Have you found yourself missing the commute to and from work during the lockdown periods? There may be some unrealised advantages that are becoming apparent, and a replacement may be required.
We currently have an increasing situation of people questioning the validity of the “keep calm and carry on” mentality. Experiences and environments can change your values and associated behaviours. A global pandemic has turned your home into your office; reduced your social outlets; increased the need for you to demonstrate new or different skills (home schooling, baking banana bread etc), and therefore it stands to reason that our values and behaviours will, can and should change as a result. As all periods of change are difficult to navigate, it is normal if you are feeling a bit disjointed; a bit unsteady; a bit ‘not quite my usual self’ as a result.
There is an ongoing narrative that says, “we’re adapting to the new normal”, and “homeworking is the future, it hasn’t impacted productivity!”.
Working from home allows most of your workplace values to continue. Setting up a weekly zoom quiz with the family will keep your ‘social life’ values somewhat triggered.
But what about the values that are linked to other experiences or behaviours that you may not have any more? We often use behaviours to empower our values but do not realise or review the relationship between them. As an example, if the value of love is important to you and you attach it to your family, you will want to be fully present when you are with them. In the past you may have managed this quite beautifully by using the commute as your way to decompress; physically and mentally removing yourself from the stress of the office on your way home each day. With every mile you pass on the train, work gets further away, and the comfort of home gets closer, both mentally and physically. You may have used this time to listen to your favourite podcast, some ‘me time’, so when you walked through the front door there was only residual work stress, and you had a clear distinction between work and home. But now, you have 5 footsteps between work and family, your decompression time is gone and the distinction between work and home is getting blurred.
Without this clear separation between work and home, a lot of people are feeling that they never fully switch off from one and therefore do not fully switch on to the other. The disjointed or irritable feelings that come with this are not due to missing a packed train at rush hour or a sudden dislike of your family. It means the behaviours that you previously used to fully maximise your values have been tampered with and may not have been automatically redeployed elsewhere in this ‘new normal’.
So, the missing commute may seem like godsend in one way (no traffic and no red eye starts); but you need to look at whether this time helped you achieve something else in your life and in which case, do you need to implement a replacement?
A short walk before work in the morning and a simple 10-minute meditation after you shut down your laptop in the evening can help you draw a line between your work and your home, allowing for maximum enjoyment of both.
Rebalance your behaviours!