In a recent survey conducted by global HR experts Remote, over 1,000 working women in the UK were asked about their feelings regarding commuting in the dark.

The results indicate that a significant number of women feel uneasy and vulnerable during nighttime commutes, shedding light on a critical issue that demands attention.

The findings highlight that one in three working women feels unsafe when commuting in the dark.

With the winter months in the UK bringing early sunsets at 4 pm, individuals tied to a rigid 9-6 schedule are often compelled to travel home after dark, regardless of their comfort level or perceived safety.

A staggering 85 percent of UK working women express a willingness to change their commuting patterns to travel during daylight hours, emphasising the potential benefits of enhanced flexible work options.

An overwhelming 88 percent believe that companies should offer such arrangements, providing them with the flexibility to commute when they feel most secure.

Unease Among Working Women

The emotional toll of commuting in the dark is evident, with 47 percent of respondents expressing feelings of unease, followed by 44 percent feeling anxious, and 40 percent feeling vulnerable. These sentiments align with the findings from the ONS in March 2022, revealing that 50 percent of women felt unsafe walking alone after dark in quiet streets near their homes.

The survey by Remote also indicates that the youngest and eldest generations appear to be most at risk. Respondents aged 16-24 report feeling “frightened” (29%), while those aged 55 and above feel “uneasy” (52%), “anxious” (40%), and “vulnerable” (40%).

Regional Disparities and High-Profile Cases

Working women in Greater London (42%) and the North East (42%) feel the most “unsafe” commuting in the dark. High-profile cases in London, such as the murders of Sarah Everard in 2021 and Zara Aleena in 2022, have heightened fear in recent years. Nottingham (57%) emerges as the city where respondents felt most “uneasy,” followed closely by Bristol (57%), Southampton (57%), and Plymouth (56%).

Employer Responsibilities and Employee Demands

The survey emphasises the need for companies to reassess their policies and culture to support their employees in feeling safer during their commutes. A vast majority of female workers across Wales (91%), Northern Ireland (90%), England (89%), and Scotland (79%) agree that companies should offer enhanced flexible work options in the winter months to allow commuting during daylight hours.

Barbara Matthews, Chief People Officer at Remote, comments on the study, stating, “It’s deeply saddening to see that so many women in our survey have a shared experience of feeling uneasy or frightened doing something as ordinary as walking or traveling home from work.”

The Call for Flexible Work Policies

If given the option, 85 percent of UK working women express a desire to change their commuting pattern to prioritise safety by traveling during daylight hours. The study shows that flexible work options, especially in industries like sales, media & marketing, legal, and HR, could significantly alleviate concerns.

However, the survey also reveals a concerning aspect: 55 percent of respondents are unsure or certain that their employers would not support them with flexible work options to improve commute safety.

Sector-Specific Concerns

The survey delves into sector-specific concerns, indicating that 56 percent of respondents in sales, media & marketing, and the legal sector feel “worried” and “uneasy” about commuting in the dark. Similar sentiments are echoed in retail, catering, and leisure sectors (52% anxious), and travel and transport (43% anxious and vulnerable).

The research suggests that there is a strong demand for flexible working options, with respondents in HR (100%), sales, media & marketing (96%), travel & transport (93%), and legal (93%) expressing a willingness to change their commuting patterns if given the opportunity.

Advocating for Change

Barbara Matthews concludes, “With 85 percent of the women surveyed saying they would change their routine to commute in daylight hours, it’s time for employers to assess their work policies and culture to reflect this overwhelming demand and empower all employees.”

In a world where remote and flexible working is increasingly prevalent, the study by Remote raises important questions about the responsibility of employers in fostering safe commuting environments for all employees. The call for flexible work policies emerges as a potential solution to empower women and create a workplace that prioritises safety and well-being.

In a recent survey conducted by global HR experts Remote, over 1,000 working women in the UK were asked about their feelings regarding commuting in the dark. The results indicate that a significant number of women feel uneasy and vulnerable during nighttime commutes, shedding light on a critical issue that demands attention.

Flexible Work Options as a Solution

The findings highlight that one in three working women feels unsafe when commuting in the dark. With the winter months in the UK bringing early sunsets at 4 pm, individuals tied to a rigid 9-6 schedule are often compelled to travel home after dark, regardless of their comfort level or perceived safety.

A staggering 85 percent of UK working women express a willingness to change their commuting patterns to travel during daylight hours, emphasising the potential benefits of enhanced flexible work options. An overwhelming 88 percent believe that companies should offer such arrangements, providing them with the flexibility to commute when they feel most secure.

Unease Among Working Women

The emotional toll of commuting in the dark is evident, with 47 percent of respondents expressing feelings of unease, followed by 44 percent feeling anxious, and 40 percent feeling vulnerable. These sentiments align with the findings from the ONS in March 2022, revealing that 50 percent of women felt unsafe walking alone after dark in quiet streets near their homes.

The survey by Remote also indicates that the youngest and eldest generations appear to be most at risk. Respondents aged 16-24 report feeling “frightened” (29%), while those aged 55 and above feel “uneasy” (52%), “anxious” (40%), and “vulnerable” (40%).

Regional Disparities and High-Profile Cases

Working women in Greater London (42%) and the North East (42%) feel the most “unsafe” commuting in the dark. High-profile cases in London, such as the murders of Sarah Everard in 2021 and Zara Aleena in 2022, have heightened fear in recent years. Nottingham (57%) emerges as the city where respondents felt most “uneasy,” followed closely by Bristol (57%), Southampton (57%), and Plymouth (56%).

Employer Responsibilities and Employee Demands

The survey emphasises the need for companies to reassess their policies and culture to support their employees in feeling safer during their commutes. A vast majority of female workers across Wales (91%), Northern Ireland (90%), England (89%), and Scotland (79%) agree that companies should offer enhanced flexible work options in the winter months to allow commuting during daylight hours.

Barbara Matthews, Chief People Officer at Remote, comments on the study, stating, “It’s deeply saddening to see that so many women in our survey have a shared experience of feeling uneasy or frightened doing something as ordinary as walking or traveling home from work.”

The Call for Flexible Work Policies

If given the option, 85 percent of UK working women express a desire to change their commuting pattern to prioritise safety by traveling during daylight hours. The study shows that flexible work options, especially in industries like sales, media & marketing, legal, and HR, could significantly alleviate concerns.

However, the survey also reveals a concerning aspect: 55 percent of respondents are unsure or certain that their employers would not support them with flexible work options to improve commute safety.

Sector-Specific Concerns

The survey delves into sector-specific concerns, indicating that 56 percent of respondents in sales, media & marketing, and the legal sector feel “worried” and “uneasy” about commuting in the dark. Similar sentiments are echoed in retail, catering, and leisure sectors (52% anxious), and travel and transport (43% anxious and vulnerable).

The research suggests that there is a strong demand for flexible working options, with respondents in HR (100%), sales, media & marketing (96%), travel & transport (93%), and legal (93%) expressing a willingness to change their commuting patterns if given the opportunity.

Advocating for Change

Barbara Matthews concludes, “With 85 percent of the women surveyed saying they would change their routine to commute in daylight hours, it’s time for employers to assess their work policies and culture to reflect this overwhelming demand and empower all employees.”

In a world where remote and flexible working is increasingly prevalent, the study by Remote raises important questions about the responsibility of employers in fostering safe commuting environments for all employees. The call for flexible work policies emerges as a potential solution to empower women and create a workplace that prioritises safety and well-being.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.