THE NEW NORMAL - How Fake Commuting Can Improve Your Remote Workday
Do you miss being packed like sardines in a crowded subway car, running to catch the bus with just seconds to spare, or sitting in traffic every workday? Probably not – but it turns out that our daily commutes were actually quite beneficial, even when they were unpleasant.
Think about what you used to do on your commute. Did you listen to music or a podcast? Read a book? Play games on your phone? Zone out and do nothing for the entire time? Now think about what you do before work now. Chances are, you didn’t take your commuting habits with you now that your commute is from one room in your house to another.
Our commutes were essentially helping us to transition into and out of work mode. The routine of commuting and ending up in the office was a mental signal to begin working. Now, both cues that traditionally began the workday have been removed, so it’s no surprise that you might find yourself struggling to switch between home mode and work mode.
Enter the fake commute – a mental hack to convince our brains that it’s time to get to work. The best news? This commute comes with 100% fewer packed subway cars, traffic jams, and people who don’t seem to understand how headphones work in a public space.
You don’t have to actually leave your house for a fake commute.
A fake commute is essentially an optimized morning routine designed to create a distinction between home time and work time. It provides structure to days that otherwise feel like they all blend together.
Whether you actually leave your home or not is entirely your choice, but stepping outside to get some fresh air, even for just a few minutes, is highly recommended. Mornings are a great time for a walk or run, especially if you used to commute by subway or bus where walking was part of your commuting routine. You can also exercise, meditate, do yoga, dance, or any other kind of movement in the time that you would have been travelling to work. The same thing goes for listening to music or reading.
You can even go one step further in re-creating your commuting routine by packing your bag like you used to. Bring your bag into your home office for a solid mental cue that it’s time to begin the workday.
Do something you couldn’t when you used to commute.
The beauty of working from home is that without a commute, you’re able to take the time you’d be spending in transit as time to use for yourself. Use this bonus time to do something that you enjoy. Prepare a proper breakfast, have a chat with your family, or call a friend. Catch up on the books you’ve said you’ll read someday, or read the local newspaper. This time is yours, do with it what you want.
You need to commute ‘home’ too.
Create an end of day fake commute too to reap all of the benefits. This helps you transition back into home mode. Close tabs on your computer and turn it off for the day. Tidy up your workspace. Replicate your return home commute activities like listening to music or reading for 10 minutes or more. Take a walk or exercise if you didn’t do that in the morning. Whatever you choose to do, remind yourself that doing that activity is your cue to end the workday and switch back to home mode.
There’s only one downside.
The only downside of a fake commute is that you can’t blame your lateness on train delays or heavy traffic. However, being late for working from home due to a fake commute does make for a great story!