Employees going on 'fake commutes' to help separate home and remote work

ByJeff Ehling KTRK logo
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
'Fake commutes' help those working from home separate 2 worlds
If you feel like you're getting stuck working longer hours from home, a "fake commute" might help you separate your work day from your personal life.

HOUSTON, Texas -- If you are working from home you probably do not miss the commute into the office every day, but for some people, keeping their home office and their home life from colliding has been struggle.

So now there is something called a "fake commute."

Office worker Susan Jaworski says she started doing a "fake commute" for a very good reason.

"One more email, one more phone call, that one more message, that 10 minutes was turning into an hour, two hours," said Jaworski.

The COVID-19 pandemic sent Jaworski and millions of other office workers home, and months later, those workers are still at home, and issues are beginning to pop up.

"The longer I went, the harder it was. The blend between home and work was starting, and there wasn't really a transition," said Jaworski.

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The lack of a morning commute means those workers don't have to drive in, and in some cases, that's actually hurting their drive.

"Once it started really bleeding over, that's when I said, 'I have got to do something, try something different,'" Jaworski said.

So now, Jaworski starts her day with a quick bike ride around her neighborhood.

It's called a "fake commute," and her employer says it helped bring order to Jaworski's busy home and work schedules.

"The fake commute can really help with work, life balance," said Jamila Owens with the Houston Galveston Area Council. Owens works with Jaworski.

Their team develops transportation solutions, and even prior to the pandemic, they advocated for increasing the telework force.

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Owens says for those who are working from home, getting out of the house at the beginning and especially at the end is essential.

"You talk about the day not ending, answering one more email. Telework puts you in the position of having instant, 'always on' communication. And so having a ritual to help you turn that off is very important," said Owens.

For Jaworski, the fake commute offered real relief.

"I didn't feel distracted. I didn't feel like the need to get pulled into the kitchen, or get pulled into laundry or household chores. It was OK. My body recognized I was there to work and focused on work," said Jaworski.

Jaworski tells ABC13 a fake commute does not have to be a long ordeal, 10 minutes or so at the start and end of her work shift is enough to separate the two worlds.

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