Putting the ‘commute’ in telecommute

Use your traditional commute time to go for a quick run.

Does the headline sound intriguing to you? If so, have you considered using the time you used to commute to and from the office to better yourself physically or mentally?

Right now, your alarm rings seven minutes before you have to log into work and you have just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and sit at your home computer before that first Zoom meeting starts. Your work attire consists of that faded T-shirt you’ve had since college and old sweatpants marked by more than a few mystery stains.

If you’ve fallen into such a last-minute routine while teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic, try reigniting your morning by taking advantage of your former commute time.

Using your former commute time, you can start a new regimen such as walking, running or biking. Or, if you don’t want to go outside, try yoga, meditation or just taking time to sit and read. According to the National Sleep Foundation, yoga and meditation “can help people with insomnia sleep longer, fall asleep faster and fall back asleep more quickly in the middle of the night.

The “fake” commute can be a key step in creating a routine, which is important when telecommuting. According to Roz Tucker with Georgia Commute Options keeping the same routine leads to increased productivity.

Exercising during your “fake” commute can also help you mentally prepare for the workday. “People who segment do have better work-life balances,” Kristen Shockley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, told CNN.com.

We know that working from home reduces miles driven and is good for the environment, but the isolation of a home office can take a toll on our mental health. Your “fake” commute time can be used as an opportunity to reduce that isolation by reaching out to your team members to chat about projects or just have a little social interaction.

According to Tucker, teleworkers take fewer breaks and work longer hours than those working at the office. If possible, try to maintain normal office hours and use your “fake” commute at the end of the day to mentally decompress from work and prepare to give your full attention to your home life.

Whether you telecommute just a few days a week or work from home full time, adding some activity to your “fake” commute can make you healthier and more productive.

Learn more about the benefits of telework at SunRideshare.org.