During the pandemic of the past two years, many professionals have been ‘fake’ commuting. We did not miss the morning and evening rush hour, but we all felt the need to get outside after a long workday, before starting our evening routine. Although the journey to and from work often leads to annoyances and frustrations, it turns out that this commute time also has its advantages. Alison Pougin, consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, explains the importance of (fake) commuting.
Boundary between work and private life
So why do we find the time on the road so important? Alison: "Many professionals find it annoying, but it does have its advantages as well. During the pandemic, the line between work and private life was very blurred. For professionals who work from home, taking some time in the morning or evening to 'commute' - or so-called 'fake commuting' - can help make that transition easier. After all, being on the road prepares you mentally for work, or it just helps to clear your head. If you have trouble letting go of work at the end of the workday, you will probably benefit from travelling to and from the office. If you still work from home some days, then such a 'fake commute' might be for you too."
When you're on the road, give your creativity free rein. There are many ways to do so. If you take public transport, you can take notes or look at what your fellow travelers are reading or watching. Don't look at your phone but take in the stimuli of your surroundings. Do this even when you are travelling by car, bike or on foot. No doubt you will see something that will inspire you," says Alison.
"Of course, we mustn't forget the disadvantages of commuting. "Unexpected situations such as traffic jams or the train or bus being delayed are unfortunately daily occurrences for some. That is no fun for anyone, but the way you deal with such a situation has a big influence on the rest of your day. So, instead of getting angry or frustrated, stay calm and accept the situation. The better you deal with it, the more positive you can start your workday, or the more pleasant you will be for your housemates when you arrive home.
Managing your travel time well
"You can prevent much of this 'travel stress' by planning your journey to and from work well. Taking inspiration from your surroundings can help, but there are other ways for some me-time. Listen to a podcast or a good audiobook, for example. Or learn something new: setting aside half an hour a day to learn a new language is a useful activity.
Do you need to clear your head after a busy day at work? Then you could listen to your favorite music. Has it been a long time since you spoke to a friend? Making a (hands-free!) call from the car can often do wonders to leave a hectic day behind you. There are also numerous mindfulness apps available to help you relax," says Alison.
Sometimes the problem is not time to commute, but your fellow travelers. Do you have trouble coping with the many people on public transport during rush hour? Don't hesitate to ask your employer to be flexible here, so you can travel outside rush hour if necessary. "Suggest, for example, that you work from home first and then leave as soon as rush hour is over. That can take away a lot of frustration in the morning, so you can calmly continue your workday at the office."
Routine for home workers
Even when you work from home, there are a few things you can do to keep your mind at ease. Take a walk or a bike ride in the morning and go out at the same time as you would on a 'normal' working day, so-called 'fake commuting'.
Your outfit can also be important. Working in pyjamas may seem cool, but the line between work and private life is better preserved if you wear your normal work outfit at home as well," concludes Alison.
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