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Commuting is Good For You

March 4, 2021

Of all the things work-from-home employees might miss about pre-pandemic life, commuting wouldn’t seem to register high on the attention meter. But nearly a year after being sent home from the office, some employees have realized that losing that time on the bus, train, or street - or in the car - has some drawbacks.

According to research from the Harvard Business School, commuting provides "a temporal and spatial separation between all the different roles we play." It's a buffer that eases the transition from one identity to the next, a consistent dose of in-between time to reflect and reset. 

Research indicates that before the pandemic, the average commute was 38 minutes each way. Not only have employees lost that buffer, but they have also taken on more work - about 48 extra minutes per day!

And they are also dealing with more meetings and more communication that spills into off hours - according to findings published by the National Bureau of Economic Research in July.

When we don't psychologically detach from work, we risk becoming exhausted and burned out. Are we working at home or sleeping at work? We're all confused! 

Without a commute - we've lost that "me" time and the opportunity to unwind, detach, shake everything off from the day. 

Commuting is an opportunity to think about and plan for the role we’re transitioning into - such as shifting from technical analyst or project manager to parent. It allows us to reflect on our upcoming role like what to make for dinner, which chores need to be done, what's on TV tonight, or what to wear tomorrow. 

When you ride public transportation, you can sit back and relax. You can scroll through social media, read a book, do a crossword, text your mom, or DO NOTHING AT ALL.

To go a step further - STUDIES show that public transportation users are generally more active, safer, spend less on transportation, and help better the environment and economy. These factors improve the well-being of riders and those who surround them.

Individuals who use public transportation get an average of 19 minutes of physical activity per day and get over three times the amount of physical activity per day of those who don’t.

Public transportation users take 30% more steps per day than people who rely on cars. In fact - train commuters are 4 times more likely to achieve 10,000 daily steps than car commuters.