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UK women call for flexibility due to fear of commuting in the dark

A majority (88%) of women have said companies should offer better flexible working options so they can commute in daylight during the winter, according to a new survey by Remote.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they feel uneasy commuting in the dark, 40% said they felt vulnerable, 32% unsafe and 27% were worried about it.

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Nadia Vatalidis, vice president of people at payroll provider Remote, said the findings about women’s feelings travelling to and from work were concerning, and urged employers to consider ways to help.

She said: “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 travelling home from work.

“To change this, 88% of respondents feel their business should support them through flexible work arrangements to enable them to travel when they feel most comfortable – so we’re calling for more businesses to do so.”

Almost half (45%) of respondents said they felt their employer would back them with flexible working options that allowed them to travel in daylight.

The remaining 55% were unsure what their employer would say.

“We believe that the adoption of remote work policies such as asynchronous work and flexible hour logging can bring about meaningful positive change in regard to supporting employee safety,” added Vatalidis.

“We acknowledge not all industries can adopt flexible working in the same way, notably the travel and tourism sectors, but recent cases – including a ruling on Glasgow hospitality businesses to provide late-night workers free transport home – shows employers have a responsibility toward the safety of their employees, and that this can be achieved across all industries in a number of ways – including adopting flexible working to empower your workforce to regain their commuting confidence.”

The findings of Remote’s survey were based on the opinions of 1,008 women working in the UK and was conducted in November-December 2022.