To say that a typical work week is forty hours is somewhat misleading. As we all know, most of us must factor in another five or so hours in commute. That number is low for many who must live far from work. Many factors, including the price of housing near a work site, traffic, road conditions and traffic controls can force us to spend many hours a week in commute.
What adds to the misfortune of this reality is that our focus must be on the road, which means we are unable to be otherwise productive. This could be changing in the near future, however. Advances in autonomous driving technology are paving a way to making our daily commute an extension of our office. Here are some ways in which driverless cars will change the way we work.
Work In The Car
Let’s face it, work is increasingly mobile. We work from home. We work in coffee shops. Often, if we have internet access and maybe some nearby coffee, we’re in business. And often our business is online via on online store instead of merely having access to our work through the internet. Regardless of the scenario, our ability to work from wherever. This makes commuting to and from work a real dead spot for productivity. This could change, however, with the development of autonomous driving vehicles.
If you can put your coordinates into your car and trust it to chauffer you to work and back, that time could be spent constructively. Even talking with clients and coworkers becomes safer and you can have better focus on your conversation without the distractions that come with driving. If you have an understanding work culture, you could essentially clock in when you get into your car and begin your work day. Then, you could factor in your drivetime home for your departure and finish up your work day in your car. You arrive home at the time you would normally just leave the office. All of that time is recaptured and yours to do with as you please.
By reducing the time you spend in the office and increasing your time away from work related activities gives you more personal time as well. This can improve your productivity and reduce burn out as well as increase your work satisfaction. Reducing the stress of driving as well as increasing your free time all add up to a fresher mind and a better, more productive attitude.
Living Away from Your Work Location
One common reality that commuters confront is living far away from work due to the cost of housing. For example, many people who work in Silicon Valley can’t afford to live near work unless they are executives. The cost of even modest homes often exceeds seven digits. Therefore, most people must choose between long commutes or substandard housing. For those who choose to live farther away, autonomous vehicles will increase your ability to make use of your travel time and allow you to live in a nicer home you can afford.
Ride Sharing Services Instead of Mass Transit
Currently, services like Uber and Lyft have improved ride hailing services. Autonomous driving cars could take that to the next level. Imagine if a nice vehicle showed up at your house and drove you to work along with a group of other commuters. It would be like getting a bus, but the bus stop is your house and the bus is a nice vehicle and it only picks up people who subscribe to the service.
This will ultimately become a driverless reality where the expense will drop and you will be able to put your full attention on your work. Each ride sharing vehicle becomes a defacto work hub for commuters. They will become the equivalent of a coffee shop on wheels where people sit in their own little world, doing their work, while surrounded by fellow travelers.
Even with the inconvenience of flying, it is so much faster than driving that people endure it. However, an hour flight usually means a half hour drive to the airport, a half hour wait in line, an hour wait to board, 15 minutes before takeoff, an hour flight, ten minutes to pick up luggage, and a half hour drive from the airport, turns that hour flight into a whole day endeavor. This is particularly true among business travelers, who try to make the best of it by working on the planes and during their waits at the airport.
However, if you can work while the car drives, taking that short flight might get replaced by a drive. If you can work in the car, avoid TSA checks, and all of the waiting in uncomfortable airport chairs, and still get your work done, driving (passengering) becomes a desired choice. Instead of being surrounded by thousands of strangers, you can enjoy the cabin of your private vehicle, which plays your favorite music in the comfort of your car seat.
Driverless cars will be a reality soon. We already have advanced autonomous features, but the fully autonomous experience is the big next step. When that step is mastered, it will change our relationship with work and our jobs. We will be able to replace the inefficient commute with a mobile office and we will be able to replace short flights with drives that take up an equal amount of time. All the while we will be able to work in our little mobile bubbles and live in the communities of our choice despite their distance from work. The robots are coming, but these aren’t going to take our jobs, but make our jobs more enjoyable.