Missing Your Commute? You're Not Alone

After months of working from home, some former commuters miss the familiar routine of going to and from the office.

January 4, 2021, 6:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Chicago Commute

For some, the daily commute represents a comforting transition between home and work. | f11photo / Shutterstock

For many workers who got the opportunity to work from home during the pandemic, the shift away from office work has brought extra time, reduced stress, and savings on transportation expenses. But while no one enjoys sitting in traffic or jostling their way onto a crowded bus, some have come to realize that their commutes provided a much-needed buffer between home and work, letting them ease into their day and wind down on their way home in a neutral environment.

Whether they drove, took transit, walked, or biked, commuters of all stripes miss the time to listen to podcasts or music, read, and spend time outdoors. With their daily travel time reduced to a walk between the bedroom and kitchen, people who previously commuted by biking or walking find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy level of physical activity. Those who have small children or a busy household miss the alone time, writes Katherine Shaver.

Workers who miss their commute, however, are still a minority, and the modern work-life balance has been shifting since well before COVID-19. The post-pandemic office will surely look different, and new commute patterns will affect everything from public transit budgets to real estate to restaurants that cater to lunch crowds. As workers adjust to the increased commingling of home and work, we'll have to find new ways to ease the transition and establish healthy boundaries.

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