Cost of a London PR Commute Study – 2019

By Brendon Craigie
Co-founder and Managing Partner


When I set up Tyto I wanted to develop our business around a new location agnostic operating model. This model means that we have an entirely remote team that works as one across Europe. Our employees can opt to work from home or in a co-working space.

I had three reasons for adopting a location agnostic model. First, I wanted to build a fast-paced dynamic agency but without my previous three-hour round-trip London commute. Second, I saw a fixed office as the greatest constraint on access to talent as it limited the catchment area to recruit the best people from. Third, I wanted to build a one team culture across multiple European countries and I saw offices as building barriers between people.

The benefits to our employees, our clients and our business of a location agnostic model have been significant and satisfying. Without the shackles of costly London commute, we achieved my goal of having a talented, connected and productive agency team who can live anywhere, and work anywhere, and deliver outstanding service to clients. 

We created this annual study into the costs faced by London bound PR commuters to shine a light on the costs they likely bear, and to the raise the level of debate about alternative ways of working that are better for employees and better for business.

This study looks at the cost of a PR commute when travelling to London from the most popular commuter towns. We’ve anchored our research around a nominal London office location of Holborn. The costs measured in this study are time and financial but there are undoubtedly significant health and welfare costs which impact employees and their energy levels at work which are hard to objectify. These include:

  • Greater restrictions on where you choose to live because you need to commute each day to London
  • Higher property costs and less flexibility when securing schooling and childcare for children
  • Less time with friends and family
  • Less time for leisure and exercise
  • Less time to focus on eating a fresh and healthy diet
  • Less time to rest and recharge
  • More stress from travelling during peak hours.

It is not difficult to estimate that the impact on employee happiness is considerable. Most employers will agree that there is a direct correlation between a person’s happiness and their level of valuable productivity and enjoyment of their work.

I hope you find this study valuable and we welcome feedback on how we can make improvements to it next year.

Executive summary

  • The average financial cost of a PR commute into London is £5,622 per year or 16% of the average annual London net post tax PR industry salary.
  • The average daily time cost of a PR commute into London is nearly two and half hours per day when you combine the rail commute, travel to/from home to the station, and connecting London Underground travel to the office.
  • Annually this equates to employees giving away an average of £13,154 worth of unpaid overtime to get to the office, based on the PRCA’s estimated average annual London annual PR salary.
  • When you project this commuting time over a year, the average cost of a PR commute to London equates to 24 full 24-hour days per year. Over a ten-year period, this is 240 full 24-hour days, which is the equivalent of one full working year of 24-hour days of a person’s life after you have deducted holidays. In summary, employees spend the equivalent of one entire working year of their lives commuting over a ten-year period.
  • For parents, commuting time equals additional wraparound childcare time and costs. The average cost of wraparound childcare for London commuters is £18.86 per day or £4,450.57 per year. This equates to an average of 12.57% of employees net post-tax annual PR industry salary.
  • When you combine the annual cost of travel with the cost of wraparound childcare the average London commuter is paying out £10,115 of their net post-tax salary per year to get to their London office. This equates to 28% of the annual average net post-tax London PR salary.


London commuters are suffering. Not just from the unpleasantness of commuting into London every day on overcrowded trains. They are suffering financially, losing nearly a third of their post-tax salary to travel costs and wraparound childcare. They are also suffering by losing the equivalent of 24 hours of their lives to commuting. What really grates for London bound PR commuters is that they do all of this suffering unpaid. This equates to doing the equivalent of £13,154 worth of unpaid overtime to get to the office.

At Tyto, we are on a mission to challenge the status quo that says that to be productive, employees must commute to a central office every day of their working life.

The technology industry is leading the way in the adoption of location agnostic working with companies like GitHub and Automattic leading the way. We think that is time for the PR industry follow the lead of the world’s most innovative companies, and to explore much more flexible employment practices.

The financial, time, and health and welfare benefits to employees are considerable. We believe happier, healthier, and more financially secure employees are a great thing for the PR industry. In our case, we believe that the real winners are our clients because they get to work with the very best people we can attract, not just those who can do a daily London commute.

It’s time for change, it’s time for action and it’s time for less costly and wasteful commuting.