5 Unexpected Benefits of Commuting

As of May 2023, 39% of the UK workforce had worked from home at some point in the last week. Remote, hybrid, and flexible work were unfamiliar concepts to many of us a few years ago. Now they’re an integral part of British life.

Increasingly, people are voicing their discontent about commuting. But did you know that there are hidden benefits to those daily journeys? You see, commuting affords you opportunities that working from home simply can’t offer.

Let’s explore five benefits of commuting together and see if we can tempt you back into the office a little more often.

1. It Provides Structure

As humans, we love structure and routine. While we all crave a break from the norm from time to time, it’s the predictable rhythm of daily life that we find reassuring. Getting up at the same time each day and commuting to work is all part of that experience. Take away the commute and something important has gone.

For many of us, the lack of structure is one of the key difficulties in working from home vs. commuting. Rolling out of bed into a meeting and working in your pyjamas sounds great, but the reality is enjoyable. It turns out the things we used to moan about are the very benefits of commuting that we need to get back.

2. Mental Preparation for the Day Ahead

According to the UK Government, the average commute time in 2021 was 27 minutes. Naturally, most walking commutes were shorter, averaging 15 minutes, while rail commutes took 63 minutes each day. Most of us drive to work unless we’re commuting in London, where only 27% of workers do.

Whether you’re walking for 15 minutes or on the train for over an hour, commuting gives you valuable time to mentally prepare for the day ahead. You’re signalling to your mind and your body that you’re moving from the home phase of the day into the work phase. This distinction is healthy, and you can put that time to good use.

While commuting, you can think about:

  • What you need to accomplish that day
  • How you’ll respond to a particular email
  • The best way to accomplish a tricky task

A lot of this may happen subconsciously, but it means that you arrive at work ready to take on the challenges of the day. So yes, commuting may be a pain sometimes, but it’s probably making you a better employee.

3. It Gets You Out of the House

Have you had the experience of realising it's been days since you last left the house? If you now work from home full time and get your groceries delivered, it’s possible to go days, or even longer, without ever setting foot outside the house.

Spending time outdoors each day is one of the commuting benefits you just don’t get at home. And we need to get outside for the following reasons and more:

  • It supports our mental health
  • It helps relieve stress
  • It can improve our concentration
  • It can help us think more clearly

All of the above are great for work. So even if you’re not ready to start commuting again, make sure you take some time to get outdoors during the day and enjoy the world around you. Your brain, and your boss, will thank you for it.

4. A Better Destination

Probably very few of us chose our homes thinking they would also become our offices. We planned our homes with creature comforts in mind. We didn’t think about Zoom backgrounds, ergonomics, and standing desks. We may hate to admit it, but the truth is that many of us are really much more comfortable working in the office.

Offices have all the amenities we need to be productive. First of all, we’re surrounded by our colleagues. Yes, we can get on each others’ nerves occasionally, but there’s nothing like working as a team. It’s impossible to replicate that camaraderie over Teams.

Next, they have the right equipment and a tech team to help us when it goes wrong. They also provide places to meet clients, store information securely, and meet together without being reminded to unmute.

Finally, one of the major benefits of commuting to work is maintaining a clear division between work and home. When your home is also your office, it’s easy for the lines to become blurred and to feel you’re never off duty. Commuting may be a drag at times, but it can help you be more productive and let your home be your home.

5. Shift Back Into Home Mode

The journey home can be just as helpful as the morning commute. Psychologists call this time spent in “liminal space.” It’s a time of transition; you’re neither fully in work mode nor completely engaged with home. It gives you time to switch off from work and mentally prepare to engage with your home, family, furry friend, or whoever else you share your life with.

Take away the daily commute, and we’re expected to pivot from one mode to another instantaneously. That can cause a lot of stress that commuting could help to reduce.

Make Your Office a Place Your Employees Want to Be

Many businesses are trying to find the middle ground in the battle of working from home vs. commuting. If that describes you, one thing you can do to make the office more appealing is to provide quiet spaces for people to work in.

Soundproof pods are the ideal solution. From phone box-sized pods for working solo to large 6-person office pods for quiet collaboration, they’re a haven of peace and calm. Show your workers you care about their mental health as well as their productivity by giving them spaces to get their heads down away from the hubbub.

At Soundbox Store, we have a fantastic range of plug-and-play soundproof booths that can take your office to the next level. Give us a call on 020 4586 3800 to discuss options for your workplace.