Are you working from home? Miss the commute?
Probably not. Not having the aggravation and wasted time sitting in traffic to and from your office is a definite benefit of working from home. But there are downsides to working from home. And one of them is, you guessed it, the commute.
While nobody likes driving to and from the office each day, there are benefits that you lose if you work from home.
But that is because you’re doing it wrong. Most people that have started working from home approach each day the same. They sleep late (or worse, get to work early) because they don’t have to commute. They grab a cup of coffee and head into the office.
Stop doing that.
Take advantage of working from home, but not by skipping the commute. You can now have all the benefits of a commute without headaches.
First, establish your timeline. When you commuted to the office, how long did that take? Your new commute will take just as long, but it will be more fun. You will get up at the same time you used to and arrive in your office at the same time you used to. It’s that time in between that will change.
If you didn’t have one before, develop a morning routine. By that, I mean a slow and leisurely waking up process that begins with deep breathing and stretching in bed. Then get up and do a stretching, Yoga, or Pilates routine. Now it’s time for that cup of coffee or tea and a good, healthy breakfast. Finish your regular morning routine of showering, dressing, etc.
How much time do you have left before you have to ‘be in the office?’ If you want to be truly authentic, you could hop in your car and go for a drive. But not into traffic, away from it. Find a nice scenic drive that doesn’t involve traffic. Or maybe your old commute was by public transit. What did you do on the train or bus? Do that. Sit down and read. You could even use this time to scan social media; get that out of the way early. But no email. No business. You’re not in the office yet.
Or you could use the time to learn something new, practice a musical instrument, or study a foreign language. It doesn’t matter as long as there is no stress involved.
Finally, at the appointed time, grab another cup and stroll into the office. Have you ever felt that calm and relaxed at the start of a workday? It may take some time as you adjust to your new schedule and find something that works for you, but eventually, you will get into a pattern using your old commute time for you time.
But what about the commute home. In my opinion, that one is even more important. If you did it right, your old commute was about forgetting about the day and getting ready for the evening. To mentally erase the problems of the day and prepare to spend time with your family.
So, don’t work late just because you don’t have to drive home, then rush downstairs at the last minute. Or worse, go back upstairs because you forgot to do something, or you get a text or email about some ‘emergency.’ You didn’t use to drive back to the office, did you? Then stop doing that.
At the end of the day, mentally and physically prepare for tomorrow. Clean off your desk and shut down the computer. Put the phone on DND and set up your out of office message on email. It’s time to commute home. Head out the door at your usual time. If you didn’t do so in the morning, or even if you did, take that scenic drive. Listen to your favorite tunes or an audiobook.
Or, even better, go for a walk. Get a workout in. Use that commute time for yourself. A walk or some exercise is a great way to flush the day out of your system. By the time you get back home, the day should be forgotten.
I know this will take practice, but it can be done, and your family will thank you for it.
Walk back in the door at your usual time. And whatever you do, never go back into the office. Whatever it is will wait until morning. You may need to train your co-workers on this, even your boss. But when you are done for the day, you are done for the day. See you tomorrow.
This year, working from home became a new experience for many people, but if you spend your old commute time wisely, you can have the best of both worlds.