Just getting to work can be stressful, exhausting and costly for some. That’s why Judy Niner, having spent years living in Oxfordshire and commuting to West London, decided to launch an online service, Mondaytofriday.com, to help employers find temporary, weekday accommodation for staff.
“I was fed up with getting up at 5.30am, and when I stayed in town with friends there was real pressure to be there at a certain time, or to stay up late chatting,” she says. “I didn’t want the cost of renting an entire flat myself, so I rented a friend’s room she wasn’t using, and then rented out my flat in Oxford.”
It worked so well that Niner spotted a web opportunity for would-be landlords to rent out empty space to non-local workers, providing a more informal alternative to staying in a characterless hotel.
The market for weekday rents is growing, and Mondaytofriday.com’s database has increased 300% in the past year. Employers reap the benefits from improved staff morale, and the workers feel fresher when they arrive for work.
Mary Peirce, who had been enduring a three-hour commute before she swapped her cottage in Norfolk for a flat in East London during the week, says: “Weekday renting means I can go home and get a good night’s sleep. It gives me the luxury of a work-life balance. I can work later away from home and not feel like I am missing anything.”
Sharing accommodation in someone’s home may not replace the comforting routine of your own bed, but Niner found that it allowed her to enjoy the social side of her job, networking and girls’ nights out, without someone waiting up for her.
“We all need to take jobs where the right jobs are,” she says. “The fact is that working away from home is not ideal for anyone, but being in a home is so much better than in an awful soul-less hotel.”
Reaping the benefits
In financial terms, weekday accommodation in a flat or rented room can prove more cost-effective than staying in a hotel. Niner reports that her mortgage in Norfolk plus the cost of her weekday renting is probably about half the cost of buying a flat in London.
Weekday renting is also an excellent way for new staff to test out a job or an area before they commit to a complete relocation.
But is avoiding a couple of hours on a train every day really worth being away from the routine of home, and seeing loved ones?
The secret to making it a success is establishing respect and ground-rules with your landlord, according to Peirce.
Most importantly, she feels more energised and productive at work – something HR should consider when managing staff with long commutes.
by Lucy Freeman
Home from home
- 52% of lodgers save more than two hours commuting each day.
- 28% save up to £250 per month on commuting.
- 41% have adopted a greener attitude by walking or cycling to work.
- A typical weekday rental costs around 60% of the usual week-long rental.
- UK staff have the longest commute in Europe.
- 800,000 people commute to London for work.
- Commuting in the UK results in emissions of 13.1 million tonnes of carbon per annum, and to offset this pollution we would need to plant more than 17 million trees each year.