring freeze, but that same year all the executives got their bonuses (no they were not contractual or required). It was incredibly suspicious that in a year where we had to do some significant things to save money, the only ones who saw any benefit were at the top. I don’t blame the OP for being either suspicious or bitter about it, depending on what else is going on in their company, but I agree it does not have a place in her discussion about the commute.

    8. Dan

      I’m ok with the company saving money on things that doesn’t end up costing me money or time.

      Would you resent the company for cutting your pay so they can save money? Charge for parking so they spend less on garage upkeep?

      Basically, people are going to resent it when they sign up for something, and then things change after awhile. Happens all of the time.

    9. HighAndDry

      Saving money by moving and saving money on personnel can be the same thing, as in these moves, those employees who can’t or won’t drive for whatever reason often find themselves squeezed out of the company. In this case, a mile-and-a-half doesn’t seem quite so bad, although even that can be a struggle, as the OP noticed. If the savings from moving a mile-and-a-half are good, often the savings are even greater from moving to the office park on the remote edge of town, or leaving town entirely for a rural community within commuting distance that is willing to offer sweetheart tax breaks to attract new business.

      When a lot of companies in the same area all have this same idea, (especially in an area where home costs are high or moving for individuals and families is otherwise made difficult or prohibitively expensive) it can drive all non-drivers in the area into poverty — they find that they no longer have access to the well-paying jobs that they are qualified to do, nor the means to move to follow those jobs. Social scientists noticed this trend for the first time back in the 1960s, when they called it “spatial mismatch”.

  3. B

    Been there and done that when an office made a really inconvenient move. But it is one of those things you need to either deal with, see if the office will make a compromise with working from home, or perhaps find a new job that is in a more convenient location. Of course there is no guarantee another company will not move but you need to decide if it’s worth the risk.

    Personally, I highly doubt a parking subsidy would make up for the commute. If you are in NY (assuming because of subway) you will resent being stuck in rush hour traffic as that could take longer to get home, especially in snow/ice. And if they made the move to save money I don’t foresee them wanting to now shell out money because then they will need to for all of their employees.

    Inconvenient office moves are the worst!

    1. MJH

      My office moved from NYC to a much more rural location 3 hours away (driving) in order to save rent money! People could move with it or leave. I am sympathetic to this woman’s needs, but I’m pretty sure my company’s former NYC employees would’ve been very happy to only have a 1.4 hour commute.

    2. Zillah

      If the OP is in NYC and her job moved to an outer borough, driving may well help – rush hour traffic sucks, but there are a lot of places in Queens in particular that are an enormous pain to get to using public transportation.

  4. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

    The shuttle sounds like a great idea, and more feasible than a parking subsidy (depending on the number of employees – the subsidy would get expensive fast).

    1. Spooky

      To me, the number of employees is key. I doubt they’d be willing to do more to help one single employee (no offense, OP, I’m not saying you’re not valuable, but they have to make it fair and worth the money.) However, if other employees have similar concerns, it seems likely that they’d be more willing to make concessions for a group (IMO – I could be wrong.)

        1. Jamie

          Because of the ridiculous amount of fallout if they don’t.

          I hate the “fair” thing when it’s not based in logic (i.e. Jane could work from home effectively due to her position, but can’t telecommute some days because it won’t be “fair” to the person working reception who can’t answer the phones or greet customers from home.) but in something like this…it would be a morale killer if it gets out that the company is subsidizing her parking fee and not other people’s – who have the same expense, and are coming to the same job…if there is no real reason for giving one person a perk (and not others) besides “they made the most noise about it” it breeds resentment.

          For example my employer does something regarding public transportation that is a cost savings to people – I’m not sure what it is – but everyone who wants to take public transportation is entitled to participate. It’s available to everyone – most of us drive so most don’t take advantage of it and I certainly don’t think they should give us gas cards to make it “fair.” But if we had to pay for parking and someone got it paid for because they asked and people who didn’t ask are going out of pocket that wouldn’t be fair because most people see their commute as their expense. So you’re getting screwed for being responsible. Now if it was a perk based on position or level that’s part of compensation and different imo – but if it’s just going to whomever asked regardless of anything else it will cause an uproar.

          1. Windchime

            OldJob used to pay 100% for one person’s cell phone and internet, but nobody else’s. “Jim wouldn’t have cell phone or internet except he needs it for this job”, was the excuse. Jim was a prima-donna who caused all kinds of trouble anyway, but lots of people (including me) were a little peeved that one person got all this stuff paid for and the rest of us had to shell out of our own pocket.

            One of the many reasons that OldJob is OldJob.

  5. Jamie

    the fact that I’m losing precious time with my 5-month-old to a longer commute that only serves to line my employers’ pockets…

    If any hint of this attitude is conveyed to your employers don’t be surprised if they aren’t inclined to worry about your convenience.

    It reads as if you think they are being selfish for choosing to do something which financially benefits the company at the cost of you having a slightly longer commute. I would never want to work for a company that chose to spend 6 figures a year more than needed on a fixed cost just so one employee wouldn’t have to go out of their way. And I’ve worked with some awesome people, but never one who would be worth that kind of financial sacrifice to any company.

    Nothing wrong with asking for flex time or whatever, but a whiff of this attitude will not help foster a spirit of cooperation.

    1. AdAgencyChick

      I doubt it’s just one employee whose commute ended up growing in size, though. It may be that upper management doesn’t care at all about that, or it may be that they considered the inconvenience and still decided that the cost savings was worth the possibility of losing employees to other, more conveniently located firms.

      In any case, my hopes are not high for OP, precisely because there are likely lots of people affected by this change and who would ask for similar treatment if OP is given concessions (thus erasing some of the cost savings of moving). Unless, as Alison says, OP is an especially highly valued employee.

      1. Jamie

        I’m sure a lot of people were affected, so I shouldn’t have referenced one employee in that sentence – but I still think the cost savings significant enough that even if everyone was inconvenienced it is still a call I’d want a business for whom I worked to make.

        I wouldn’t want to have my raises or bonuses affected because the company thought it was more important that people didn’t have to add 3.5 hours a week to their commute, but there are definitely some people who prefer a shorter commute to money so YMMV on this one.

        1. LawBee

          And believe it or not, but there are people who like a longer commute. I miss my hour commute on the bus over my twenty-minute drive. It was the perfect decompression time – I wasn’t responsible for anyone or anything, all I had to do was SIT. In the morning, it gave me time to wake up. After work, it was time to let everything go. And I got a ton of reading done that I don’t have as much time for now.

          1. Jamie

            I’m one of those people. Barring icy roads or crazy snow I much prefer my 1.25-1.5 hour commute to an 8 minute commute from a previous job.

            As you mention – it’s decompression time. It’s desperately needed alone time for me and it allows me to transition from work-me to home-me and I didn’t realize how much I needed that until I had a super short commute and realized I needed time to shed the stress from work.

            I sit in traffic for hours a day and don’t mind it – we’re rare so it’s something we need to convince prospective employers that it won’t be an issue. :)

      2. MK

        The OP was probably not the only one affected, but it’s unlikely that the number is high. For those who drive to work, it would make little difference, there are probably people who don’t mind and it’s likely that many people whose commute was improved.

        1. Zillah

          Why do you think that it’s more likely that there are more people whose commute was improved than there are people who were inconvenienced? It’s certainly possible, but that logic doesn’t track for me overall. If the old location was high rent and had a subway station in the building, it’s likely that it was a central and easily accessible location. The new location has a lower rent, which means that it’s in a less desirable area – which often also means less accessible.

          For example:

          Let’s say the OP lives in NYC, and her job used to be near Rockefeller Center. That’s in midtown Manhattan, and within ten blocks of most major subway lines. It’s pretty accessible if you live near a subway and you likely wouldn’t have to transfer. Now, we’ll say that her job has moved out to Forest Hills in Queens, and is about 1.5 miles away from the subway station. I’m confident in saying that very few people would find that more convenient. You often can make that assessment.

          1. Bea W

            Forest Hills is roughly 9 miles from from mid-town Manhattan. 9 miles would make a difference in many people’s commutes in any city. The OP is taking about a difference of 1.5 miles, which in certain cities may very well be on another transit line that doesn’t connect to the one most convenient to you, but it’s still not so far that it would likely have a negative impact on everyone’s commute.

            1. Zillah

              Sorry – I think I misread the original post. I thought the OP was saying 1.5 miles from the station, not from the old location.

              Still, though, my point stands: I don’t think that it’s at all reasonable to say that it’s “likely” that more people’s commutes were improved than negatively affected. People often choose their workplace in part based on the commute, and if the rent is cheaper, the new location is probably less accessible.

              The killer for the hypothetical Rockefeller Center vs. Forest Hills commute wouldn’t necessarily be the distance, anyway – if you were on the F or E (or M or R, I guess) lines, it’d just be an extra 20 minutes on your train – a pain, sure, but not a fiasco. However, having a distance to walk/take a shuttle once you got there would be a headache, and if you happened to be on any other lines, it would become a huge hassle that required multiple transfers. If you prefer, let’s use the hypothetical that the office moves from Forest Hills to Middle Village. That probably is about two miles, but it would be a massive hassle for most people using public transportation. There aren’t any subway lines that connect the two without going through Manhattan first, and most subway lines don’t go to Middle Village in the first place.

  6. HeyNonnyNonny

    I had this happen to me once– the company moved to a location about twice as far for me, although it was closer to others. I was able to get limited teleworking, but this was based on 1) I was an extremely high performer, 2) I had been at the company for a long time and had a great track record, and 3) our company work was very telework-friendly. I also framed it as a pilot program in case they wanted to give telework to other employees.

    I just wanted to let you know that some companies will work with you on something like this. Good luck!

    1. anon o

      I did that too when that happened to me (very similar situation to OPs only I had relocated from a different city a year earlier and had been told the office was going to move but was going to stay in the same area, which didn’t happen). I also had been at the company for a long time and I framed the discussion as: I’m not going to be able to work the long hours I currently do, can we come up with a solution for that? The best solution was teleworking. That did not work out very well but at least I had the option when I needed it.

  7. q

    I would also be wary of framing it as sacrificing your time, or anything like that. We’re not talking a change from a 15 minute commute to an hour, so take a gentle tack. I really like the shuttle idea – that’s something that can benefit many employees at a lower cost.

    I would also suggest looking around at other jobs, for research! If similar positions would mean a much longer commute, than it may not be something worth arguing over. On the other hand, if other companies routinely offer shuttle service or an easier commute, than I would go for it. But at least you would have some sort of base-line.

  8. Original Poster

    I’m the person who asked this question. In response to those who suggest a shuttle from the subway: there is a shuttle service provided by the new building and that’s precisely what is adding time to my commute. Its schedule is inconsistent (causing many missed connections and waiting on the sidewalk for another one to come along) and it spends a lot of time in rush hour traffic.

    I’ll propose the parking subsidy option and see what happens. Thanks AAM for the response!

        1. neverjaunty

          Exactly this. OP, your company is paying for that shuttle service, if not directly, then as part of the cost of the new location. If the shuttle service is not performing as promised, then your company is being cheated. Presenting that as the problem, which it is, will get you a lot farther than anything else.

        2. Bea W

          Great idea!

          This is why people will walk that distance to where I work. The city runs a special bus in the area connecting that major train station with the business area, but between the waiting and traffic, many people find it faster to walk the distance (which is about 1.5 miles) and use the bus when the weather is bad. My office is 3 blocks from another train station, but not one that conveniently connects to the line 1.5 miles up the street. Doing that would be longer than the 25 minute walk.

    1. MousyNon

      I realize an office move is incredibly inconvenient, but try to keep in mind while going through the steps in this process that it’s much better for an employer to cut costs by moving offices than laying off personnel! You don’t want any of that frustration bleeding through in your negotiation for a commute subsidy.

      1. Original Poster

        In response to those saying they’re sparing people layoffs: Yes, it’s a good thing for my employers to be saving money on rent. They’ve also been saving money on personnel, as roughly 25% of our staff (we are a small office) has quit in the past few years and they’ve chosen not to refill those positions. Instead, the remaining team has expanded their roles to cover the lost positions; and as far as I’m aware, none of the remaining employees have received raises or promotions that reflect the expansion of their roles. With all this considered, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to have decided to move to a smaller and more affordable office.

        I tried to avoid including too many specifics in my question just in case a coworker reads AAM, which is why some people seem to be pointing out holes in my commute. My current commute is a half mile walk to the train, about a half hour train ride (although delays are frequent), and then a 1.5 mile shuttle ride to the office which can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes, depending on traffic and whether the shuttle was on time.

        Driving to work would probably take 45-60 minutes in rush hour (it’s roughly 20 minutes without traffic) and would generally be less painful than walking in the winter/squishing onto the train/waiting for the shuttle, etc.

        I agree with those who say it may just be time to move on– I’ve been job hunting and hope to find something soon! But if it takes longer than I’d like, I figure there’s no harm in trying to work out a better commute.

        1. fposte

          And I think that many of us understand how frustrating this change would be, by the way; we’re just focusing more on the options practically available to you.

        2. Jax

          It sounds like the office move is just icing on the crap cake. The unpaid maternity leave, the workforce reduction, spreading out the work load over less people…all things you didn’t like but dealt with until this move made a rough situation even worse.

          I think you’re doing the right thing by job hunting. Either you’ll find a fabulous job that will fit with your new life, or you’ll find new perspective for your current job. Good luck!

          1. anonsymout

            isn’t all maternity leave unpaid? Everyone I know used vacation/sick time for it, and then ate the cost for the rest.

            1. JoAnna

              Some companies offer paid maternity leave. It’s rare, but they do exist. Others (like my own) provide the option of short-term disability insurance, which will generally cover 6-8 weeks of leave at 60-100% of pay. Some employers will also cover most/all of the premium for that STD insurance.

              1. Jamie

                Every place I’ve worked had some kind of STD which was 100% employer covered or completely employer self funded. IME it’s been between 75%-85% of salary. It’s a nice benefit to know if you have to be off for surgery, or maternity, or whatever that you have something coming in.

              2. Seattle Writer Gal

                When I was last pregnant, my employer was a small start-up that only just started offering STD when I was 2 months pregnant. Due to the 1-year waiting period before benefits kick in, I was ineligible to use my benefits for my maternity leave. The benefits woman literally said, “if you are pregnant right now, you will get nothing.” The company had also recently ‘revised’ their vacation policy so that I managed to lose a bunch of the time that I had earned. I was able to take exactly 1 day of paid vacation on my maternity leave.

                During that time I also discovered that even though I was on my spouse’s employer-sponored health plan, they did NOT extend STD to spouses. So I was SOL on both fronts. On the flip side, my husband’s company offered 1 month paid leave to ALL employees, regardless of gender, as well as the standard 12-week FMLA leave.

                Moral of the story: parental leave in America is pathetic.

                1. Jamie

                  I have never heard of STD being part of health coverage – they are separate policies or often self funded and don’t have anything do to with health insurance. I can’t imagine any company offering it to spouses any more than they’d offer vacation time to spouses.

                  It sucks that they revised your vacay policy so you lost it without it being paid out – it’s not right if you lost time accrued without compensation. May well be legal, but morally I have huge issues with that.

            2. fposte

              There are organizations that pay for maternity leave, even in the U.S.; an informal search suggests 16% of US employers offer it. So not the dominant model, but it does exist.

            3. Sal

              I get 3 months paid, and can then take vacay/comp for the rest (up to another 3 months, no questions asked). Past 6 months may be negotiable. I do have to pay my health insurance premium for any unpaid time, however. (Public interest lawyer in NYC. Feeling very lucky right now, as I wait with my colicky 11 week old in the ped’s office, that I don’t have to go back JUST as she’s coming out of the worst [knock on wood] of her misery, which has been near constant since she was four weeks old.)

          2. Bea W

            Totally was going to say the same thing, but in not such a great way as “icing on the crap cake”. Under normal circumstances the move probably would not have felt like such an imposition, but when you’re already looking because you’re unhappy with your employer, it’s just crap icing on top of crap.

        3. Sarah M.

          I’m confused why your commute is now so much longer now. Didn’t you previously have the same walk to the train and and train ride? All you have added is the shuttle, which seems to be the real issue. If it were consistent, then you would have added 10 minutes to your commute. It’s the inconsistency in the shuttle schedule that is the issue and that is what I would bring up with my manager.

          Also, I am with everyone else here is saying that commutes can change. It’s part of the working world.

          1. Zillah

            The OP may have to take a different train or make connections she didn’t previously have to. I have several train lines near me, and they vary from a five minute walk to a 25 minute walk.

    2. LBK

      What’s the route like from the shuttle pickup spot to the office/how cold is winter where you are? Is it feasible to just walk it if you miss the shuttle? I know in Boston I wouldn’t be too keen on walking a mile and a half in January but not sure if that’s more reasonable in your area.

      1. Beth

        I was thinking this too. I live in Chicago and used to walk .75 miles just to get to my train.. yes, some days it was painful when the windchill was -40, but in general, put on some long underwear and it’s bearable. If there are sidewalks and they are kept relatively well-shoveled/ice free, that is.

        1. LBK

          Yeah, that was my other thought – the commute may be doable distance-wise but not in terms of safety if there are no sidewalks.

        2. Purr purr purr

          I agree! Yesterday the bus I take from work stopped running for some reason. I walked 6km home in -13C but with windchill of -22C. I wear thermals under my clothes and with a hat, scarf and gloves, it wasn’t that bad. Standing around waiting for a bus definitely feels colder than just walking!

          1. Bea W

            The walking keeps you warm! I’d rather walk than stand around waiting for the bus in bad weather. At that distance, it is only worth it to me if the bus is coming in 5 minutes, much longer than that and the time it takes to get home evens out. 5 min waiting + 5 min bus + 5 min walking home = 15 min total. Walking time is not longer than 20 minutes. I might convince myself to wait up to 10 minutes for the bus if the weather is really bad (blowing sideways buckets of rain type bad), but longer than that and there’s no real benefit to standing around even in bad weather. It’s just prolonging any misery caused by being out in bad weather.

        3. Bea W

          I live in Boston and before the new station opened up, I was walking 1 mile plus to get my train. Sometimes I still do that, because if I miss the connection to the new train, I’m SOL for an hour. You have to dress for it. It’s actually not awful if you dress properly, but that really is the key to making it work. You have to go with function over fashion in choosing your outerwear. It’s not for everyone, but it’s more workable than people who can’t imagine doing it think.

    3. Deskjob

      I’m just curious about this – if the shuttle is stuck in bad rush hour traffic, how would driving in and taking advantage of parking subsidy help? Wouldn’t you still encounter the same traffic?

      1. HumbleOnion

        Not necessarily. Going from her home to the office might be a more direct route, or one with less congested roads.

      2. Zillah

        Not necessarily. The OP might approach from a different direction than the shuttle or take alternative routes (e.g., highway instead of local driving). She’d also have more ability to adjust her commute to deal with the traffic.

    4. Concerned

      Maybe mention this inconsistent schedule to upper-management. As they are paying for this service, and probably want to watch their money and keep employees happy, I assume they would want to have it fixed.

      1. HR Manager

        This is the exact problem with my building’s shuttle. No posted times, and so you can’t tell if you’ve missed it or if it’s running behind. But in all fairness, our office park is right off a highway exit and within walking distance of the nearby bus/subway station, so it is constant gridlock. It takes 10 minutes to walk from the station. It takes 10 minutes for the shuttle to get to the office (2 minutes driving, 8 minutes of traffic/lights/waiting). So unless it’s pouring or snowing outside, no one bothers to wait for the shuttle.

        1. Zillah

          NYC recently created something for their public transportation where you can look at where all the buses are on the route. It’s one of my favorite things ever.

          1. AmyNYC

            What app/thing are you using? I’ve given up completely on buses (since the posted times seem to mean NOTHING), but if this thing is accurate, it opens up a whole new world of travel!

            1. Zillah

              It’s just on the MTA’s website! If you have a smartphone, you can look it up any time. I’ll post the link under this. And, even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can find the number for the specific stop on the sign and text it to 511-123, which will give you distance.

              It’s literally one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I meet my bus rather than wait for it!

              1. Joe

                It’s not just on the web site, there is also an installable app, at least for iOS. I use it any time I’m thinking of taking a bus now.

            2. Melissa

              BusTime is actually really accurate. The posted times are pretty meaningless, but the app tells you about how many stops or miles away the next bus is.

          2. Blue_eyes

            Bus Time is the best! I was just telling someone at the bus stop about it the other day and she was amazed. It’s so much easier to wait when you know if the bus is getting close or if you should find another way to get there.

            1. Zillah

              It really is! No more guesswork. The only downside is if you’re near the end of a line, because you can’t always know how long the bus will sit before it turns around, but it’s a small price to pay. It’s so wonderful.

          3. Cath in Canada

            We have that in Vancouver too and it is THE BEST. Although there are some days when it feels like I’ve just transferred my frustration from “WHERE IS MY BUS?!” to “WHY IS MY BUS NOT MOVING?!”, most of the time it’s really useful and helps me decide which of the two possible routes to take home from downtown.

          4. Bea W

            There are a number of apps available for Boston that either display the time when the next bus will reach your stop and/or will show you the locations on a map. I passed the bus stop on the way to walking to the T, and would check the arrival times as I was leaving the house or as I was approaching the stop to decide if I would wait or just keep walking. My favorite app now is the one someone developed for the Commuter Rail that shows me where my train is at, and if I am at South Station, what track it is boarding on. If I’m short on time because Red Line delays (what else!), I can check the app for the track before I get there, and just head straight for it instead of having to stop and read the board. When you live 2 minutes down the road, knowing where your train is saves you from leaving too early and waiting too long in the freezing cold if it’s running on the late side, same with the bus and especially with the bus which is prone to getting stuck in traffic or runs on a posted schedule of “every 8 minutes or less”. The same app tells me approximately what time the subway is arriving also (Except for the Green Line, which is the one line that needs it the most!)

          5. Glor

            Washington state has it too! OneBusAway — it’s amazing and I love it! You can follow by route or by stop, and each stop tells you when the next bus is going to arrive — for every route! I really love that it’s most of the western part of the state, since it works from Lake Stevens/Everett to Redmond/Bellevue/Kirkland to Olympia.

            It has its hiccups, but it’s much better than the alternative [of no information at all]!

        2. Bea W

          This makes me appreciate my employer’s shuttle service which has a website that tracks all the vans by GPS, color coded by route.

    5. Meg Murry

      Can you ask about paying for parking and transit on a pre-tax basis? I worked at a place that offered commuter benefits through Wageworks where you could have money withdrawn pre-tax and then either get a subway/bus pass and/or parking debit card mailed to you. I’ll post a link in the next comment. It wouldn’t solve all of OPs problems, but it could help offset the costs if she chooses to drive in the winter, and all employees taking the subway or paying for parking could benefit.

      I was in a city that doesn’t have a huge public transit presence and it worked there (not NYC, Chicago, DC etc) so I imagine they work with most cities.

  9. LBK

    This is so timely – my department just moved offices as well. I almost thought it was written by one of my coworkers until I got to the new mother part since we don’t have one of those in our group.

    Unfortunately, I think this is kinda just something you have to suck up. I’m not sure I would continue to push, honestly, because you already got one accommodation. As a manager, coming back to me again and essentially saying “The last solution I proposed and you accepted turned out to actually not be as satisfying as I thought” would be a tough sell to me unless a) you were my best employee and b) I knew you’d be compensating in some way, ie potentially working more hours or cutting your small talk/internet time so I know your time in the office will be more efficient.

    In general, I don’t think commute length is something that’s appropriate to ask for accommodations for. One thing to consider is the flipside of this: if your commute had improved, would you be okay with your office now asking you to work more hours, give up a transportation subsidy or otherwise lose a benefit because now it doesn’t take you as long to get to work? My commute got dramatically reduced by our move (I can walk to work now) and I wouldn’t be too pleased if my manager told me I was now expected to be at work a half hour earlier because he knew my commute was shorter now.

    It’s kind of like salary: I don’t base your salary on your budget, I base it on the business needs and your value. Likewise, I don’t base your schedule and your benefits on your commute, I base it on business needs and your value.

    1. SJP

      THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS!! +1000

      I mentioned in the other post not so long ago about not sympathising on commute moans, but I really don’t and all for the above reasons. You put it so much better than I could have LBK!

      Suck it up as you say, or find a job which reduces the commute. I have to leave an hour early to travel 13 miles because of traffic. Sometimes it can be fine, other times it’s tailed back for miles. There is no public transport from where I leave to the city I work in.
      I asked to move my hours for a half hour later so I don’t have to leave at so early at red-eye O’clock in the morning and they did that, but i’d never ask for more accommodation to that whether I had a child or not

      1. Bea W

        Red-eye o’clock – the hour that comes just after 0-dark-thirty and before the butt-crack of dawn.

    2. Dan

      I guess it depends on how “personal” it is. If my commute improved, but my boss singled me out for longer hours, I’d be pissed. In the OP’s case, many people are affected. Some the solutions suggested are “group” solutions, others are individual solutions.

      The only counterargument that I have is that I make these decisions as part of a “package” deal. Whether or not I take a job is based on what it pays, what my commute is like, and what my housing costs are.

      My office moving closer to me, and then my boss telling me that nobody is getting raises this year? Hm. Maybe an ok trade for me. My office moving closer to me, and only *I* have to work longer hours or forgo a raise? Different story.

      Moving from an office conveniently located to public transportation to one that is not is a rather material change in the terms of employment. Say my office moved to the suburbs and I now had to buy a car. While it’s unreasonable for the company to outright buy me a car, I’d have to leave if we couldn’t work something out that is acceptable to both of us. Them’s the shakes.

      1. fposte

        I also think we’ve had posts where the OPs have factored the ease of commute into a job decision and then soon after joining the organization had that factor evaporate (I think there was somebody working at a health care center with exactly this not that long ago); that can mean the employee would have made a different decision, which sucks.

        I guess what I’m saying is that I agree that the company doesn’t owe an employee anything for moving–nobody’s entitled to the commute they have or want–but it’s also perfectly reasonable for employees to consider an onerous change in commute to tip the balance on whether a job’s worth it to them or not.

    3. Z

      This is silly. My office bases transit subsidies on how far away people live from the office, someone who moved closer or changed transit methods (i.e. the bike subsidy is less than the subway subsidy) would absolutely receive less. I think you haven’t thought this through and you just want to accuse OP of being entitled.

      1. Poe

        This is the first time I have ever heard of a transit subsidy being based on how far you live from the office, and I have worked for several employers with various parking/bike/public transport subsidies/arrangements/loans, so I’m not sure this is all that common.

        1. LBK

          Yeah…that doesn’t mesh with my experience either. Maybe in a one-off circumstance where a star performer negotiates themselves a free train pass or something, but I’ve never heard it as a matter of policy.

          We have it set up now where you get your cost subsidized up to a cap, but obviously they only cover what you pay. The cap is $150, so my $75 T pass is fully covered, but a $225 commuter rail pass wouldn’t be. Is that what you mean? I don’t think anyone is suggesting that every employee should be getting $X to spend on commuting and they get to pocket the difference if it doesn’t cost the full amount.

          1. TL -

            My workplace covers about half of whatever pass you need – so half of a commuter rail pass is over $100, but they’ll only cover $35ish for the T pass.

            So technically, they do cover more for the ones that live farther away, but percentage wise, everything remains the same.
            (Although they now want to do a thing where if you pay for parking, you get a free T pass, which is irritating me to no end.)

          2. Z

            No one gets anything that covers the full amount, it’s ~65 if you live more than 10 miles away and ~35 if you live less. There’s a smaller subsidy for bikers and a parking program too.

            1. LBK

              That’s the first time I’ve heard of a benefit like that where it’s actually based on the distance you live from the office. I think it’s much more common to base it on whatever the cost of your preferred method of travel is up to a cap – so if you want to drive you can use it towards parking, and if you take the train you can use it for your pass.

              So yeah, if the OP’s commuting benefits worked like yours, then obviously they would lose a part of the transit subsidy if the office were closer. However, that doesn’t counter my overall point, which is that in general the length of your commute is not something that your manager should have to take into account. It’s part of your terms of employment.

        2. Bea W

          Our public transit subsidy is a percentage of the fare. So whether you just need a bus pass or you need the Zone 10 rail pass, your subsidy is XX% (up to a max of several hundred dollars). So technically the person coming from farther away gets more $$ in subsidy, but they are also paying more $$ in fare even with the subsidy, and it’s still the same % for everyone.

      2. Lily in NYC

        C’mon now, something no one else has heard of does not make LBK’s comment silly. Be nice.

        1. olives

          I’ve heard of it – my office does it too. I don’t think that makes the comment “not nice.”

  10. Celeste

    I agree that you can certainly ask; after all, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Maybe they aren’t subsidizing parking because they didn’t really think about it. I pay twice that fee per year (18 years now) to park for my job. I wish it could be different here, but it really can’t.

    I think you have to decide how badly you want to keep this particular job. Maybe with a small child, you’d actually prefer something that lets you work from home if you could find it. This might just be that season of your life when you want to make some changes.

    I just don’t think it’s reasonable to be angry at the employer for moving your cheese. They had expenses related to the move, so it’s not like this is just a money-making venture for them. Businesses do have to watch the bottom line to keep the doors open. It’s no different than you calculating your own cost of doing business with them. I’m sure they wouldn’t be angry with you if you decided you needed to move on because of it; it’s just business.

    Good luck with it all; I’d love to hear what eventually works out for you!

  11. Cheeky

    Two years ago, my company moved my office to a business park in another city, about 15 miles. Our new office is lovely, and there are decent public transit options. The move improved my commute, but made many of my coworkers’ commutes worse. Two years later, people are STILL bellyaching over it. It drives me crazy to hear people complain. My views are, if you live in a metropolitan area, chances are you will have some sort of commute. If you don’t like it, find a new job. I have NO sympathy. I’ve had good commutes and bad ones. My bottom line, though, is to be happy with being employed.

    Also, your employer is saving huge money. That’s a good thing for employees. Lower overhead frees up money for other things- like keeping employees.

    1. Jerry Vandesic

      I’m going to have to disagree with both points. Being happy with simply being employed is silly. If they cut your pay or demoted or somehow made the job less than what you had before means that you have every right to be unhappy. At that point you need to decide if you want to look for something new, and leave when you find it. In the meantime, bitching about it is not unreasonable.

      The second point doesn’t hold water either. The employer saving money doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the employees. The owners might simply pocket the savings; they don’t have to spend it on the employees.

  12. LoFlo

    One question I would ask is if any parking spots came with the new office location lease. Perhaps a few slots in the building came with the lease and they are not being used by the company.

    Also on nicer days could you ride your bike from the subway to your office? Where I live it is not unusual to see hardcore bike commuters in sub zero temperatures and significant snowfalls. Our bus system has bike racks for people who use a combination of mass transit and biking.

  13. soitgoes

    It sounds like this move happened while the OP was on maternity leave, which IMO puts her in a position of….walking into a room full of people playing poker and asking them to switch to rummy. Or at least appearing to. Her first day back at work was in this new office. To be honest, this is one of those weird city-centric questions that’s hard to crowd-source; people in the suburbs routinely drive more than 6.5 miles to work every day, and there’s no bitterness over not having access to public transportation. In fact, I’d guess that most of us here would kill for a 6.5 mile commute.

    Which makes me kind of question the information as it’s presented in the letter. It does not take 75 minutes to drive 6.5 miles. The best solution is to ask the employer to work out some kind of parking situation. The other proposed solutions make the OP look like she’s creating a problem and presenting “why don’t you let me stay home with my kid more?” as the only solution. If this isn’t what’s going on, I apologize, but I see a lot of holes in this letter, and the overriding theme is that the OP is looking for a way to argue that she should work less because of her baby.

    1. LBK

      It sounds like public transportation is what’s taking 75 minutes, not driving. That’s total understandable if you have to switch lines.

    2. Heather

      It does not take 75 minutes to drive 6.5 miles.

      During a really bad rush hour, it could take that long just to get through the Lincoln Tunnel. (Unless of course you’re Buddy the Elf and you’re walking it after your trip through the land of swirly twirly gumdrops.)

      1. soitgoes

        That’s true, but that’s the part of the commute that hasn’t changed. The issue is that the business moved to a further NYC borough (or equivalent if this isn’t NYC). If the OP always commuted from NJ into the city, she can’t frame it as the PATH schedule or the tunnel traffic suddenly being a problem.

        1. Melissa

          OP didn’t say that the office was in a new borough, though. The new office is only 1.5 miles away, which I think actually makes it unlikely it’s in a different borough. It’s just in a less convenient spot wrt public transit.

        2. Heather

          We don’t know that the OP is coming from NJ into Manhattan. I was just using it as an example and an excuse to make an Elf reference.

      2. Jamie

        I love you for the Elf reference. And now I want some maple syrup and spaghetti.

        When I was younger I didn’t understand shows like Mad About You and Friends where people who were clearly doing alright financially didn’t have cars. This explains it.

        1. soitgoes

          People tend to think of NYC as the quintessential American city, but that title actually goes to LA, since people in LA still have to drive like the rest of us.

    3. Jamie

      Her commute is so long because of public transpiration, though. I can see how a 6.5 mile commute could take that long if you have to transfer and stuff – I know a lot of people like it but it does take a lot longer.

      I work near a major sporting arena and a couple of years ago my kids looked up the public transportation options to get there to use some tickets I got them. It was about 2.25 hours – a train and two buses and this didn’t include the trek to the metra station in our town as I would have dropped them off. This is about an hour longer than it usually takes me to get to work.

      Public transportation has a lot of benefits, but saving time doesn’t seem to be one of them from what I’ve seen (in my area at least.)

      1. soitgoes

        Then I fail to see how this is a new problem. 75 minutes seems like a pretty standard city commute. The OP just wants more time with her kid and is trying to find a workaround that eliminates solutions that still require her to go to work.

        1. LBK

          It’s not that it’s an unreasonable commute length, it’s that it’s twice as long as it used to be. A half hour difference is considerable, so even if the total time isn’t crazy it’s not what the OP signed up for. I don’t think it’s odd to be miffed by the change.

          1. soitgoes

            This is just what happens when you live and work in the city though. I understand and empathize with being annoyed at the change, but perhaps this might be a good starting point for wondering if this urban job and lifestyle are really right for the OP. The commute was always going to stick in her craw, even if it was still 40 minutes long. If she wants to stay home with the baby, then that’s just where her head is at right now and maybe she should consider working closer to home if she’s worried about not spending time with her child.

            1. Original Poster

              No, the commute wouldn’t stick in my craw if it remained 40 minutes. That’s what I signed up for when I took the job.

            2. LBK

              The commute was always going to stick in her craw, even if it was still 40 minutes long.

              Huh? I don’t get this sense at all. She actually says she has no problem with the new commute it in the summer since it’s about the same via bike. Not sure where you’re getting this from.

          2. Spooky

            It is a considerable change, but the company has already considered it and decided it was worth it. Plus they’ve given her one concession. Now OP needs to consider if she takes it like it is or looks for something else. I doubt they’re going to do much more than they already have.

      2. SevenSixOne

        I work in Downtown Major US City in a building I can see from my bedroom window. It’s a 4 mile drive that takes me about 1o minutes… but that same trip by bus would take almost an hour (or almost as long as it would take to walk) because public transportation in my city is a joke.

        1. TL -

          Yup. When I lived in Austin, and worked out in one of the nearby small towns, I had about a 45 minute commute of 40-ish miles.

          One of my friends had a 45 minute commute of about 5 miles because he took the bus. (driving-wise, it was about 10 minutes)

      3. AnonEMoose

        I’m currently fortunate in this respect. I live about a ten minute walk from a train station. If I time it right, my commute from my front door to my office door is right about 30 minutes, and the train drops me off a block from my office building. Plus my employer pays for half the transit pass every month, which is wonderful.

        If I drove, by the time I got through traffic, parked somewhere affordable, and got to work, it would be at least 30 minutes, maybe a bit more. Sometimes when it’s nasty out, the walk to the train station isn’t fun, but it beats driving – which would be even less fun in bad weather – and is far, far cheaper. Especially because it means that my husband and I can get by with one car and not have to maintain two.

      4. Bea W

        My commute 30-40 by train (30 is using the one closest to me and getting an instant connection), 60 by car, maybe 45 on a good day, and definitely more on the worst days. It’s only about 7 miles, but it’s all city streets, lights, gridlock, and a garage that goes into the bowels of hell.

        1. Jean

          “and a garage that goes into the bowels of hell”
          Thanks for this phrase. It is going into my vocabulary along with “crap icing on the crap cake.”

    4. Diet Coke Addict

      Even driving a mile and a half in a very dense city can take forever–40 minutes? An hour? Absolutely. I don’t think we need to pick apart everything OP’s say in order to take the whole of their letter and respond to that, rather than pointing out “holes.”

      1. soitgoes

        I don’t think it’s wrong to strip away certain aspects of language and view the central point of the letter as “I’m annoyed by a change that was implemented while I was away doing something voluntary.” Wanting to stay home with your child is a valid choice to make, but I bristle at trying to shoehorn it into something of an objective concern. As soon as she mentioned having a baby, all of the other logic faded away for me; it was clear to me what she really wanted.

        1. LBK

          That seems like an extremely unfair judgment. As someone who doesn’t plan to have children I also tend to bristle at people who want special treatment due to having kids, but I don’t see that as the main motivating concern here. I think you’re reading too much into it.

        2. KerryOwl

          As soon as she mentioned having a baby, all of the other logic faded away for me

          I think that says just as much about you as it does about the OP.

          1. soitgoes

            That’s fair, but it’s also why Alison told her not to bring her new motherhood into the conversation: it isn’t relevant, and it weakens her case.

            1. Zillah

              It isn’t relevant to them, but the OP mentioned it to Alison, not her employers. We can say “No, don’t bring it up” without taking her head off for asking if it’s appropriate.

              1. Kelly L.

                This. That’s part of what this blog is here for–it’s a buffer between us and the mistakes we might otherwise make in front of our bosses. ;)

        3. Bend & Snap

          “it was clear to me what she really wanted”

          Ummmm she wanted a manageable commute? Partially in order to have better work life balance?

          How outrageous.

        4. beyonce pad thai

          That’s on you, then, because that’s not in the letter at all. I hope you don’t treat new parents in your workplace like this.

        5. Diet Coke Addict

          I think you are absolutely overstating that. It is possible to have a baby and still have actual concerns about things like commuting and work times, you know. Not all parents are permanently on child mode, and it’s really not fair to boil down every parental complaint to “well, they have kids, that was their choice, ignore their problems.”

          1. sam

            seriously. I don’t have/want kids, but I’m also in favor of not having a hellish commute. I worked for a while up in the ‘burbs, commuting by train from the city, and it was 2 hours door-to-door each way. The job was relatively nice and stable (generally 9:30-5:30), unlike my current job which has crazier hours, but the commute could make me crazy in and of itself.

            A lot of the time I just rolled with the flow, and read a lot of books, but trying to do anything that involved having to schedule something in the city (like a doctor’s appointment, or theater plans) required ridiculous amounts of planning and possibly taking a PTO day because I’d end up missing the last shuttle from the train station to the office. Whereas now, I can just duck out of the office for an hour. There’s no “ducking out” when your 40 miles away!

            And don’t even get me started on when the trains would just…stop running.

        6. LawBee

          I think you’re reading a desire to stay home into the story – OP doesn’t want to be a S@H mom (at least, her letter doesn’t indicate that), she doesn’t like her commute being doubled.

          HAViNG SAID THAT – OP, this entire thread is a really good example of why you don’t want to bring up the new mom aspect of your complaint.

        7. Colette

          That really says more about you than it does about her.

          I’d be quite annoyed if my workplace moved twice as far away from where I live (by time if not distance). One of the things I screen for when job hunting is location, because I don’t want a long commute.

        8. aebhel

          “As soon as she mentioned having a baby, I decided to project my own prejudices onto her letter and completely make shit up that the OP didn’t even remotely say.”

          Fixed that for you.

      2. Clever Name

        Yes. Can we just take OP’s concerns about her commute at face value and troubleshoot that rather than pointing out “holes” in her story? If the OP says the new commute is problematic for her, it’s problematic for her.

          1. soitgoes

            In all honesty, the “precious time with my child” thing didn’t ring a little overwrought? That phrasing really pinged for me.

            1. Zillah

              It is precious to her, and that’s okay. Regardless, it doesn’t help anyone to dissect the OP’s word choice like this – and, moreover, Alison has specifically asked us to stop doing so in the recent past.

        1. Steve G

          I agree, especially because her concern is warranted to me. wasting an additional 3.5hrs a week isn’t necessarily a big deal to me since I make good money, but if I didn’t, that would be a problem. Also, walking more than a mile from the subway every day is gonna get boring!

    5. Purr purr purr

      It takes me 90 minutes to go 10km (about 6 miles). I have to take two buses and the schedules don’t mesh so I’m often waiting in the cold while I change bus. I can believe the OP with that.

  14. Alexandra, PHR

    As an HR Manager, I would be very put out if anyone would bring this up. A company decision was made to move to save money. The move is only 1.5 miles away.

    However, putting in the idea of a shuttle wouldn’t be a bad idea, but depending on how big the company is, may not be easy or feasable. (Insurance, liability, cost, etc.)

    1. Zillah

      Just a point – in a city, 1.5 miles away can be a significant stretch of time. It’s not helpful to think solely in terms of mileage.

      1. Adam

        Word. My city’s public transportation system is pretty extensive, but with waiting for buses/trains, catching transfers, frequent stops, and walking in-between distances I figure that going anywhere by public transit is going to take just as long if not longer than individual means.

        And that’s ignoring having to stand around in less than comfortable weather and hoping for a decent traffic day as with our road system a bad traffic day is bad for everybody. The high occupancy lanes don’t make a whit of difference then and barely do on a good day. Really about the only benefit of taking public transit is it saves on various car expenses.

  15. JC

    I work in a city, and I feel like at my employer, asking for a parking subsidy would be seen as weirder than asking for a modification of your schedule (because people get subsidies for riding public transit to encourage public transit use, and because parking spots are limited). So YMMV on that one.

    Is regular telework (e.g., 1 day a week) a thing that would help and that would be an ok thing to ask for at your employer? Where I am, that would be the most reasonable accommodation to ask for. But all of this varies by employer.

    1. Poe

      One HUGE thing with telework though is to make sure that you understand that you still need childcare for that time. I know that staying at home wasn’t really brought up in this letter, but we had someone at Old Job who requested teleworking 1 day per week when she came back from maternity leave and while she was technically on the clock, it was clear that she was home alone with baby. A lot of people have probably had this experience, so you have to be extra-careful requesting a work-from-home day(s) right back from mat leave. It might not be fair, but work isn’t fair.

      1. Observer

        It doesn’t sound like this would be a problem for the OP, though. Her issue is the commute – not the work time absence from home. And, if she teleworked one day a week, it would simple enough to keep the same childcare in place.

  16. Illini02

    I’m also of the mind that your commute isn’t the problem of your employer. I get that change can suck, but you have already gotten one accommodation, and now you want more. I think you either deal with what you have or find a new job.

  17. MR

    If a company is saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent by relocating, they aren’t going to care what an employee thinks of the move.

    You may be able to work things out with your manager as Alison states above, but other than that, it’s just another condition of your employment.

  18. HR Manager

    If there is a subway, I assume the OP is in a busy metropolitan area – and traffic will stink, even if you live close. In my old work ‘hood, folks living 3-4 miles away had a 40 minute commute by car because of the traffic patters, lights and congestion. Why they didn’t take subway or a bus, is beyond me (or bike, walk..).

    Unfortunately, with office moves, thems the breaks. When we used to be in city-central, we had peeps commute in from way miles away and still get here in an hour. The co. decided to move up north a bit – a few stops on the train – but it meant the commuters from the south had to fight up to city traffic and then THRU city traffic which was nuts. Most were and still scream bloody murder about it, I hear. Those up north loved it; you just can’t please everyone with this type of move.

  19. Spooky

    I have to admit, I chuckled when I read this post. I come from Atlanta, and I along with the vast majority of the people I worked with made longer commutes than this every day for years. 1 hour and 15 minutes may suck, but it really isn’t that unreasonable or uncommon.

    1. Recent Grad

      Opposite situation here: I have a 15 minute commute and live “far out.” I also live in a smallish (110,000) geographically isolated city. I couldn’t imagine a 75 minute commute! OP, you have my sympathy.

    2. beyonce pad thai

      I don’t know how you do it! I had a hour and a half commute for about a year and it made me so miserable.

    3. HR Manager

      Atlanta is known for it’s sprawl. I don’t think commutes longer than 75 minutes each way is the norm for most of the US. Have I heard worse – yes. A poor co-worker used to work out in western MA, and commuted 2 hrs each way (eep!!). But I think those are the exceptions.

      1. Melissa

        It’s really not the norm for Atlanta either, though. The average commute in Atlanta is 34 minutes, and the percentage of people who commute 90 minutes or more is less than 1%. I’m from Atlanta too, and even most people I know who work in the city commute about 30-45 minutes each way.

  20. Bob

    As one point of reference, were this to happen in my office, a parking subsidy would be completely out of the question, and would result in embarassment for everyone involved that someone was so naive as to ask. That is Not Done here.

    A four-day work week, depending on the work, with longer hours each day is a definite possibility, although more likely would be one day off every two weeks, with a longer schedule each of the nine days at work.

    Leaving early every day would be possible, if the employee was willing to take a pay-cut of the same percentage of time they were away from the office. Whether an hourly or salaried employee, this would be the case.

    Of course, I do not meant to say every office is like this.

    1. some1

      “As one point of reference, were this to happen in my office, a parking subsidy would be completely out of the question, and would result in embarassment for everyone involved that someone was so naive as to ask. That is Not Done here.”

      +1. I mentioned this above, but I worked somewhere that moved locations and the (very senior) people who got any part of the parking paid were told about it — the rest of the staff were invited to sign up for an FSA that they could put towards public transit or parking.

  21. Beth

    My company offers pre-tax transit benefits, so my transit pass comes directly out of my paycheck. I don’t own a car, but it would also cover something in the neighborhood of $250 in parking (this changes every year because it’s some sort of federal law). Your employer may already offer this benefit, or you could suggest it to them. It’s not technically a subsidy but it would save you some money for sure.

  22. Bend & Snap

    I feel you OP. My former company moved 3 times in 5 years to increasingly inconvenient locations. I talked to my boss about accommodations (remote work 2 days a week) for my new, hellacious commute and he said, “Sorry, you live where you live. You can come in early and work late to avoid traffic.” Ummm ok thanks, my living situation was partly based on my commute. It was about an hour each way when I started and 2.5 hours each way after the third move. Not sustainable at all.

    This was one of many things that triggered my job hunt and leaving was a very smart thing.

    Yes, companies move, but I think some sensitivity to how it affects employees is always a good thing. Small accommodations go a long way when employers change the game.

    1. Ann O'Nemity

      Yes, companies move, but I think some sensitivity to how it affects employees is always a good thing.

      This is a good point. I think that employees are responsible for their own commute, but I also think that things like convenient location, transportation accommodations, etc can have an effect on attracting and retaining top employees. If a company moves to an inconvenient location without good public transportation options and tells their employees “tough luck,” they shouldn’t be surprised when some of those employees start looking for better employment options.

      1. K.

        My company moved before I got there, to a suburb I had never heard of to which there is no public transportation. Basically you either live in that town or you drive 40+ minutes from varying directions. (My team and I all have commutes that range from 40 to 90 minutes. Mine is 45 minutes, which is as long as I am willing to go.) It lost many people as a result of the move – there were some people whose commutes went from “4 traffic lights” to over an hour. And gas isn’t free, so the move actively cost some people money. (Someone told me she spends $700 a month on gas and tolls – I was like “Get a Prius!”) I totally get that and would have started job-hunting if a move meant my commute were going to be that long, because I wouldn’t even apply for a job 90 minutes away. I had a 90-minute-each-way
        commute (on public transportation) and I simply will not do that again. It made me miserable. It’s a deal-breaker.

        Conversely, one of my coworkers is constantly complaining about her commute – but SHE moved further from work about six months ago. Her long commute is entirely of her own making, and while we want to live where we want to live (I’d never live in the town my office is in; I reverse commute from the city), the fact that where she wants to live is 40 miles away isn’t the company’s problem, nor are they required to make special accommodations for her (which they don’t, which she complains about).

    2. themmases

      I agree. I worked for an organization that moved. We had years of warning because we were building a new facility, lots of communication about new and old transportation options, and while some people don’t like it most stayed and have a commute that’s acceptable to them. Even more than the advance notice, I think two things made the difference: the change was likely to be neutral-to-positive for everyone’s commutes overall; and we had a clear organizational reason to move that everyone knew about and mostly supported.

      My employer moved to a more central area, which upset car drivers due to cost and traffic. But the area was so central that many more people could reasonably take public transportation, and people who already used it had a commute that was the same or better due to going to a better-connected part of the city. In contrast the OP’s office moved from a place designed to encourage one mode of transportation to a location that discourages it. Probably lots of people incurred cost and inconvenience due to the change, regardless of where they live, because it’s in the nature of public transportation that being connected is often better than being physically closer. If there’s no benefit to the new location for this place’s existing and potential employees, their hiring and retention will reflect that eventually.

      It also sounds like there wasn’t communication about the reason for the move and employees have just been left to gossip and speculate. Maybe that’s just because OP was away, but if the bookkeeper is gossiping too then it sounds like she isn’t the only one who didn’t get a satisfying public reason for the move. If a big change like that inconveniences people and doesn’t have a clear reason that leadership will make public, I don’t think the people affected are under any obligation to assume it was done out of some noble effort to benefit them– except maybe to protect their mental health while they look for new jobs.

  23. Allison

    Have you considered asking to work from home once or twice a week? You’d be doing the same commute, but slightly less often, and it would allow you a little more time with your child.

  24. CG

    Coming from a facilities standpoint, there are tons of reasons your office might have moved, and while some of them may have to do with money (which is a huge thing but is still generally not about lining someone’s pockets), there are plenty of reasons that don’t. Maybe your office got booted out of their space because their lease ended and the landlord opted not to extend. Maybe you were expanding and didn’t have options for moving into more or a bigger space at your old building, so management opted to keep everyone together rather than splitting the office in two. Maybe management and landlord didn’t get along and the lease got terminated.

    What I’m saying is that it’s pretty short sighted of you to assume that this was about money and that management didn’t think about how it would effect employees. There were probably six months or more of just discussion, and then they found the best option for your company. Unless you have strong reason to believe that there’s just an entire echelon of money grubbing scumbags, maybe let up a bit on the “woe is me” attitude.

  25. Patricia

    Is telecommuting an option? I started this a couple of months ago, and it has been wonderful. I go in to the office Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and work from home the other days. When I presented it to my employer, I asked for those days, because I knew how it would appear if I was never there on Mondays/Fridays. (Working from home. Sure you are…). And I didn’t want my co-workers complaining. The nature of my job made it possible. Honestly, I produce more work product in 6 hours at home than I can in 10 hours at the office. Nobody stopping by to chat, no “can you help me with?”, etc. As long as I have my cell phone and computer on during office hours, I can work what fits my schedule. Some days I start at 5:30 am, and have zero guilt when I stop at 2:30 pm.

    Just a suggestion.

  26. Sutemi

    Have you looked into what gear might be possible to extend the number of days you can bike?
    I use bar mitts (LOVE!), waterproof pants shell, face masks, tights, and goggles so that I can bike to work all but 6-8 weeks a year living in Boston, depending on snowfall patterns. Cold does not stop me, snow does. I will be taking the subway (and at least doubling my commute time) once the snow piles up, but I can deal with a long commute when it is only 2 months out of the year.

    1. Cath in Canada

      I had a truly fantastic ride to work in subzero temperatures yesterday – but there was no snow on the ground and (apart from the small patches of ice, which were very easy to see in blazing sunshine) the roads were bone dry. If the OP lives somewhere that has snow/slush on the ground for weeks or even months at a time, cycling just won’t be a safe option without a serious investment in winter gear. I know someone who lives in Alaska and bike-commutes year-round with studded tires, but she’s weird ;)

      I also once snowshoed to work and back, which was awesome but I wouldn’t want to do it very often! (We had a massive dump of snow that paralysed the city. My bus route to work at the time was on one of the steepest hills in the city, and that’s saying a lot, so nothing was moving at all. The snow was too deep to walk easily on it, but I snowshoed 7km no problem at all and everyone in the office and who I saw on the streets thought it was hilarious. A couple of people cross-country skied in, too!).

      1. Melissa

        Ugh, I drove in freezing rain for the first time today (I’m from Atlanta, lived in NYC but didn’t have to drive, now in small-town central PA). Not. Fun.

  27. Sandrine (France)

    While I feel for the OP, considering my current commute should I find a job, 1 hour and 15 minutes would be a dream.

    At the beginning of the year I found my first apartment, and I really needed to move out. So I did and figured once current Fiancé found a permanent job, we could move to a nicer place.

    Problem ? It takes me about 2 hours each way to reach Paris (I live in the suburbs) . So in one day, it means 4 hours of public transportation… when it all runs right (and it often doesn’t) .

    So that means that *I* have to find a solution to move again if I want a decent job. Because employers aren’t likely to hire me now.

    So yeah :( .

    1. beyonce pad thai

      Aren’t there any jobs outside of Paris? (Speaking as a recent expat transplant working & living inside the city borders, I have basically no idea what’s out there!)

    2. Clever Name

      “So that means that *I* have to find a solution to move again if I want a decent job. Because employers aren’t likely to hire me now.”

      Why? Maybe the US is different, but employers typically don’t care where you live when you’re applying for jobs. I did have one interviewer ask me about a commute from one city to another, and I just shrugged my shoulders and said I could handle it. I worked there 2 years (with my long commute) until I moved out of state.

      1. Sandrine (France)

        beyonce pad thai : there are sometimes, but there are a few I wish to apply to that won’t even think about it

        Clever Name : The problem is that I don’t have a car and rely exlusively on public transportation. Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad things were when I moved in, but since February, I had 4 days where I physically could not take any trains (strikes) , then another day someone is on the tracks so they have to delay trains, then another day someone does something stupid, then something else, and something else. We now joke that it’s kinda rare that the trains work as scheduled on the posters in the stations.

        So employers will look at my resume, know exactly what line and what station I use, and will go “Nopes” .

        Examples for my station to X destination:
        – Disney Paris : 2h11mins (if I got a job there again, make that 2h30min since you have to get in and put a costume on)
        – Eiffel Tower : 1h31 minutes (not as bad as I imagined, haha)
        – Roissy Aiport : 2h9mins
        – Orly Airport : 1h47mins

        If I want to go to the unemployment office, BAM, over 2 hours and a half as well. Turn that into 3 hours if there is a problem with the connection.

        I know things are going to change soon-ish, but still, it makes me mad. Mad that it takes so long and that you can spend as long as an entire work day on transportation, mad that even if I make the effort many employers won’t like it… and also, I can’t be so far away from Paris for too long, I can’t even function properly (utilities like grocery store, post office, bank… social life :P … ) .

        Oh well. Enough rambling :p

    1. beyonce pad thai

      Her commute doubled in time. Sorry you have it worse, but that doesn’t make her letter not valid.

      1. IHaveAReallyLongCommute

        Sorry, I just wish I lived 6.5 miles from the office, my commute is almost 70 miles each way. The only benefit that I have is a flex schedule which enables me to avoid traffic (most of the time). The OP mentions that her colleagues have a different schedule, I just wonder how much different is their commute experience than hers…

        1. Beyonce pad thai

          Oh I get that! I used to have a killer long commute. Then I moved to a different city and chose to pay a higher rent to live close to work, I’d be real miffed if my awesome commute doubled because worm moved though!

    2. cv

      I’ve lived all over the country. When I lived in the southern part of the bay area and everyone drove to work and most people took the highway, 6.5 miles was considered really short. I now live in Boston, which is a very dense city with narrow streets and bad traffic, and 6.5 miles is the opposite side of the city from where I live. That could easily be a 30+ minute commute driving, never mind transit.

      1. TL -

        Eh, I live a little south of Boston and work a little north of Boston and my time on the T is about 30 minutes, plus about 10 minutes of walking. Driving to work (which I’ve only done a few times) is about 45 minutes (though I’ve never done the drive home at rush hour). But I don’t have to navigate a lot of city street traffic; just a straight shot on the highway.

        1. bad at online naming

          Also Boston area here!

          3.2ish miles as the crow flies = 45 minutes on a good day, 65 minutes on a bad day. Gotta love bus transfers. (And if that doubled I would immediately start job looking.)

        2. Bea W

          I can pretty much guess where you live and where you work, and having lived in the same area all but the last 8 years of my life (when I moved into Boston proper) and working in the same area north, you are best off sticking with the T for that commute. I think the drive home is worse than the drive to work. Coming from the south you can skirt around the SE Distressway if it’s really bad, and I knew all the alternate routes between home and the tunnel if I had to make a quick exit to keep from going insane. Coming in the opposite direction (work to home), you don’t really don’t have good options for alternate routes to get around the worst of it. If it’s bad…well I really hope you like tunnels.

          1. Bea W

            LOL I checked out your blog which you linked. You’re somewhere in between my old place and my brother’s (formerly our grandparents’) house and we commute to the same T stop for work. Don’t drive home in rush hour. It’s awful. Awful. Awful. Awful. You are in a great spot for your commute, T straight in and back for work hours and a quick drive on the off hours.

    3. Chuchundra

      It’s not about this distance. It’s about the time of the commute.

      My commute is 30 miles each way, but it only takes me about 40 minutes. OP’s commute is 75 minutes, which is a pretty significant chunk of time.

      1. kirby

        The question is: do the OP’s colleagues have a different commute experience? If they also have problems, then they could get some type of collective benefit out of it, if this is a problem that is just experienced by the OP then is going to be very hard to get management to help you out…

      2. Windchime

        Seattle is 30 miles away from the town I live in, and today the reader board on the freeway said that it would take 98 minutes to get there. And that’s just getting to the edge of the city; if you actually want to go someplace *in* the city, you have to add more time. I know people who make that commute every day and I don’t know how they do it.

    4. College Career Counselor

      As many have said, it’s not the length of the commute, it’s the time involved and the perception of the commuter. I had a commute of just under 8 miles that took me between 40 and 60 minutes, depending on traffic and weather. Why, you ask? Suburban/Exurban area with TWENTY-SEVEN lights and FIFTEEN stop signs from my house to my office. I got really good at finding sneaky ways to keep moving, but there’s a limit to what you can do to improve your time over that system. Gridlock while watching the light cycle ahead of you 4x and not moving is a special kind of hell.

      I moved from that situation to a 14 mile commute (different state) that was 90% interstate and many of my colleagues looked askance at my desire to live that far away from work. “Don’t you hate that long commute?” Pffft. Took me 20 minutes on a bad day and gave me back at least five hours of my time per week.

      1. Windchime

        When I used to live on the other side of the state, I had a 15 mile commute that took…..about 17 minutes. They put in a couple of stoplights and that slowed things down somewhat. Now I live 9 miles from work and I can get there in about 20 minutes if I avoid rush hour, 30 minutes if I have to deal with traffic. Still not too bad, but it’s hard to shake the notion that I should be able to get there in about 11 minutes if I was going by Eastern WA traffic-math.

  28. Joey

    Frankly, I’d think less of anyone who had the blind sightedness to ask for a special commute accommodation. Unless you’re so skilled that the market lets you act like a diva I think it’s an inappropriate ask.

    Because the location of your job is just an inherant part of the job that everyone else also has to deal with. besides, don’t most companies consider getting to and from work the most basic of expectations?

    1. Lily in NYC

      That’s a bit harsh. It really depends on what they ask. A flexible start time isn’t that big a deal, especially if it’s a good employee. But subsidizing parking seeems like a bit much.

      1. Joey

        well except flex time is typically a one off request. The problem with a flex time request is that everyone else is in the same boat which makes it a whole lot tougher to say no to others.

        1. Katie the Fed

          I hear that argument a lot, but I’ve never really seen it be an issue in practice. I mean, first of all, saying yes to one person doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everyone. I grant telework or flexible work schedules only if 1) you’ve proved dependable and hard-working and 2) it doesn’t affect the mission.

          And very few people actually take advantage of it. Out of my team only a couple people have unusual schedules, although I do allow some flexibility in start/end times with everyone as long as you make up the hours. It really hasn’t been an issue.

          1. Joey

            The problem is frequently the impact is greater as more people request it. And first come first serve is hugely problematic.

        2. Lily in NYC

          Then they should say yes to everyone, especially if their move is causing some people to have issues. So many companies offer flex-time to all of their employees (mine included) that it doesn’t seem like too much to ask/offer.

  29. Z

    I’m surprised by how many commenters think that a company moving locations is just TS for the staff. Locations are one of the major factors that contribute to employee well-being and attracting people to a company. I interviewed at one office that despaired at not being able to attract the quality talent they wanted because they were too far away from public transit options and another company that had to deal with the fallout of moving an entire division (1000+ people) to an outlying suburb. I had a friend at the latter company who had to quit because she would have had to buy a car in order to work at the new office. And that company spent YEARS preparing for this move and still had massive fallout.

    Moving offices is not something companies should take lightly and it is definitely something that employees have the right to push back about and discuss.

    1. Joey

      Here’s the thing though. The company made a deliberate decision to save money and Id be surprised if they expected it to go over well. So I’m sure they expected some casualties. It probably isn’t in their best interest to do anything different until theres a trend.

    2. Chuchundra

      Considering that, as OP noted above, the commute is now less convenient for everyone, what the company has done is essentially pushed off some business costs on to their employees, it’s not unreasonable to ask for some of that back.

        1. Sal

          It is if you agree that when prospective employees negotiate for salary/benefits, they take into account (i.e., accept less in exchange for) a good commute. If the office had always been at the new location, presumably it would not have been able to staff the same level of talent at the same price.

          1. Colette

            It’s a change in benefits, but it’s not a business cost. Just because it’s less convenient for the OP doesn’t mean the business wouldn’t be able to hire good people for whom it’s a smaller issue.

          2. Jamie

            That’s a huge presumption and if that’s the case where they have employees who wouldn’t have accepted the job at the new location they will have turnover. And if they have to pay more or get lesser talent (which is a huge stretch when you’re talking about 1.5 mile difference) then they’ll take the hit.

            But an employees commute is their personal expense, not a business expense unless the employer chooses to subsidize it.

        2. Chuchundra

          They’re saving a significant amount of money by renting cheaper digs, the result being that everyone who works there, except the owners, has a longer commute. So, essentially they’re trading their employees personal time for lower rent.

          That’s what I meant by pushing business costs on to the employees. Maybe that’s an odd way to look at things, but it makes sense to me.

        3. Original Poster

          From my perspective, the company is saving X amount of money on rent while I am left to decide to spend either an extra 3+ hours in commute each week or $3600 in parking plus gas and wear on my car. How is that not pushing costs onto the employee?

          I can absolutely say that I would not have taken or applied for this job had the office been at its new location at the time. (Literally: I chose not to apply to several comparable positions during my last job search precisely because they were in the new location.)

          Some say “suck it up or look for another job.” I am looking for another job but it’s taken me 3 months and counting of looking, during which time I have no choice but to spend that extra time/money on commuting to my current job.

      1. Joey

        That makes no sense. So if the company moves somewhere more convenient do they get to ask for that money back since it’s assuming more employee costs? See how ridiculous that sounds.

    3. some1

      “I had a friend at the latter company who had to quit because she would have had to buy a car in order to work at the new office. And that company spent YEARS preparing for this move and still had massive fallout.”

      Then, presumably your friend had years to decide whether she wanted to buy a car or look for another job, correct?

      As to the rest of your point, I don’t think anyone here doesn’t recognize how much it sucks when you accept a position based on a certain commute and then the business moves, but that it’s common enough that it’s not worth digging in one’s heels over.

      1. Z

        What I meant is that moving locations is actually serious and many commenters seem to think the OP is just a whiner, while I think she is perfectly justified in asking for some sort or accommodation or recompense. The company my friend was at offered many subsidies/benefits for those who were inconvenienced but for her, buying and driving a car was a step too far.

        1. Jamie

          I don’t think she’s whining and it’s absolutely legitimate to see if they’d be willing to accommodate her, but the tone doesn’t help her as it reads like her inconvenience should trump the company saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. And she probably didn’t mean that exactly, but it’s important to know how it comes off so she doesn’t have the same attitude when asking for accommodations.

        2. some1

          My point about your friend was that she had a lot more notice than, ime, most employees get for these announcements. My former employer gave us four months notice, which is an awfully short timeframe to find a job that has comparable salary/benefits plus a commute that’s feasible on public transport.

    4. Jamie

      I doubt anyone makes a decision to move offices lightly – it’s a huge undertaking. And certainly people have the right to discuss it, and the right to be unhappy about it. But as far as pushing back all one can do is see if they can make some reasonable accommodations.

      Some people will quit when a business moves if the new location no longer works for them and of course the location is an important to people when they take a job. But things do change so when this changes employees have to re-evaluate and decide if this still works for them or not.

      Whether it’s growth or tough times, mergers, acquisitions, change of responsibility and position – all jobs change either a little or a lot, that’s a given. But an employer would be ridiculous to expect no one would ever want to deserve a raise because the initial salary one accepted made them an attractive candidate, it’s equally unreasonable to expect that circumstances at work won’t change at some point as well.

      That said it’s not wrong to be frustrated or put out by a new inconvenience – that’s human nature. But there are a lot of things I’d hate and would annoy me to no end, which are still in the end TS for me and it’s my call to decide if I want to live with the new circumstances or not.

      If my office went to open plan and they wanted to take away my walls and door I’d make a cogent and professional argument about why that would such a bad idea. If that didn’t sway them I’d pitch some accommodations which might make it easier for me to live with and I’d be mighty frustrated an unhappy, but that’s the extent of the reasonable push back – because in the end things can change and all we can do is hit what’s pitched as best we can and decide if we can live with the new circumstances or if we need to seek out something more suitable.

    5. soitgoes

      For a lot of employees it likely won’t matter much if they already lived close to the old office; a mile and a half fro that starting point isn’t a big deal. Plus, if we really are talking NYC here, moving from Manhattan to Brooklyn (for example) is likely to attract a lot of young, hip people who are fresh out of college. That might be one of the goals here.

        1. soitgoes

          I’m not. I just don’t think that companies move to different boroughs on whims, nor do I think that any individual employee is bound to know all of the reasons behind an executive decision. The OP mentions that the move was motivated solely to “line the boss’ pockets,” as if saving money in business is a bad thing. I just don’t think it’s a big deal to move within city limits. Deal with it or move on.

          1. Zillah

            Deal with it or move on? Absolutely. That’s the bottom line. You can ask for accommodations, but after that, it is what it is.

            However, it’s possible to say that that’s the case and still acknowledge that this can be a huge deal. It would be a really, really big deal for me if my workplace moved to Staten Island or the Bronx.

      1. Melissa

        I don’t really think there’s a place in Manhattan that’s only 1.5 miles from Brooklyn and that could be solved with a shuttle. I think a 1.5 mile move doesn’t really indicate moving from one borough to another.

  30. Lily in NYC

    Kind of related – I just found out we might move into the new World Trade Center. I really, really don’t want to work in that building, and I’m not normally the nervous type.

      1. Lily in NYC

        Oh god, I forgot about the rats! Well, it would shave about 3 whole minutes off my hour-long commute, so I’ve got that going for me.

  31. Rebecca

    Wow, it’s all in perspective I guess. I wish I lived 6.5 miles from the office, and there was public transportation available!! My commute is 46 miles round trip, no public transportation, and it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes per day. No accommodations with different hours, or anything else. No working from home, nothing. Thankfully I can carpool with two other people most of the time, but when we have schedule differences, we can’t. And gas prices have gone down quite a bit, so at least that’s not such a burden for now.

    1. Lily in NYC

      Are you saying that you have a 23 mile one-way commute that takes about 45 minutes? That seems like a very common, normal commute to me.

      1. K.

        Yeah, my commute is 18 miles and 40-45 minutes each way, which, while longer than I’d like (I’ve worked within walking distance of home before, which is awesome), isn’t what I’d call long. My fella, however, walks or bikes the two miles to his work and he’s always like “You travel so far!”

  32. cv

    I’d like to chime in and say that I have some sympathy for how the OP feels about this as a new mother. I have very young children, and before they were born I didn’t really care if my work hours and commute got me home at 6:30 or 7 p.m. every day. Now that’s the difference between whether I see my kids at all in the evening before bedtime or not. My thinking about the value of that half hour has really changed in ways I hadn’t thought through before the kids were born.

    Of course, that more rigid way of thinking about schedule could also apply to an employee who was taking classes at night, or who was in a chorus that practiced a couple of evenings a week, or who was working a second job, or whose spouse was on the night shift and left for work in the evening, or whatever. And I agree that the OP shouldn’t mention the baby when asking for accommodations. I just want to add a voice of understanding to balance out those giving the OP a hard time for her frustration with the situation.

    1. Case of the Mondays

      Can you put your kids to bed later? I talked about this on another blog but my brother and I never went to bed before 9 even as little kids. As middle schoolers we were up to 10 or 11. We got tons of time with our parents. We both have a horrible time getting up in the morning now and both stay up very very late as adults so I wouldn’t be as extreme as our parents. However, I think kid bedtimes have become extremely early putting more pressure on parents. Change their bedtime so you get an hour with them after you get home. They will adjust to less sleep.

      1. Observer

        No, children’s bed times have NOT “become extremely early” – your upbringing was hardly typical. Young children need quite a bit of sleep. That is the reality. Some children are fairly nocturnal, and don’t need to be up early to be at school or childcare, so then you can shift the schedule. But, most of the time it just doesn’t work.

      2. VintageLydia USA

        That depends on the kids and the morning routine. If you need to have everyone up and ready to go by 6 or 7AM so the parents can get the kids to daycare and at work on time, then a late bedtime is often a no-go. Kids need that sleep.

        1. Melissa

          School aged children need, on average, 10-12 hours of sleep. If the kids need to be up by 6 am, they can probably go to bed between 6 pm and 8 pm. Every parent has to make choices for their own children, of course, but putting the kids to bed at 7 instead of 6:30 probably won’t kill ’em.

      3. Jamie

        I would never suggest trying to get kids to adjust to less sleep than they need. Not getting enough sleep will make it more difficult to focus in school not to mention tired kids are cranky kids.

        Maybe some can function well on less sleep, none I’ve known, but I’m not in childcare…I just know if mine had been up that late mornings would have been an absolute nightmare. And I know when I don’t get enough sleep I wake up groggy and cranky and it sets a really bad tone for the whole day. I wouldn’t want kids going to school with that mood.

  33. Eva

    As a Dane I found this post somewhat odd to read. Here many people bike everywhere all year round. We just dress appropriately for the winter weather. OP, might that be an option for you?

    1. Diet Coke Addict

      Many, many places in the US are not bike-commuter friendly in the summer, let alone in the winter. Bike lanes and roadways are usually narrowed due to snow accumulation or not plowed properly, leading to ice/snow buildup and other dangerous situations. So even with proper winter attire (which can be pretty daunting in the winter), it might be the physical setup of the city that forbids winter biking.

    2. Katie the Fed

      A lot of our roads aren’t conducive to bicycling. I don’t bike on most city streets because mixes of cars and bikes can be very dangerous – even in bike lanes people get doored and thrown into traffic – someone I know was killed that way. And if we take highways, biking isn’t an option. To bike to work for me adds another several miles and a significant risk factor that I’m not willing to take.

      I love bicycling but it’s just not a good mix with cars in some cities. As a bicyclist, I hate cars. As a driver, I hate bicyclists – I’ve nearly been in accidents caused by bicyclists not following the rules of the road – they often just pick and choose the pedestrian vs. moving vehicles laws they like and cause a lot of problems.

      1. Eva

        I know a lot of roads “over there” aren’t conducive to biking, but if OP bikes in the summer season, I suppose she’s in an area where they are safe. However, Diet Coke Addict might be right that lack of proper snow plowing might be prohibitive. OP, can you clarify the situation in your area? I’m curious about this aspect of it.

        1. AVP

          Not sure if the OP is in NYC or not (seems like she might be from some of the comments above). But if she is, it’s really hard to bike in the city for a week or so after a snowstorm because they plow snow into the bike lanes, don’t shovel out the bike-share stations, and there’s a lot of ice and slush and salt that gets left around and ruins either your ride or your clothing. Last year it snowed pretty much every week, but that was a particularly bad winter for us. So it is possible some weeks but really not ideal on others.

          1. Eva

            Thanks for the insight. The excellent biking conditions (partly due to weather and partly due to effective snow plowing) are something for us Danes to be thankful for, I guess. The snowfall has to be exceptionally bad to prevent biking; there are winters without any issues at all.

            1. AVP

              I am very jealous of the Scandinavian/European biking conditions! Last year I was in Amsterdam in the winter and the amount of people who bike there every day in all conditions was amazing. I think we’re working our way toward that, albeit slowly… but the more people who bike year-round, the more normal it will seem and the better-prepared the city will be.

              1. Adonday Veeah

                “I think we’re working our way toward that…”

                You just keep thinkin’ those happy, thoughts, AVP.

                1. AVP

                  Heh, I never would have believed it either, but I’m planning to bike to midtown tonight, and awhile back Citibike released data that on the coldest, shittiest day of winter last year, 6,000 people still took out bikes. (They released it like it was bad news, but I mean, 6000 people on a terrible day!)

              2. Melissa

                I studied abroad in Amsterdam when I was in college; I was there from January through May. They gave us a bike and were like…figure it out, lol. The Dutch certainly do bike through the rain, snow, sleet, hail…I remember thinking, what am I gonna do when it rains? The answer was “put on a poncho.” LOL.

              3. Bea W

                Me too! It is so well planned. I was there close to the start of summer, an was amazed how easy it was to bike everywhere and I had never seen parking lots full of bikes. My friend lived an hour outside of Amsterdam, and there are wonderful biking roads between towns. Sometimes we were alongside streets with car, and much of it were on bike paths completely removed from car traffic until we came to where we were going, then we rejoined the car streets.

    3. Cath in Canada

      It also depends on whether there are any hills – I live somewhere with excellent cycling infrastructure but very steep hills all over the city, and if the road’s even just a little bit slippery it can make it very dangerous. I do ride year-round if it’s just cold and/or wet, but never if there’s any snow or even a heavy frost on the ground. My route to work is almost entirely downhill, and it can take until mid-morning for the frost to thaw out.

        1. Bea W

          Netherlands is also very flat. I have never biked on such level ground for so long. We did not go up hill or down hill! New England is very hilly. Seattle is ridiculously hilly. These can be tough places to bike even in good weather. I would have to walk my bike up and down the hill to my house, up because it is so steep, and down because I would go hurtling headlong into the traffic at the bottom. In a bad and active snow storm, it is hard to even get a car up the hill.

    4. Anon for transportation

      It’s not safe to bike everywhere here. I used to live in a biker/pedestrian-friendly city, but where I live now was really built for cars. Without the buses, I’m limited to about a two-mile radius.

      Actually, quite a few bikers have been hit by cars recently. A few have died over the last month. It’s pretty scary.

      1. Melissa

        Yes, my town’s idea of a bike-friendly road is a “bike lane” that’s really a shoulder on a dark, poorly lit back road. And by “poorly lit” I mean “this street doesn’t have any street lights,” in a part of the country where the sun sets at 5 pm during a good chunk of the winter.

      2. Eva

        Bikers die here too, but considering how many people bike it’s still very safe to bike here, and many accidents are preventable by being cautious as opposed to overly trusting others in traffic. Actually it’s been a part of our gender debate, because more women than men die in accidents where a truck turns right – some theorize that women are more likely to trust that the truck driver will respect the red light and / or will have seen them in the mirror and respect their right of way. But as mentioned, these accidents are still fairly rare.

  34. Calla

    OP, I feel ya. This is (part of) the reason I left my last job. When I was hired, we were in the downtown/professional area of a major city and it took me 30-40 minutes by public transportation. They then moved to a suburb a decent amount south, in a less-taken care of area with a ton of college students, and my commute turned into about an hour and 15 minutes. Was it a HUGE change? No, but it did add 30+ minutes each way, and the *environment* around it changed.

    Hopefully you can work something out (in my case, my former company wasn’t hugely flexible and I was already leaving early to make it to classes on time). But it sounds like you have a lot of other issues with this place too. In that case, when I was job searching and said I was looking because my job moved from X to Y and it doubled my commute, people I interviewed with seemed completely understanding of my reason. You just have to be sure interview with place that are actually close to you if you’re going to use that reason :)

  35. Sans

    Haven’t read through all the comments but another option might be to work at home twice a week? That way, you’re not asking for less hours but will definitely ease your commute.

    1. Adonday Veeah

      But really, in order to sell this you have to make it a win for the company, not just the employee. As an employer, I can’t see agreeing to this for one employee just to make their life easier, unless this employee walks on water or it benefits me as the employer in some significant way. It just wouldn’t make business sense.

      And from the other side of the table, working from home is not for everyone. I would HATE it, personally.

  36. kirby

    The question is: do the OP’s colleagues have a different commute experience? If they also have problems, then they could get some type of collective benefit out of it, if this is a problem that is just experienced by the OP then is going to be very hard to get management to help you out…

  37. Suz

    I don’t have any advice for the OP but I can sympathize. I’m in the same boat. My office will be moving next year. My current commute is 20 min. with free parking. At the new office it will be 45 min. & $12/day for parking or 2 hrs by bus each way. I’m going to have to either find a new job or move.

  38. it's all relative

    I currently have a 1-hour driving commute, and I would kill for a 1:15 public transit commute! Although the transfer makes it less-than-ideal, I would love to be able to get more reading done and not get stuck in stressful traffic!

    1. fposte

      My problem with this kind of response is that it would therefore be equally valid for somebody to tell you to suck it up if you get a 25% pay cut because people are working for minimum wage. We each decide a job is worth it to us based on several different factors, and changing those factors can definitely unbalance the equation and mean the job isn’t worth it. And that’s okay–we get to do that.

      1. Not So NewReader

        OP is also facing additional concerns in that there is less help and more is asked of the people who are left. I am tending to see the commute problem as just one more thing in a series of problems. Maybe if everything else was fine, OP would not have written to Alison. But it’s not fine.

  39. Apollo Warbucks

    If you have been disproportionately affected by the move build a case to show why. Tell your boss that whilst you understand the office move isn’t a massive distance and whilst it might not seem like much, it now means your commute is taking twice as long or costing you an extra $300 a month and an unintended consequence of the office has now had a disproportionate effect on you. It might be better to frame the request as asking for a salary increase rather that a special allowance as it will remove the objection that if the do it for you they’ll have to do it for everyone.

    A similar thing happened to me and he office moved a couple of miles out of town it really affected a couple of people in the office more than others but the firm said there was no help for anyone as it was such a minor move. I managed to get a little extra in my salary at the time but it was in no way connected to the move I can’t tell you how much my boss emphasised that point, but it was designed to off set the extra expense it caused me.

  40. Allison

    My office is moving too, and adding to my commute, but thankfully only about 10-15 more mins. We’re mostly moving because we’ve outgrown the space we’re working in now, and for the most part people are excited about having an in-house Starbucks. I’m not too fond of the new commute, but I also know it’ll be better for the company overall. More space, more conference rooms, and I’m seriously hoping there are more parking spaces – all of which we’re seriously lacking where we are now.

    Can’t really say I’m tempted to ask for accommodation, other than maybe working from home 2 days a week instead of 3, since others in my office have commutes over an hour long and I wouldn’t get much sympathy from them. I’m most likely going to adjust to the new commute, and if it really doesn’t seem do-able even 3-4 days a week, I’ll consider making a change in my life – either a new apartment or a new job.

  41. WorkEthic101

    ” The new location, while only a mile and a half away from the old location, is much less convenient because public transportation in the area is very limited”
    A mile and a half? without sounding creul, just grin a bear it. Everyone has to get to work somehow, if your lucky enough to have a car, great, some need public transportation. some need jitney’s
    i would understand the complaint if the office moved 40 miles away where public transportation derailed some employees, but there is still a way to work.
    1.5 miles is nothing to complain about, yes, it may be an inconveinence, but ultimately it’s very conveinent to have a job.

    i’m not trying to sound creul, but really, count your blessings

    1. Zillah

      We could apply this logic to most letters sent in. It’s pretty callous and rude, though, and it hardly encourages people to send in questions.

    2. rebecca

      Actually, 1.5 miles in a big city can add a lot to the commute. If it does not have good public transit access, you would either have to walk it, or potentially take an additional bus. This could add a half an hour. I work in Chicago . . . if my office moved to a location that was 1.5 miles away from the nearest subway stop, I’d be polishing my resume.

  42. Bea W

    If it takes you 30-40 min to get to the old office you could walk the 1.5 min from that subway stop to the new office and still come out ahead of the 1:15 mark. Seriously, if your extra time is buses and bus connections, finding the nearest train stop on the route you used to take and then walking may be worth it. We have a number of people who do walk that distance even though there are buses available because the time it takes to connect to the bus then ride it through slow traffic and stops is just as long. Before we had train service open closer to me, I regularly walked the mile+ to the nearest subway to me and only grabbed the bus if it was coming within 5 min (checking a live tracking app) because by the time I hit the bus stop I was about 10 min out from the station I was headed for. I live in the northeast. If dress for the weather, it’s not awful. Barring that, suck up paying for parking. Yes of course your employer moved from a place with high rent to one with lower rent. That’s fiscally sensible long term and better than having to make cuts in other places like staffing and benefits. I don’t understand the apparent consternation over moving to another building for monetary reasons. “This 5 year lease is ridiculously expensive BUT it sure is convenient for sone people who can use the train.” is not normally even part of that discussion.

      1. Bea W

        That’s a great idea if bikes are allowed during rush hour. In my area, you can’t take a bike on the train unless it is a folding bike, but the garages in the area allow bikes to be parked free, and some people will keep a bike in one of the garages to ride the rest of the way to work.

    1. Just Visiting

      Agree with this. Years ago in another city I had a two-bus commute and hated it, then I realized I could walk a mile to yet a third bus and take that right into work (it was a commute from one side of the city to the other, this bus went around the city rather than through downtown). The time savings was only around 15 minutes, and both commutes were over an hour, but it added a bit of exercise to my day and the lack of a transfer made the commute seem much shorter. Most people can walk a mile in ten minutes or less, with training.

  43. Purr purr purr

    My personal opinion is that you should only suggest something that benefits the company as a whole, for example, the shuttle bus idea others have mentioned. If you wanted to make it a personal change, why don’t you see if anyone else lives in your area and arrange to share a ride with them in exchange for some gas money? I’m sure others have been affected by an increased commute time and the poor transport network in that area so I personally would think twice about being the sole person who’s pushing for extra things, like paid parking or a flexible work schedule. I guess the final option is to leave. If the commute is really that bad then maybe you should be looking for a new job that’s closer to you.

    For me personally, I live in the south-west of my city in an area with bad transport and my job is in the north-east in an area with bad transport. We have awful weather in winter. I’m not looking forward to the temperatures in January that are likely to be between -20 and -30C and it takes me an hour and a half each way to travel about 10km. I do it gratefully because I was made redundant and was unemployed for over 18 months so I’m just glad of the chance to earn money again. Maybe you just need to change your attitude because you only seem to be focusing heavily on how bad the change is and doing so in quite a bitter and angry way. Also, why not use the commute time to do something you find difficult to do with a baby, like read a book? Listen to music? It doesn’t have to be such a hardship.

    1. Anon for transportation

      “Also, why not use the commute time to do something you find difficult to do with a baby, like read a book? Listen to music? It doesn’t have to be such a hardship.”

      A good point. LW, I know the commute sucks for you. It’s not going to be great. But you might be more comfortable if you find something to enjoy. (I like listening to music or podcasts, reading, and people-watching. I use the bus’s free wifi to read the news. And, on a bad day, there’s something satisfying about being able to look for job openings on the bus to work.)

    1. Katie the Fed

      You know, that’s true of literally every letter that gets sent here. But that doesn’t mean that people can’t have a freaking conversation to see if something can be adjusted.

      This letter seems to be prompting a fair amount of hostility and I don’t get it. Is it because a 6.5 mile commute doesn’t seem long to most people? MOST of us are working to live, not living to work. We don’t want to spend more time going to/from or being at our jobs than necessary, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

      1. VintageLydia USA

        I wonder if the reaction would be different if she omitted the mileage entirely and just denoted the times? Because most people in this forum have noted that hour+ commutes are big deals, even those of us who are used to big city commutes of relatively short distances. But you’re right, this letter writer is getting way way more hostility than previous LWs with similar issues.

  44. Not So NewReader

    I am kind of concerned about the health of this company.
    They cut staff by 25% and everyone took on more work.
    No one has had any raises that OP is aware of.
    Now they have moved to smaller quarters.
    This is not sounding good here, OP.

    I believe you said you were going to ask about help with parking costs. (Can’t find it, sorry.) You might want to have a non-monetary solution readily available in case they come back saying “we can’t afford that.”

    I will say this, if I had been a while with out a raise and suddenly had to come up with $300 per month to park my car, I would be in serious trouble.

    1. Original Poster

      Quite right! The owners of this business are older, and have their eyes on retirement. I’m not sure what they have planned for the next few years and beyond, after they’ve retired. They have been uncommunicative enough amidst all this change and downsizing that I think many of my coworkers are trying to plan their exits before being caught unprepared, myself included.

  45. NotFiona

    About the parking subsidy, in the U.S. companies over a certain size can provide a pre-tax benefit to their employees. The company benefits in their taxes, and the employees get the money for – typically – transit or parking fees. (There is a smaller benefit for biking, which could be much better. It is not setup very well.) Some workplaces do something called a parking cash-out. A very simple scenario: Say the company provides free parking, which costs the company $50/space per month. The company could say no more free parking, you have to sign up for it. BUT if you decide you don’t want the parking, you get $40. (Or whatever.) People who keep “their” space don’t see any change, they still pay zero. But the people who don’t want a dedicated space every day get $40. In this example the company pockets $10/month for every person who gives up a space.

    Good luck OP!

  46. Kyle Jones

    I agree that you should not come across as bitter because of the commute. Equally, I agree that you shouldn’t push the subject once/if you receive an answer – espeically if the answer is not one you wanted.

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