What is a fake commute? Today, a lot has changed about the way we work. Due to the state of the world around us, many businesses have had to find ways where their employees could still work at home but remain as productive as they were in the office. Many employees lauded the move since working from home was a luxury only a few jobs had.
One of the biggest reasons people praised remote working is that they could escape the dreaded commute. For many people, the average time spent during a commute to work is an hour. This means in a day, someone could be spending upwards of three hours commuting in slow-moving traffic, packed trains, or even on foot.
Although the change in status quo was greeted well because people didn’t have to spend all that time going to work, there has been an unexpected side effect several months in. People are missing their commutes to work! Many people realized that there is a need for some distance, albeit mentally, between your state of mind at work and at home.
While the commute in itself demanded time, it is essential to keep a proper work-life balance. Working from home on full-time basis over the last couple of months has blurred the line between the two so much so that it’s becoming worrying. Most people have found that they used this time to prepare for the day and the time back to decompress from everything at work and focus on family.
What Is a Fake Commute?
To remedy this situation, we have to create this time in our schedules artificially. This means that although you are working from home, you still take the time to walk, cycle or drive before and after work. A phenomenon many people have called a “false commute.” This is why it’s increasingly getting popular.
It Gives You a Sense of Routine
Working from home for several months back-to-back can lead to the days blending into each other. It’s so bad that sometimes people end up not being excited to start working at all. The days would be better if people had a chance to mix things up a bit by going to a café or a shared workspace if things got monotonous.
Since there are very few places left to go, you can treat your commute as a way to distract yourself and get a little breathing space before and after work. We advise allocating about thirty to forty minutes to their false commute both in the mornings and evening. To keep a sense of routine going, try to do it at the same time every day. Doing that will give your brain a signal that the workday is starting and ending. Furthermore, it gives you a sense of predictability in a time where so much is uncertain.
It’s a Reason to Get Dressed in the Morning
Over the last few months, people have gotten used to working from home so much so that they do it in their pajamas. Remote work has made it possible for people to roll out of bed and straight onto their desks without anyone being the wiser. The caveat in this is that you’ll probably lag for a few hours before you get into the groove. The reason behind this, according to psychologists, is that the clothes you are wearing have a huge impact on both productivity levels and mood.
As such, people who fake commuting have a reason to get into the shower and put on their work clothes. These ideas for fake commute will help you have a schedule as you would when you were actually leaving for work. Without the morning commute, you’ll probably have breakfast knee-deep in emails which isn’t a good idea. When you enter your home from the false commute, you’ll feel both physically and psychologically ready to tackle the workday before you.
Get a Chance to Soak in Some Fresh Air
We are all cooped up in the house for extended periods, which means that you stay indoors for days on end, which is not healthy. A fake commute will help get some fresh air into your lungs, and if you’re lucky, some of that vitamin D from the sun which has been found to possess a lot of mood-lifting properties. Happy lights only work so well.
Since most people had a non-physical commute via subway or driving, it can be a good idea to bring in something fresh and do something new. An activity such as running, jogging, or even walking your dog can help you get the bit of exercise your body needs every day.
Other ideas for fake commutes may involve doing an activity for an hour after you are done working. This activity could be a form of exercise such as jogging, swimming, running, or doing a home workout. This activity will not only help you unwind from your workday, but also help you get some serotonin flowing through your veins to help you get better sleep.
Since lots of people took their commute time to catch up to their favorite podcasts and music, you can still incorporate them into the fake commute routine. Especially in a home with noisy children or distractions, this can be a very healthy me-time.
Ideas for a Fake Commute
We recommend the following ideas for fake commute:
1. Get Dressed, and Go Outside
One of the biggest parts of this commute, as earlier highlighted, is actually getting dressed and going out of your house or apartment. Go for a walk around the block or to get coffee. Go for a bike ride. Do whatever you normally would have done when you were going into the office.
Work attire often has a seriousness to it which is often transferred into the work. The work clothes are important because when your workday is done, you can remove them and wear your evening clothes such as a t-shirt and some sweatpants, which is also a symbol in itself.
2. Follow the Same Schedule
Get ready for work at the same you normally would have gotten ready for your commute. Your fake commute should happen during the same time you would normally be commuting to or from the office.
Fake commutes don’t only have to just be for mornings and evenings. You can choose to incorporate them in your day as you see fit to help you boost productivity. In instances where you frequently moved between meetings, don’t use up these minutes working.
Instead, if you spent ten or fifteen minutes walking between meetings, use this time to take a quick breather or grab some coffee from the kitchen. Taking these small breaks might seem inconsequential, but in truth, they are crucial in helping reset the brain after tackling problems for a while.
3. Play Music or Listen to a Podcast
If you find that transitioning between work and home life challenging, know you aren’t alone. Transition songs can be of great help here because they will get you into the mood to work and also help you put the work aside and relax. When you are feeling conflicted between taking your fake commute and just jumping into work, play the song and let it do its magic. Music is a powerful tool and can be used as a motivator when it counts. If you listened to a podcast or audiobook on the way to work, listen to one with your headphones.
4. Activate ‘Do Not Disturb’ on Your Phone
These days, our phones are an extension of us. As such, we tend to go with them everywhere. Although they are a valuable source of both news and entertainment, their constant buzzing and alerts are enough to pull your attention away from your commute. As such, for those thirty or forty minutes your commute takes, you can turn off notifications and enjoy the moment. When you take time to look at your phone every three minutes, it takes you away from the goal at hand, which is either preparing for the day or decompressing from it.
5. Shutting Down Your Workspace
We need to have boundaries between work and personal time. This is why experts recommend symbolizing the end of the workday. In this instance, it means shutting down your computer, putting away your files, and leaving the office. If yours is a more compact dwelling, simply put away your work where it won’t be in your direct field of view.
This is a proper signal to your mind that the workday has come to an end. It’s also important to avoid these spaces during your down-time. Most of the time, you’ll remember something or have some inspiration and want to rush into your office before it goes away. We recommend that you don’t do this. Instead, document the idea or thought onto a notebook or on your phone so that you can follow your train of thought when you are back to work-mode.
6. Keep Your Physical Routine
If you had an exercise routine before working remotely, you should keep it going. Not commuting to work on a regular basis has made people lazier. With the added aspect of not going to the office, people have let really left their fitness to the wind. Not only does continuing with the physical routine do wonders for your psyche, but you will also enjoy the merits of a good workout. Some experts even recommend going for that workout when you feel stuck and need a break. Apparently, the mind is still working on the problem subconsciously and may come up with a solution.