I miss commuting—three words I never thought I’d say. 

The average commute for a Bay Area resident is 32 minutes, but 15% of the Bay Area population have what is considered “extreme commutes,” lasting more than one hour each way. I fell somewhere in between these two categories, commuting about 45 minutes on average per day. It was the one thing I ‘hated’ about work—the drive. But now, in these strange Shelter-in-Place times, I long for the 45 minutes of solitude, Podcast listening and mental strategy work (I often had my best epiphanies while driving), and is what I find myself craving the most. 

After the second day of Shelter-in-Place, my husband and I decided to develop a routine to have something to look forward to, but also to be used as a mental and physical cue that our workday was in fact, over: we started “commuting” to work. 

Every morning, we have coffee and declare a departure time. We then set on our way — a 1.5 mile loop that gets us ‘to work’ in about 30 minutes; right on par with the average Bay Area resident. When it’s time to ‘leave work’ for the day, we declare a departure time, close down our laptops and walk the 1.5 mile loop in reverse and use the time to discuss what we should have for dinner, often ordering from one of my favorite Off the Grid Creators. When we arrive back at home, that’s it. Done for the day. 

We have found that investing this time, while getting some physical activity in (steps challenge, anyone?!), has helped our mental acuity and raised our spirits. At the end of the day, we’re not spending any more time “commuting” than we were before Shelter-in-Place. In actuality, I’m spending 15 minutes less per day! Feels like a win-win to me. 

Aside from these more obvious benefits, there are additional advantages to making this dedicated time a part of your daily routine—better work efficiency, less procrastination, and increased productivity. As we all continue to learn the best ways to adjust to the effects of Shelter-in-Place and working from home, this easy-to-implement method could be a good place to start. 

Tips for finding a way to “Commute to Work”:

1. Dust off those running shoes—be comfortable. 

2. Find a route that is safe, and stick to it. Reversing the route to come home helps close that mental loop and maintains the consistency of a true commute. 

3. Track those steps. Whether you have an Apple Watch, Fit Bit, Galaxy Watch, or even just your phone in your pocket, track your steps! Seeing the miles accumulate over the week and monitoring your data is another way to make the process rewarding.

4. Be ready to engage with the world. Many others  are out there also taking advantage of the outdoors. Remember that everyone has a different level of comfort and safety. Being polite, maintaining distance and getting out of the way may feel strange, but is the new norm. Try to always keep a safe 6 feet away from others. 

5. Be friendly! We have found that people are friendlier now than before the pandemic, possibly due to the lack of daily interaction. Smile. Wish your neighbors good morning (from a safe distance). We are all in this together!

It’s quite possible that when Shelter-in-Place is lifted and life trickles back into a semblance of normalcy, I will revert back to hating my daily commute. In the meantime, I’m making lemonade out of the situation and enjoying the fresh air—and the “commute”.


Authored By: Stephanie Faro-Kuo, Account Director Off the Grid