Checking emails while commuting should count as work: Study

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Passengers use smartphones inside a subway train in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015.  

In Norway, commuters have been seen to be able to include some travel time as part of their working day, the researchers made note of. This is not the case however in the U.K., so researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE) set out to examine the impact of free Wi-Fi on commuter trains.

They surveyed 5,000 rail passengers traveling on Chiltern Railways trains on two major London routes — from/to Birmingham and Aylesbury — over a 40-week period in 2016 and 2017.

Observing how popular the uptake of free Wi-Fi was, the researchers discovered that many passengers were willing to make use of the complimentary connectivity, increasingly as the amount of free Wi-Fi was extended. Others opted to use their own mobile data.

The UWE study, published Thursday, found that many of those surveyed used their commute to prepare for the day, or to catch up on work tasks, including emails.

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