Should you be faking your commute?

Weather & Traffic Q&As

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Whether it takes you an hour or just a few minutes, the work commute is a ritual for most Americans — one the pandemic has disrupted.

According to a survey conducted by VOXEU, Americans have gotten back more than 60 million hours of commuting time.

The rise of the fake commute

As the months have gone on, experts say the time you’re getting back might not be worth it. Experts, like ones at the World Economic Forum, are now suggesting you fake your commute. Yeah, you heard that right. Why?

There are advantages to taking a commute. Harvard researchers found that people who think about word during their commute are more productive. Plus, commutes are a great way to unintentionally burn calories, especially in cities with public transit, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Finally, the World Economic Forum says commuting serves as an excellent transition time from work brain to home brain.

How to fake a commute

The WEF has some tips on how to fake your commute. Going for a walk before your day starts, taking a drive around the block, and setting up then tearing down your work station at the start and end of your day are all excellent ways to fake your commute.

You can even do something virtual. Microsoft Teams is now offering tasks to help you wind up and wind down while working at home.

Disadvantages to a commute

Austinites likely don’t miss their commute. A 2019 study by RobertHalf.com found the average Austinite drives 40 minutes to work. The city also ranked as the third-most stressful commute in the country behind Miami and San Diego.

And that stress can have a cost. Researchers have found that long commutes can cause headaches, digestive problems and high blood pressure; plus poor sleep and fatigue. Finally, long commutes can cause additional stress on families.

Fake Commutes: Waste of time?

While taking a fake commute might seem like a waste of the precious family time you’ve gotten back by working from home, you probably aren’t using that time well anyway. Researchers from the Center for Economic Policy Research said that more than a third of Americans are using their old commute time to just do more work.

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