What Is a Super Commuter, and What Do They Mean for Corporate HR Teams?

December 14, 2023

In the modern world of work, super commuters are emerging as a significant part of the workforce. Traditionally, a super commuter traveled 90 minutes from home to work, but the landscape has drastically changed post-pandemic.

As many workplaces have adapted to enable employees to work remotely, the concept of super commutes has become increasingly prevalent. This new freedom allows employees to live in a city where they can afford more savings, and they tend to accept longer commutes as a viable trade-off for a better quality of life.

Nowadays, people regularly commute long distances, from London to Dubai or NYC to Miami. This evolution introduces various issues for travel managers and HR professionals, which this article aims to address.

What is considered a super commute?

A super commute is a commute that takes 90 minutes or longer one way. In today’s global environment, however, super commuting extends to those who commute long distances internationally, such as a round trip between San Francisco and Tokyo.

Modern super commuters

While an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Apartment List shows a decrease in super commuters since 2019, thanks to the increasing popularity of work-from-home models both during and after the pandemic, there are still millions of super commuters in the US alone— and the phenomenon is growing globally.

Consider a senior marketing executive based in New York who flies to London twice a month. She has a second apartment near her London office, showcasing that for super commuters, the practice is not just about travel time—it’s a lifestyle that can include maintaining residences in multiple states or countries.

International super commutes are a profound shift from when a commute was typically from a suburban area to a city center. Now, in the age of remote work, super commutes might involve:

  • Regular international flights
  • The coordination of multiple residences
  • A budget allocation of substantial dollars towards travel expenses that employers are often willing to cover due to these workers’ unique skills and expertise

These examples illustrate a broader trend: In a world where working remotely on a regular basis is possible and even encouraged, traditional workplace boundaries are expanding. People don’t have to live in the same city—or even the same country—as their employer.

This shift enables professionals to seek out living conditions that suit them best, whether they choose to prioritize proximity to family, a more affordable cost of living, or access to amenities and environments that enhance their quality of life.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of remote work, with many workers transitioning to a hybrid schedule. This newly acceptable schedule has given rise to a new breed of long haulers eager to work remotely without the stress of daily commutes, while still maintaining the benefits of urban living.

Super commutes have become an essential aspect of their lifestyle for these employees, allowing them to remain connected to their offices while enjoying the living conditions of a different city or country. Contributing to the increasing popularity of this arrangement are the savings—in both time and dollars—that remote work can offer.

How should employers manage super commuters?

Management of super commuters should focus on the well-being of these employees. Regular check-ins, flexible hours, and consideration of travel time and costs are essential. Employers may also consider stipends for travel costs, such as a plane ticket or additional housing.

Effectively managing super commuters is a nuanced task that demands a comprehensive strategy. Employers must respect the extra time these employees invest in their commute and understand the toll it might take on their well-being.


Given the long commutes that super commuters endure, offering flexible working hours can help alleviate the burden. For instance, employers could enable super commuters to start their day later in the morning or earlier to avoid rush hours or accommodate time zone differences.

Financial support

Recognizing the costs associated with an extra long commute, such as plane tickets and a second apartment, employers might consider housing stipends, travel allowances, or relocation packages to help ease the burden. Financial support shows that the company does not take the employee’s commitment for granted and is willing to invest in their comfort and retention.

Mental health and well-being programs

Super commuting can lead to burnout, stress, and family strain. Offering support in the form of mental health resources, family support services, or additional paid time off (PTO) can go a long way in demonstrating that the company values and is eager to maintain the well-being of its employees.

Communication and inclusion

Super commuters, who are not in the office regularly, may feel disconnected from the rest of the team. Regular virtual check-ins, inclusion in important meetings via video conference, and invitations to the office at the company’s expense for team-building events can help them feel like a valuable part of the team rather than an outsider.

What do super commuters mean for corporate HR teams and travel managers?

For corporate HR teams and travel managers, super commuters are introducing a new, complex layer to workforce management, and they need to adapt to the changing landscape. The rise of super commuting has significant implications for company policies, from travel allowances to tax implications and employee well-being programs.

Newland Chase, a global immigration company, is a vital partner in navigating the complex needs of super commuters, providing comprehensive support for all immigration and visa needs to more than 190 countries worldwide.

Policy development and regularization

HR must craft policies that are fair and realistic for super commuters, covering everything from travel-expense reimbursement to tax liabilities that might arise from working in multiple states or countries. HR teams are responsible for ensuring these policies comply with the varying laws of different jurisdictions—a daunting but essential task.

Duty of care and employee safety

In collaboration with HR, travel managers must consistently monitor the locations where employees work remotely and commute to and from. They need to plan for emergencies, ensuring the safety and security of employees commuting long distances regularly, whether by car or plane.

Training and development

As more professionals become super commuters, managers need training to effectively oversee a team they don’t see in person every day or every week. This training could involve new soft skills, like fostering team unity with members scattered in different cities or countries.

Retention strategies and career-path planning

Super commuters are taking on a substantial burden for the sake of their career, and retaining these dedicated individuals should be a priority. Check in about their career aspirations and more explicit paths to promotion, even when they are not physically present in the office regularly.

Super commuters are not just a new category of workers; they represent a significant shift that requires thoughtful adaptation at every level of corporate management. With the guidance and expertise of a seasoned immigration partner, like Newland Chase, HR teams and travel managers can navigate these complexities effectively, shaping a future where super commuting can be a sustainable, beneficial practice for employees and employers alike.

Is super commuting the way of the future?

Robert Pozen, a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, believes super commuting is here to stay. With about half the workers in the US being knowledge professionals who don’t need to be physically present daily, the hybrid work model can be a permanent fixture for more professionals.

On the other hand, Bill Fulton, former director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, notes that there is tension between super commuters who travel between states and employers who want employees, especially supervisors, close and present in the office regularly—maybe not five days a week, but more than once a month.

Super commuting represents a significant shift in how we think about work, life, and the relationship between the two. For companies, embracing this new reality requires a careful balance.

Employers must proactively manage this trend’s logistics, costs, and human aspects. In return, they can access a broader talent pool and potentially have happier, less stressed employees who are grateful for the opportunity to design a work-life structure that suits them and their families.

Looking ahead with Newland Chase

As we look to the future, super commuters will likely become a regular and significant segment of the global workforce—a trend reshaping the nature of work and life as we know it. With strategic planning and support from partners like Newland Chase, companies can effectively manage this new era of the working world.

As the landscape of super commuting continues to evolve, it is clear that being prepared, adaptable, and responsive to the needs of these workers will not only be a best practice, but a necessary strategy for success in the modern, globalized world of work.

At Newland Chase, we believe in empowering businesses with the tools and knowledge to thrive globally. Are you ready to embrace the future of work? Contact us for a quote today.