How to Commute to Work Effectively (With Productivity Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 4, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Many employees commute to work daily, which can occasionally be stressful. If you commute a long distance, it's helpful to learn tips to make your commute more productive and less stressful. Understanding the concept of commuting to work can help you develop ways to relieve stress and get to work feeling energetic.
In this article, we explain what it means to commute to work, outline steps to manage stress during the commute, share tips to help you utilize time management, and answer frequently asked questions.
What it means to commute to work
It's common for employees to commute to work every day. Commuting to work generally involves moving from your home to the workplace. You can explore several transportation modes, such as driving, riding with a colleague, or using public transport. The travelled distance typically depends on factors such as traffic and the distance between your workplace and your home. You can utilize the time you spend commuting to work productively to help you remain remained focused at work.
How to manage stress during a long commute
Here are steps to manage stress when commuting to work:
1. Leave early
You can start your day at work feeling stress-free and energetic by leaving early for work. It allows you to spare enough time to mentally prepare for the day and overcome commuting fatigues. Leaving early can also help you prepare for unforeseen situations, such as traffic and other delays. Arriving at work can help you maintain a positive image at work and impress your employer. A healthy tip to ensure you leave early for work is going to bed early the previous day to give yourself enough sleep.
2. Make the ride comfortable
You can make the ride more manageable and enjoyable to help reduce your stress levels. This is especially beneficial during a long commute. You can adopt different strategies to make the ride comfortable for you. For example, if you enjoy listening to music, you can listen to your favourite song to suit your mood.
3. Be strategic
Being strategic when commuting involves making informed choices that can make the journey more manageable. When you research shorter routes or routes with less traffic, you can spend less time commuting. You may use your previous experience and conduct research to predict days with heavy traffic. You can leave earlier on those days to avoid traffic.
Consider different commuting options and compare the cost with the benefits of using them. You can explore public transport options available to you.
4. Consider carpooling or public transport
Using public transport can be an effective option if driving long distances is too stressful for you. It may cost more and take a longer time, but you can relax and mentally prepare to start your day during the trip. If you have a colleague staying around you or a friend going in your direction, you can consider carpooling. Apart from its environmental benefits, carpooling can also be relaxing, as you can converse with your partner or nap. It's also possible to alternate driving yourself, using public transport, and carpooling.
5. Pack beverages and snacks
This is applicable if you're carpooling or using public transport. You can make up for potentially missed breakfasts by having a quick snack when you get hungry during the commute. You can consider carrying a water bottle with you or a coffee mug. This can help save the time it takes to make a stop to get food or drink on your way. Doing this can provide the energy you necessary to start your day.
Tips for optimizing time management during a long commute
Here are some additional tips that can help you make your commute more productive:
Learn a skill
If you're commuting using public transport or carpooling, you can work on gaining new knowledge in different areas. Depending on your interest, it may be a suitable time to complete an online course or study a new language. This not only helps you relieve the stress of commuting, but it also helps you stay productive during the trip. If you're particular about reducing your screen time, you can opt for audio lessons. Doing this consistently can help you gain relevant knowledge that may help you advance in your career.
Complete minor tasks
You can utilize your time commuting to work to get tasks done. It may be an ideal time to send out an invitation e-mail for a meeting, set reminders for upcoming events, revise a document, or even research a new article if you're a blogger. You can reduce your workload or start your tasks for the day on your way to work. Subsequently, completing minor tasks that don't require much concentration can award you more leisure time at work.
Related: How to Prioritize Work Tasks
Engage in leisure activities
There are several educative leisure activities you can engage in on your trip to work. Reading is generally a way of relieving stress and staying entertained. There are various genres to choose from depending on your interests. Whether you're reading a science-fiction novel or a motivational autobiography, you can hone your writing skills and improve your vocabulary. Reading also helps increase your productivity and stimulates your mind. You may decide to read soft copies of these books online or listen to audiobooks.
Another leisure activity you may consider is listening to podcasts. Podcasts contain motivational and educational content that can inspire your day at work. You can play these podcasts using your car stereo or on your phone. Listening to podcasts that align with your interest can help increase your productivity and uplift your mood for the day.
You can increase your mental well-being and reduce your stress levels by relaxing during the trip. There are different relaxing strategies you can consider. You can try taking a short nap or meditating. There are several apps and videos that can help you meditate. You can research what works best for you and try it. Napping generally helps increase your productivity levels and reduce fatigue. Napping applies only to commuters who aren't driving to work themselves.
FAQs about commuting to work
Here are popular questions and answers concerning commuting to work:
What are other ways of commuting to work?
Popular commuting options typically include driving, using public transport, or carpooling. Here are options you can also consider depending on your preferences:
Bicycling: If the weather is cool enough, you can explore this option as it's a simple way to get to work, especially if you live close to your workplace. Riding a bicycle can be environmentally friendly and a productive way to get some exercise.
Walking: This option is only possible if you live very close to your workplace. You can also get some exercise, enjoy the weather, and clear your mind on your way to work.
Company transportation: Some companies provide their employees with transportation to lessen the stress of commuting to work. You can also explore this option if it's available to you.
What are safety practices when commuting to work?
You can use various strategies to protect yourself and others while commuting to work. They include:
Follow traffic signals. Observing traffic rules is necessary regardless of how late you're running. Ensure to drive within stipulated speed limits and to follow all traffic lights.
Use appropriate lanes. If you're cycling to work or walking, maintaining the proper lanes can help prevent accidents. You can also consider using reflective vests if you're cycling at night to help oncoming vehicles see you.
Stay calm. While driving to work, keep your mind on the road and avoid distractions. Watch out for pedestrians and try to maintain your lane to ensure safety.
Is a longer commute for a better job worth it?
Before deciding to accept or decline a job offer because of the long commute hours, here are common factors to consider to help you make informed choices:
Transportation method: Consider your transportation options for commuting and how they may influence your overall job satisfaction. Make a list of the available transportation methods and ensure they're suitable for you.
Cost: Considering how much more it may cost to travel that distance can help you decide if it's worth it. You can evaluate the financial impact of the commute and compare it with other relevant factors, such as your pay.
Opportunity: Evaluate the opportunity this new job offers and if it can help you advance your career. Consider your job satisfaction too to decide if t's worth it.
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