The psychological benefits of commuting that remote work doesn't provide

By Matthew Piszczek and Kristie McAlpine

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For some it may be the only “me time” they get in their day

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I think the people in this study did not live in a large city where commuting time is often more than one hour on trains packed at over 200% capacity.

They also aren't women, who have to be on high alert during the commute because of chikan.

I used to get up an hour early on purpose so I could take the first train and get a seat. I was lucky since the train started from my station. On the way home, however, it was always hell and I was exhausted by the time I got home.

That's why I made the choice to move withing biking distance of my office even though the rent is nearly two times higher.

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The article is about commuting by car, and I do agree with its conclusions. I used to commute by motorcycle for many years, and despite being Tokyo, the road was not very crowded at those hours. It was great, properly waking all my senses in the morning, and cooling me off in the evening on the way back. Rain did suck though.

I commuted by train only a few months, and I correctly assessed that doing that every day would seriously damage me psychologically. That is when I decided to buy a bike and get the license.

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My 20 minute bicycle ride to and from work everyday is always one of the best parts of my day.

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Commuting to work or school may be a distinctive part of your day. I went to school and college by train and left very early as I disliked crowded carriages. This was the 1980s and my personal stereo accompanied me on each journey. Through the year I would track the wildlife living around the station - crows, squirrels, birds, feral cats and the wasps that would gather on ivy flowers. I would be the first person to arrive at school, harvest any tennis balls that the caretaker had removed from the roof of the gym, for us to play football with at breaks, and kick a ball around for an hour with friends as they arrived.

Going back much further, after each school day, we would religiously stop off at the local shops for sweets, comics and stickers. Although great for some, home schooling robbed so many kids of so much.

I now work from home - it's simply the default for what I do. It has an element of convenience, but it can be isolating and it can make your home feel like a cell if you don't make an effort to at least get out into your garden every day.

People need time to wind down and switch roles as the article suggests, but there is other stuff too. Commuting can be interesting. You may start to recognise people who take the same train as you. You notice the changing of the seasons, especially if you travel from town to town through countryside. You interact with people who are neither part of your work nor home lives, but whom you see every day. It knits you into your community.

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