Beat the traffic blues and join the 'back seat office' movement

Look at the picture above: is this you on a Monday? Yes? How about on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and all the way until Friday? Have you calculated how much productive time you lose, stuck in traffic every day?

Pondering alone won't help - you may well have one of two solutions: (a) wake up at least 2 - 3 hours before the time you are meant to be at work, to find yourself stress-free and at work on time, but exhausted due to the early start or (b) hire a driver and get some work done in rush hour traffic, while you occupy the back seat.

The back-seat commuting solution is one that's said to have picked up in some parts of the world - why can't the same be done in South Africa, a country with limited public transport infrastructure?

Editor of Wanted Magazine and Business Day Associate Editor, Alexander Parker:

It's certainly a phenomenon we're seeing increasingly across the developing world, where traffic volumes have become very problematic, yet there isn't another kind of transport infrastructure in place, where you don't necessarily have the developed city subway lines that help to get millions of people get across a congested city. So what people are doing - especially in the East - is they hire a driver, they sit in the back of the vehicle, get on to their iPad and by the time they get to their office, they've flattened quite a lot of work.

Imagine you, looking like this fellow up here - suave, relaxed, productive and ready to take on the world. You. Like this. Every. Day. Parker unpacks how some markets are preparing to accommodate this 'movement':

The phenomenon is so entrenched that most of the motor manufacturers are actually building cars for this market - stretch wheel-based versions of a car that you would never see here, like a stretched wheel-based version of a 3 series, a C-Class or an Audi A4. That's how entrenched the phenomenon is overseas.

Taking the conversation further - would South African bosses be willing to consider this? Parker weighs in:

I'm aware that most commuters don't have the benefit of a 15 minute commute and if you a relatively senior individual at your office, it might be worth having a conversation with your manager and saying 'I'm working out the cost of your time lost in traffic, versus the cost of having you driven' - you might be suprised at the answer!


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