Original Research

Transport anxiety and work performance

Jenni Gobind
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a943 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.943 | © 2018 Jenni Gobind | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 April 2017 | Published: 23 July 2018

About the author(s)

Jenni Gobind, Research Department, Milpark Education; Wits Business School, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa


Orientation: It has often been taken for granted that employees in general should arrive at work within a stipulated time. While the process of commuting from home to work and vice versa should ideally result in minimal effort, this seamless process of commute is supposedly expected not to result in anxiety or work-related stress. Individuals that rely on public transport for their daily commute to and for work are faced with physical and emotional challenges that are associated with the use of South African public transport. Enduring these challenges on a daily basis has a tendency to raise commuter levels of anxiety. The discomfort and cause of anxiety gradually trickle into the workplace infringing on work performance.

Research purpose: This article examined whether the anxiety associated with public transport results in poor work performance.

Motivation for the study: The rationale for conducting the study stemmed from the need to understand the implication of transport anxiety on the South African employee, as transport related concerns are often mentioned as a stressor in the South African workplace.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative content analysis was relied on, and 15 commuters were interviewed. Interviewee responses were grouped into themes and analysed for frequency of word usage.

Main Findings: The study revealed that commuters experience worry and concern for their safety and job security when relying on public transport. Findings indicated that anxiety associated with using public transport does indeed result in poor work performance.

Practical/managerial implications: In light of the findings of the study it is suggested that employers take cognisance of the implications of transport anxiety in their workplaces and to give careful consideration when addressing disciplinary matters pertaining to late coming, absenteeism and poor performance.

Contribution/value-add: Re-evaluation of the South African public transport system and workplace policy is therefore recommended. Public transport has a negative impact on South African workers, of which the South African employer needs to be cognitive of when considering a sanction for poor performance.


anxiety; commuter; public transport; work performance; taxi


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