Why are so many people 'fake commuting'?
One of the key benefits of working remotely for many is the redundancy of the dreaded daily commute.
Prior to COVID, the average commuting time was just over 58 minutes according to the TUC, meaning that the vast majority of workers put in nearly two hours of each day just to travel to and from work via packed trains, slow-moving traffic or on foot.
And whilst 65% of people said that the commute was the worst part of their day, that time was only increasing, and getting more expensive. In the past 10 years, rail fares have risen twice as fast as wages. Getting the bus is also becoming increasingly difficult, with council cuts leading to drastic falls in publicly subsidised bus travel and thousands of routes being cut back or scrapped completely since 2010.
You may well assume that, considering how many companies are now allowing staff to work remotely for the indefinite future, that the lack of commute is only considered a benefit by the majority of the workforce, however, one unexpended side effect of being forced into mandatory home working is that many employees now miss it.
Why are workers missing the commute?
In essence, whilst commuting demanded time in the day, the issue comes down to work-life balance. For many, the time separating home and work life served not only as a physical divider, but also added mental distance between the two states of mind. Many have found that, since working from home full time, the balance between these two areas has blurred to a worrying point.
"It sounds a bit ridiculous, but the point is that, once upon a time, I used my commute to mentally prepare for the day ... The time to walk out of the house and leave behind whatever was going on," Dr Lyons, a lecturer at Monash University, recently told the Sydney Herald.
What’s the answer?
The solution is simple, yet effective. If the time between home life and working life was beneficial, then artificially create it. Sticking to a regular schedule of walking or cycling pre and post work, in leu of the usual commute, will offer all of the benefits that a commute gave; not only will you be changing the physical space you’re in, but also the mental space.
This is something that Dr Joe Mitchell, Psychologist, recommends. “You can create your own transition or buffer zones even if you're not having the normal drive or public transport trip to work,” he told Forbes.
For those who struggle to find the time to physically leave the house, Dr Mitchell recommends taking up another regular daily exercise to create the same space. He notes that even something as simple as sitting and having a quiet cup of coffee, then washing the mug, can be effective in creating the mental space and clarity that commuting once gave.
For others, it may be doing yoga, or even watching a little TV. "I personally sit quietly for 20 minutes before I start work. It gives me a real cut-off," he noted.
Source: Executive Grapevine