One reason so many people push to work from home is to avoid the potential horror that is commuting. After all, there's perhaps nothing worse than starting your day with an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic or a train so packed you can barely fit both feet on the ground.
On the other hand, commuting to a job has its perks. Before you make the case for working from home on a full-time basis, think about these not-so-obvious, but important, benefits of commuting.
1. You get some time to clear your head
As someone who works from home, I can tell you that my morning routine basically goes like this: Get up, throw on some clothes, and take a 10-second trip down the stairs and into my office to get the day going. As such, I get about -- you guessed it -- 10 seconds to collect my thoughts before diving into work-related tasks.
I might represent the extreme end of working from home -- you'll no doubt find other freelancers or telecommuters who take their time to sip some coffee and perhaps take a stroll around the neighborhood before jumping onto their laptops. But for many of us work-from-homers, the workday begins as soon as we get up. The benefit of commuting, therefore, is a forced mental break before and after the workday.
Of course, this assumes you don't spend your entire bus or train ride checking emails or your entire car ride dialed into conference calls. The point, however, is that there's an opportunity for a little mental relaxation. Similarly, commuting might also afford you the opportunity to catch up with friends over email, listen to music, read, or do whatever it is you enjoy doing but struggle to otherwise make time for.
2. You get a change of scenery
When you work from home, you're generally staring at the same four walls day in and day out. And after a while, that can get old. The benefit of commuting, therefore, is the opportunity to actually leave your house and get a much-needed change of scenery. If you drive to work, for example, you can sample different routes when your usual one gets too repetitive. And that's a good way to avoid feeling stuck in a rut.
3. You might actually get some exercise
My 10-second walk down the stairs to my home office does little to get me into better physical shape. On the other hand, when I used to live in New York City and walk 2 miles each way to work, I was much more fit and saved a lot of money on a gym membership in the process.
One major benefit of commuting is the potential to work some exercise into the mix, whether it's biking to the office or speed-walking to and from the train. Not only can that physical activity work wonders for your health, but it can also improve your mental well-being and help you start and end your days on a more energized note.
Don't get me wrong: I'm grateful for the option to work from home, especially on those days when the weather makes leaving the house a nightmare on all fronts. At the same time, commuting to a job has its perks, so rather than get down about having to travel to and from the office, think about the ways you might maximize that time, instead.