At the onset of the pandemic, many teams packed up their desks and monitors to create a makeshift office space at home. Whether that transition was smooth or bumpy for you, more and more companies have grown comfortable being and staying remote. In fact, this year, 1 in 4 Americans will be working remotely according to a FlexJobs survey, and 65% of respondents report wanting to remain full-time remote employees post-pandemic.
To some continuing to work a few feet away from your bed might sound like a dream, but for others the continuation of remote life might put you into a work from home rut. Either way, it’s ideal to shake up your routine by finding new ways to spark inspiration, motivation and productivity.
If the woes of working make you question where you will come up with this time, don’t worry! By working from home, you are on average saving 35 minutes by not commuting to work every weekday. With that saved time, we recommend creating a virtual commute to help you increase productivity and effectively prepare yourself for work.
What is a Virtual Commute?
A virtual commute is a time before and after work each day where workers can reflect and set goals without work or home getting in the way. The idea of virtual commutes is to help give workers a solid separation between work and home to prevent burnout and increase productivity. Teams like Microsoft have even begun implementing scheduled blocks of time that begin and end the employee’s workday, where list-based work objectives are self-quantified and later self-reviewed.
Benefits of a Virtual Commute
This exercise helps you recreate “going to the office” as much as possible to give your brain time to prepare for work. Using commute time savings to boost motivation also helps you “turn on” at the beginning of the day and get down to work.
Below are a few productivity hacks for creating a virtual commute.
Tips to Separate Home From Work
Your morning routine should include more than rolling out of bed and into your desk chair. Try the following activities to prepare your mind and body for work.
1. Drink hot tea
Drinking caffeinated tea in the morning is not only calming but a great way to transition your body from sleep to work. Just like morning meditation or journaling, drinking warm tea can help your body and mind wake up so that you don’t feel disjointed or as rushed to begin the day. Drinking tea can also improve your attention and alertness.
2. Take a few minutes to tidy up
Organizing your workspace or office can help you feel grounded, organized and productive. When everything is in its place you’ll feel more in control and confident.
3. Take a lap around your block
Just like you would walk from your car or from public transportation to your office, simulate walking to work by taking a lap around your block. This activity will help you physically separate home from work and help you feel more prepared and inclined to get working once you arrive back home.
Tips to Increase Your Energy
Sometimes all the sleep in the world won’t spark energy. Try these activities to feel a boost in inspiration and motivation.
4. Visualize your perfect day
Incorporating visualization methods into your morning commute can help you construct your ideal life and empower yourself to pursue actions to make it a reality.
5. Listen to a success-driven podcast
Many enjoyed listening to podcasts while they commuted pre-pandemic. Continue this activity while brushing your teeth or making breakfast to learn success tips for life.
6. Use voice memos to capture thoughts and to-dos
During a virtual commute, you might begin to think of the tasks and to-dos you need to do once you get to your desk. Instead of worrying about them or cutting your commute short, use voice capture to set reminders and record tasks in your phone.
Tips to Increase Efficiency
Virtual commutes don’t need to be strictly work focused. Try the following ideas to catch up on chores or knock out easier tasks.
7. Organize your finances
Many of us have the most energy in the morning, so getting the chores you dread over with will help you feel more productive (and less stressed) once you jump into your work. Accomplishing financial tasks like paying your bills and tracking your expenses can help free up space on your to-do list.
8. Brainstorm new ideas
Use your virtual commute time to jot down fresh ideas without office or meeting distractions. These can be work or non work ideas—true inspiration comes from whatever makes you feel creative!
9. Schedule your day via time blocking
Optimize every hour in your day by time blocking. Keep in mind meals, breaks and time for exercise to help you outline your day so that no time is wasted.