We all know that remote work has multiple benefits, each carrying a different weight depending on the person. But for me, one of the most valuable aspects of remote work is the time I’ve recouped by no longer having a twice-daily commute.
Breaking free of the need to rush out the door in the morning and wishing I could teleport home after a long day at work has been restorative. Planning a timeline based on factors out of my control – public transportation, traffic, or rideshare prices – is a thing of the past, as is the stress that came with it. And the time I’ve gained has been put to good use.
Ditching the commute has given me an extra 2 hours per day to be more intentional in cultivating relationships with my loved ones. I’m never too tired to call my mom after work and catch up, and we have more time to talk. I have an extra hour each evening to spend with my partner, watching The Office and laughing until our sides hurt.
Have you ever planned on getting up early before work to go jogging, only to skip out in favor of more sleep? Promised you’d hit the gym after work, but thought, “I just want to go home” at the end of the work day? That was me. Honestly, that’s still me – good luck finding me at a gym ever. But I do sometimes use my morning time to go on a long walk. It’s lovely and eases back pain; who knew? The point is that I now have extra opportunities to focus on my health and the energy to do so. For other people, this could mean going to the gym, doing physical therapy exercises at home, or having access to an expanded time frame to make medical appointments for themselves or their kids.
Average commute time and cost vary from city to city, but working from home no doubt helps save on both. Hobbies I would have to pull back from because of a commute are still open to me. Random virtual art workshops that start at 5:00 pm? Sign me up; I’m available and don’t have to ration my “good” paints! There’s the extra time every day that I can use to learn a new skill or pursue my hobbies.
Right now, my favorite way to spend commute-related time savings is by setting aside those hours to do…nothing. Or, at least, nothing specific. Simply having a slow morning before work or winding down and decompressing after a productive day are also incredibly valid ways to use those moments.
When I’m rested, healthy, and feeling good, my concentration improves, as does my ability to engage more genuinely with colleagues and think creatively. Coming full circle, the benefits I reap by reclaiming my commute time impact how I feel and perform while working. The two extra hours surrounding my work day create an inner space of calm and focus that makes me a better employee and teammate than I would be without them.