How often have you sat in the car, bus, metro, and everything in between complaining about your work commute? If you’re anything like most people, it’s safe to say that happened pretty often. However, covid has brought about an interesting phenomenon that has people actually missing the commute they used to find less than agreeable. Why is that?
Turns out that the time we felt was being wasted actually helps us mentally prepare for a work day and then decompress once we leave (Levitz, 2021). The commute puts definitive boundaries on our work day where we are granted the opportunity to put work aside and think about something else. In our current work from home state, most people try to set aside specific work hours but those hours are quite fluid as we get distracted by everyday life. As people realized they were working longer hours, they started to actually miss the times when their commute home signaled the end to a long day.
Thus the ‘fake commute’ is born. People have begun to simulate a commute in their routine to not only establish boundaries but also make themselves more effective workers during the hours they are working. Putting a definitive start and stop time on something gives you the mindset that I have this much time to be effective in my work. It also gives you something to work towards which, again, can make you more effective. When starting your day, the transition time which is typically in the form of a commute, allows you to prepare yourself for the day ahead. It gives you the time to wrap your head around all that you have to get done and it helps you start to plan out what the rest of the day might look like. This is a good time to set small, achievable goals that will make you feel satisfied and confident in putting your work away for the night once you hit that magic hour that you have decided on.
So, what are people doing during these fake commutes? Here are some examples to give you some ideas on ways you can break up the start and end of your day.
Some people get up early, put on their work clothes, make coffee and take a short walk around the neighborhood before sitting down at their desk by the hour they have set as their starting work hour.
Others set aside specific days of the week to drive to their favorite coffee shop in the morning, even if it is a little farther away to give them that car ride they are so used to. For the nightly commute, you can schedule certain days of the week where you go get take out to have some more car time.
Those who use public transportation often enjoyed reading a book during their commute but have found that doing so at home just isn’t the same. If this is the case for you, try getting outside to a place where you probably don’t have wifi and you can enjoy your book free of distractions. This will also help you transition from your work brain to your home brain.
These are just a few strategies that people have made a part of their daily work routines. Many of these involve getting up early as you normally would if you were still commuting. This may seem counterintuitive to the whole point of working from home. However, it is vital that you set aside specific work hours so that you don’t work later into the night than you normally would to achieve that work life balance. Therefore, in order to prepare yourself for the day with your fake commute, you might have to get up a little earlier than seems necessary.
Keep in mind that this is your commute and if you feel like you don’t need a morning one, then you don’t have to! The beauty of work from home is that you get to decide. So go ahead and try some things out, see what works best for you.
Do you have a fake commute routine? We would love to hear about it! Head over to any AGL social media and leave a comment of your routine! You may inspire others to try it out.
Want to learn even more strategies for creating work-life boundaries? Head over to agl.thinkific.com to take our course on the virtual self for some more tips and tricks.
Thanks for reading!
Source: Levitz, J. (2021, Jan. 11). Welcome to the fake office commute (turns out people miss the routine). Dow Jones Institutional News.