Missing the Daily Commute? A Remote Work Commute is Better
When we were first forced home in the early days of the pandemic, there was a quiet celebration of this new "work-from-home" lifestyle. We enjoyed ditching the daily commute in favour of more sleep. We were not being forced outside in winter. And, we could stay in PJs in the morning unless we were on a video call. Just think about all the extra time we'd have back!
Fast forward to Year Two of pandemic living, and we're asking ourselves, "was commuting really that bad?" We may have said goodbye to traffic jams and hour-long bus rides, but we also lost quiet time in the car listening to the radio, decompressing after a long day. Reading, listening to podcasts or sleeping on public transportation have fallen by the wayside. The time we had each day to transition into work and decompress after work has disappeared.
How are we spending all that "extra" time now? For many of us, the extra time has been spent… well, working. There's become a disconnect between when the workday ends and family time begins. Many of us are simply working more hours.
As of February 2021, a Statistics Canada survey reported that 3.1 million Canadians were working from home. Of those, 35 percent are working longer hours since leaving the office. At least half of those in management positions (51 percent) are also putting in longer hours. Yet, despite this increase in work hours per week, 80 percent of telecommuters said they would like to continue working half of their hours from home, post-pandemic.
So, if we want to keep working from home but miss that alone time before and after work, what we really need is to take that time back.
What we need is a remote work commute.
Take that time you would have spent in the car or on public transportation, and use it for a morning walk or exercise regime. If exercise isn't your fancy, start the day off in nature - take a stroll around the block or sit in the backyard (or front yard, or balcony) and have your morning coffee. The intent is for it to become a pre-work routine that prepares you for the day. Instead of racing down the highway, you can now walk the dog or take a shower and blow-dry your hair to signal the day is about to start.
After work requires a similar routine. Perhaps it's a half-hour stroll listening to a podcast or a hot shower and a change into comfy clothes. This daily practice allows us time to wind down and recharge our spirit before tackling dinner, homework with the kids or (virtual) evening activities.
For many of us, working from home full-time was as new as the pandemic itself. The conditions around this development have been fraught with worry and stress for over a year. How work and life will shape out in a post-pandemic world remains to be seen, but in the meantime, give yourself the gift of a remote work commute. Keep calm and commute on.